CDC “No-Sail” order to be replaced with a “Framework for Conditional Sailing”.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just confirmed that it will allow a conditional, phased-in return to cruising in US waters.
Initially “test cruises” will operate to enable cruise lines to demonstrate that vessels and crews are in compliance with CDC standards, and able to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 onboard. Following that “simulated (mock) voyages” will operate carrying volunteers such as cruise line staff or their family members.
“During the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers,” the CDC said.
“This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing. It will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships and prevent passengers and crew from seeding outbreaks at ports and in the communities where they live,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield.
“CDC and the cruise industry have a shared goal to protect crew, passengers, and communities and will continue to work together to ensure that all necessary public health procedures are in place before cruise ships begin sailing with passengers.”
The agency will establish a laboratory team dedicated to cruise ships to provide information and oversight for COVID-19 testing, and update its colour-coding system to indicate ship status.
Cruise Lines International Association CEO Kelly Craighead said the organisation’s members were 100% committed to protecting the health of guests, crew and the communities they visit, and are “prepared to implement multiple layers of protocols informed by the latest scientific and medical knowledge”.
“We look forward to reviewing the new Order and are optimistic that it is an important step towards returning our ships to service from US ports,” she said.
More in Monday’s issues of Cruise Weekly and Travel Daily.