Federal appeals court ruling will allow CDC to enforce Covid rules on cruise ships

Royal Caribbean Departs On First Simulated Voyage
A U.S. Coast guard boat travels past the Royal Caribbean Cruises Freedom of the Seas ship docked before departure at PortMiami in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Sunday, June 20, 2021. Freedom of the Seas can carry around 4,500 guests, and it's expected to take about 650 on this first two-night loop, all of them Royal Caribbean employees who volunteered and were allowed to bring an 18-and-over guest. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(CNN) — A federal court has temporarily blocked a lower court’s ruling and will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue to implement safety protocols on the cruise industry.

The ruling, issued late Saturday, stays a June ruling by US District Judge Steven Merryday from the middle district of Florida. He ruled then that the CDC’s conditional sailing order on the cruise industry “likely constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to CDC,” as CNN reported at the time. Merryday deemed that Florida is likely to succeed in the case.

Saturday’s ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit came down to a 2-1 vote. Opinions had not been filed as of Sunday morning explaining the decision.

The motion filed by the CDC in the appeal said that the state of Florida ignored “what the protocols actually require: conventional communicable-disease control measures for cruise ships engaged in international travel, which fall easily within the CDC’s longstanding statutory and regulatory authority.” It also said the state “disregards the threat to public health that would arise if cruise ship operators were at liberty to ignore the CDC guidance or to act without oversight from public-health authorities.”

In response to Merryday’s ruling in June, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement that the “federal government does not, nor should it ever, have the authority to single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely.”

Moody has not commented since this latest ruling was issued. The court’s decision is the latest development in a long-running legal feud between the CDC and Florida Governor Ron de Santis over the enforcement of Covid-safety protocols.