In U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Judge Steven Merryday sided with the state of Florida in granting a preliminary injunction against the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO).
“This order finds that Florida is highly likely to prevail on the merits of the claim that CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to CDC under Section 264(a),” the judge wrote in a 124-page filing on the case.
With the ruling, beginning tentatively on July 18 cruise ships departing Florida ports will no longer have to follow the rules within the CSO. Instead, those rules would be no more than recommendations on how to sail safely.
The Conditional Sailing Order was originally seen as a pathway to return when it was issued in October 2020, and a sharp departure from the “No Sail Order” that had been in place since cruising paused in March 2020.
As the months went on, however, the CDC’s order came under fire as little progress was made in the return of cruising. Instructions from the health agency took months to be published, and when they were, the industry said they were burdensome and didn’t take into account the prevalence of vaccines.
Despite nearly eight months since the Conditional Sailing Order was first put in place, no cruise ship has departed the United States with paying passengers. Only a handful of ships are scheduled to sail within the next two months, with the first (Celebrity Edge) set to sail June 26.