Today there are numerous stories about the efforts of Florida Govenor DeSantis who states that he is working with the White House to restart cruise operations in the state.

A FOX news station in Tampa published an article today stating “DeSantis says he’s working with Trump administration to get cruise ship industry running again.” The Florida Ports Council tweeted the article and claims that ports in Florida are “maintaining a state of readiness for the safe resumption of cruising.”

The ports in Florida and the cruise lines are waiting to see whether the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will lift its “no-sail” order which prohibts cruise ships from sailing from U.S. ports. The CDC entered its first no-sail order in March after finding that cruise ships exacerbated the global spread of coronavirus and caused local, state and national healthcare systems to be overwhelmed. Last month, the White House reportedly overruled the Director of the CDC, Robert Redfiled, who was prepared to extend the no-sail order to mid February of 2021.

In a nutshell, the scientists at the CDC concluded that engaging in unnecessary travel where thousands of people are congregated in bars, restaurants, nightcubs and theaters on a cruise ships for as long as a week will again cause cornoavirus outbreaks to occur. Yes, you can also be infected on a crowded flight, but there is no comparison between the potential exposure during a short airplane flight versus the exposure on a cruise ship with thousands of other guests and crew members over many days.  A flight from Miami to Atlanta takes less than two hours versus a week-long (168 hour) cruise to the Caribbean.

The White House’s involvement in the affairs of the CDC follows a trend that has been developing throughout the coronavirus pandemic. There has been a debate that continues to rage whether the priority should be on reopening businesses and schools versus strictly following the recommendations of epidemiologsts and other scientists at the CDC to not travel or congregate in crowds. The debate often falls along political lines between those who see the wearing of a mask as a responsible measure to protect others verus those who believe that it is a political statement against the current President.

Governor DeSantis has always been an open-the-economy-up advocate who oftens appears in the public without wearing a mask.  Two weeks ago, he attended a political rally in Florida where he was filmed not wearing a mask, “high-fiving” others without masks in the crowed and then rubbing his nose.

The question which the cruise lines need to ask themselves is whether they want their public image to be aligned in the future with such foolish politicians. The current administration will not last forever. An important issue to the cruise lines is whether the public believes that cruising can take place in a reasonably safe manner. I for one have made my opinion clear that without a tested, effective and widely available vaccine, cruising during a pandemic is dangerous. But the cruise lines are working overtime to create the impression that cruisng is safe.

What effect does the image of a governor wading through a crowd with no one wearing masks as he shakes hands with the onlookers and then rubs his nose have on those weighing whether it’s safe to cruise?  Everyone who watches this instantly knows that this is not safe to do what the govenor just did. And this is the leader of Florida who says that he’s working with the President to restart cruises from this state in a safe manner?

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