Following the previous reports on how the cruise industry faced restrictions from the CDC when all the other transportation systems and travel facilities have resumed their operation, last week the CDC updated a statement that postponed bans that were meant to end by the end of this month.
Given the protests and arguments raised by this declaration, the CDC has suggested some protocols that if the cruise industry respect, they will be allowed to board passengers again.
The Centers for Disease Control announced it would let the no-sail order expire in exchange for a conditional, phased-return. Cruise lines, cruising fans, and an entire industry cheered on Friday for this news.
Cruise lines will need to pass through four phases before being able to resume passenger operations, according to the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order. These 4 steps include establishing testing capabilities for crew and passengers both onshore and onboard; conduct “simulation” cruises with volunteer passengers to prove the cruise line’s ability to alleviate the danger of COVID-19 transmission on board; complete a certification process; and start operating passenger cruises again, with numerous terms in place.
After having those stipulations in place, the cruise lines will be able to sail with passengers on board under the following circumstances:
– Cruise lines must inform all potential passengers of the risks of cruising during COVID-19.
– Cruises must be restricted to only seven days.
– Cruise lines must test all crew and passengers for COVID-19 on the day of embarkation and the day of disembarkation. Results must be procured before either crew or passengers can board or depart the cruise.
– Any crew or passenger who reports symptoms must be immediately provided with rapid-result COVID-19 tests. Close contacts of those with symptoms must be tested as well.
– Cruise lines must report all test results to the CDC.
– Mandated face masks and social distancing on ships.
Given the potential alleviation to the understandable risks, as well as the proactive stance taken by the cruise industry itself in implementing extensive health and safety protocols, these new requirements are set to see the industry stands on its feet again.