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CDC will enforce mask mandate for cruises despite court lifting cruise ship restrictions

24 Jul 2021
Matt Hochberg

While Florida may have won its lawsuit against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to drop all the coronavirus-related cruise ship rules, the nationwide mask mandate will remain.

The CDC said late on Friday that it will enforce its transit mask requirements on cruise ships in Florida that opt not to abide by its Conditional Sail Order (CSO) following a court ruling.

In February 2021, the CDC instituted an order that requires people to wear masks on public transportation, which includes aircraft, train, road vehicle, vessel or other means of transport.

This is the same rule that requires the airlines to enforce passengers.

Enforcement of the CDC's order on cruise ships will fall to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A report by Reuters indicates the CDC will still require cruise ships to adhere to requirements that are not part of the CDC's CSO, including "reporting of individual cases of illness or death and ship inspections and sanitary measures to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases."

The CDC said it will not relinquish mask requirements it has for in indoor spaces on cruise ships for those lines that are not voluntarily complying with the CSO.

The CDC's announcement came the same day the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals changed its mind and would not block an injunction won by Florida against the CDC meant to lift cruise ship-related rules.

The reversal was because the appeals court feels the federal government failed, "to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal."

The result is the CSO is no longer enforceable in Florida, although it remains in effect for other states, such as Texas, Washington, or New York.