News & Updates

Florida Ports Council Statement on Governor DeSantis’ call for CDC guidance for the cruise passenger vessel industry

“The leadership of Governor DeSantis, Secretary Thibault and the Florida Legislature has been instrumental in steering the state’s economy through the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Wheeler, president & CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “Today, that leadership and support was further illustrated by the Governor’s call on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) to formalize a clear path forward for cruise passenger travel.”

Secretary Thibault, Governor DeSantis, Florida Attorney General Ashely Moody and Port Canaveral CEO, John Murray at a roundtable discussion at Port Canaveral on March 26


On March 26, Governor Ron DeSantis held a roundtable discussion at Port Canaveral regarding theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) continuation of the Condition Sailing Order (CSO) and its negative impact on Florida’s economy.

On March 24, a statement from the CDC was reported by CNN as follows:

On October 30, 2020, CDC issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) that remains in effect until November 1, 2021. Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Details for the next phase of the CSO are currently under interagency review.

This CSO was published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2020.

Response from the Florida Ports Council regarding the CDC Statement:

The Florida Ports Council is disappointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) lack of action to formalize a clear path forward for cruise passenger travel. While other modes of passenger travel, such as air, rail, and even passenger ferries, have been able to resume operations using identified federal COVID-19 protocols, the cruise passenger travel industry has not been provided guidelines to even begin the implementation of resumption.

The shutdown of cruise passenger travel has negatively impacted the lives of the many Floridians who serve the tourism industry, including employees of hotels, restaurants, transportation services, and small businesses that cater to travelers. Decreased passenger activity due to the pandemic is estimated to have cost the state 169,000 jobs and nearly $23 billion in economic activity just through 2020. These losses will continue into 2021 as the passenger vessel industry remains suspended by the CDC.

Our ports remain in a state of readiness, prepared to work with state and federal partners and the CDC to ensure every precaution is taken to keep Florida citizens and cruise passengers safe and healthy when the time comes to sail again.