Speaking at a news conference in Satellite Beach, Florida, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis ripped into the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), blasting, “If you look at some of the stuff that they’ve done on school openings, where they’re basically doing the teacher’s union’s bidding, when they say these kids should be masked in summer camp outdoors. I’m sorry, that’s not science, that’s politics.” He also slammed the CDC for the calamitous effect its policies had caused for Florida’s massive cruise industry, asserting, “Do you want one unelected bureaucracy to be able to have the power to indefinitely shut down a major industry in this country?”
DeSantis spoke of how keeping Florida open instead of instituting harsh lockdowns had paid dividends, asserting, “You have a surplus of jobs, and particularly in restaurant, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire. I mean, you see these signs all over the place. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing, but making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work and making sure those incentives align better.”
“But I can tell you this, our state was predicted to get hit worse on Covid economically than any other state because of our service economy and our tourism base,” he continued. “And what we were able to do by keeping Florida open, we saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in the restaurant, hotel, hospitality industry. We saved thousands of businesses. You know how I know that? Because every time I go out, someone will come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for saving my job,’ or ‘Thank you for saving my business.’ So we’ve been able now with 4.7 percent unemployment, that’s significantly less than the national average of 6% and way less than lockdown states like New York and California have.”
“So we’re doing it right,” he stated. “We obviously want to make sure those folks are able to succeed in terms of getting the people they need, but just think of where we could be. I mean, this is a good problem to have compared to seeing people — in some parts of the country, these businesses are dead. They’re never coming back. This is the heavy hand of government crushing family businesses, ruining jobs and destroying millions of people’s lives. We chose another path in Florida; it was the right path; it was the successful path, and yes, we want to make sure that these things are — there’s actually restaurants that have to close one day a week because they don’t have enough folks.”
He turned to the massive cruise line industry that exists in Florida:
But we also want our cruise lines to open. The CDC has mothballed this for over a year. They said that it was going to be two weeks last March. You know the cruise industry, they wanted to do the right thing. So they’re like, “All right, it’s not going to be easy for us, but we’re going to do it.” Now here we are over a year later and there’s no end in sight. Now they say you can only cruise if you have 98% people show proof of vaccination, but that’s ridiculous. They’re cruising in other parts of the world where they don’t even have availability of vaccines yet, where they have much higher Covid than in the United States.
And oh, by the way, if you don’t let them sail from Florida, which is one of our major industries, they’re going to sail from the Bahamas. You’re going to have the same people that would come to Florida, instead of spending money in our restaurants and staying in our hotels and doing all that, they’re going to fly to the Bahamas or some of these other islands in the Caribbean. They’re going to get on the same ship. They’re going to engage in the exact same behavior. And then they’re going to fly back to Michigan, or Pennsylvania, or wherever, having basically just ignored Florida.
DeSantis segued to the lawsuit the state of Florida has filed against the CDC:
So that is fundamentally unfair. It makes no sense and we are suing the CDC right now. We have a hearing coming up in federal court. But I can tell you, I want the cruises going. I want the cruise ships going; I think it’s vital for our economy. There’s tens of thousands of folks that are impacted by this issue.
When we announced the lawsuit in Miami, I’ll never forget it. We had a bunch of folks behind me, kind of like this, but they were all people who worked in the industry, and not just worked for the cruise lines. You have all these smaller businesses that support this industry, and one of the ladies went up there. She said, “You know, we were told two weeks. It was hard for us, but we were there. We wanted to do our part.” Here we are a year later. And she’s like “You know, there’s been a lot of toll in our community because of Covid. We’ve had a lot of deaths, but they’re not deaths from Covid. They’re deaths from despair.
“They’re deaths from people that got involved with drugs and substance abuse or suicide and the amount of how their lives and livelihoods were shattered by what the CDC did,” DeSantis charged. “So this has real consequences on people. These folks want to be back. We want them back. And we’re going to keep fighting for that. But think about the larger implication of this. Do you want one unelected bureaucracy to be able to have the power to indefinitely shut down a major industry in this country? They do not have that authority to do it. That’s why we’re suing them. But this has much larger implications than just cruise ships sailing or not. This has implications for potentially any industry and look, with all due respect to the CDC, I mean if you look at some of the stuff that they’ve done on school openings, where they’re basically doing the teacher’s union’s bidding, when they say these kids should be masked in summer camp outdoors. I’m sorry, that’s not science, that’s politics.”