The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted their cruise ship no sail order that was set to expire on October 31, 2020. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to hop on board a cruise ship just yet.
CDC New Order is a “Framework for Conditional Sailing”
Under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing cruises can only begin sailing with a phased resumption.
The 40-page Framework addresses the requirements and conditions for cruises to resume. The first hurdle to pass is required COVID-19 testing and safeguards for crew members.
According to the new order, the CDC will “establish requirements to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to passengers and crew, prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from cruise ships into U.S. communities and protect public health and safety.”
This applies to cruise ships that carry over 250 combined passengers and crew and have planned itineraries with an overnight stay.
In plain English, it’s still going to be a while until the cruise lines can figure out how to implement all the safety requirements.
To test the thousands of passengers, the CDC continues to state that cruise lines must “build laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers.”
Communities will also need reassurance that the thousands of arriving and departing passengers won’t inadvertently pass along the virus.
CDC Was Overruled by White House
Caving in to pressure from cruise industry lobbyists and Florida’s Republican-led campaign by Senators Rubio and Scott and Governor De Santis to resume cruises, the CDC could not extend their No Sail Order past October 31.
READ MORE: CDC Overruled on No-Sail Order Extension
Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC Director, wanted to extend the No Sail Order until mid-February 2021. But that wasn’t going to happen. Florida’s $53 million tourism industry prevailed.
Included in the Framework is testing passengers as they embark and disembark the cruise. Areas for isolating passengers and crew who are COVID-19 positive, whether asymptomatic or symptomatic need to be in place.
Social distancing will remain a priority. The framework does not include any mention of masks or facial coverings.
Explained: CDC Framework Phased approach to resume cruises
The CDC lists four phases for the resumption of cruises.
- Laboratory testing of crew onboard ships in U.S.waters
- Simulated cruises to test the ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19
- Complete the CDC’s certification process
- Cruises must be able to mitigate the introduction, transmission or spread of COVID-19 among passengers, crew, communities and ports of call.
Even though the No Sail Order is officially gone on November 1, 2020, don’t pack your bags just yet. It would appear that it will be some time in 2021 until cruise lines meet all the CDC requirements.