Published on : Monday, November 2, 2020
The Centres for Disease Control & Prevention has finally allowed the United States to expire its ‘no sail’ order for cruise ships currently operating in U.S. waters. The government body has replaced the restriction order with a conditional framework of new regulations that cruise lines must follow as they seek to return to operation.
The order is seen as a first cautious step towards the resumption of cruising after the sector was deemed suspended around March during the peak of the COVID-19 in North America. The first phase of this effort would be to re-establish focus on crew members, who would be allowed to disembark from ships in the territorial waters of the United States alongside passengers.
The phased return would begin while cruise ship operators work on building lab capacity to test crew members and future passengers. Companies are being advised to show that they adhere to testing, social distancing, quarantining and isolating requirements when necessary. The later phase would include “mock voyages,” with volunteers playing the role of passengers to test virus mitigation strategies on trips.
Once ships have met certain requirements, they will be certified to begin operations with real passengers. Robert Redfield, Director, CDC said in a statement that the framework will provide a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing and will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships as well as prevent passengers and crew from seeding outbreaks at ports and in the communities they live in.