Now Florida isn’t the only state potentially taking the CDC to court over its prolonged ban on cruising in U.S. waters.
Alaska relies even more heavily on cruise revenue than the sunshine state – Florida’s tourism industry is more diversified.
For Alaska, “The combined total economic loss from a canceled cruise ship season in 2020 and 2021 amounts to $6 billion, with 2,180 businesses at direct risk – many of which are small family owned businesses,” the state’s governor Mike Dunleavy told media on Saturday, according to Cruise Week.
He went on to announce, “My administration is taking necessary steps to help Alaskans, starting with putting forth an aggressive aid package and seriously considering filing legal action against the CDC if the conditional sail order is not lifted. Our communities need our help now more than ever.”
Seatrade reports the governor Saturday also put a possible timeline on legal action. “If we don’t get a positive dialogue this week, (a lawsuit is) a real possibility because the decision will be crushing to Alaska.”
The weekend’s announcement in Alaska comes after Florida filed a lawsuit Thursday against the CDC, as reported in Open Jaw.
It also follows months of efforts by state politicians to make inroads to salvage Alaska’s vital cruise season in 2021. State senators as well as Congressman Don Young have tabled separate bills that would allow a temporary waiver of U.S. laws that essentially require any cruise to Alaska to make port in Canada.
At the White House Press Briefing Friday, Cruise Week reports Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed those initiatives in response to a question from a reporter from Alaska. “I will say that we have been working with Senator Murkowski and Alaska officials on engaging Canada and finding ways to assist the cruise ships. That’s a process that’s ongoing.”
But getting around Canada’s ban on cruising in 2021 is moot if the CDC does not lift its own restrictions on sailing in U.S. waters.
While working to circumvent Canada’s cruise ban, Congressman Young has been running a parallel campaign against his own country’s restrictions. According to Seatrade, Young has been urging a lawsuit against the U.S. federal government, “since at least February.”
While threatening legal action, Alaska’s governor on the weekend still struck a collaborative, even pleading tone, reported Seatrade.
“Most folks on the boats will be vaccinated … Let us work with the industry. We can put together the protocols that will keep people safe,” Dunleavy said.