The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that it will replace its nearly 8-month old no-sail order with a less restrictive one, setting the path for cruise ships to return to the sea with passengers aboard.
Today, October 31, 2020, the CDC no-sail order will expire, and the new conditional order will remain in effect until either Nov. 1, 2021, or when CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield makes the decision to end it.
The CDC order change doesn’t mean cruising in the U.S. will immediately begin cruising, or relatively soon, especially as we are unsure what the outcome of the U.S. presidential election will be, and new cases of the coronavirus are on the rise currently.
The new CDC order sets up a framework that will assist the cruise in implementing safety measures that will make it possible to resume operations in U.S. waters in a phased approach, the CDC said in a statement. Before restarting passenger operations in any commercial form, the companies will face tests from the CDC on how safe their protocols are, the agency said.
“This framework provides a pathway to resume safe and responsible sailing,” Redfield said in a statement. “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.”
The no-sail order as set forth by the CDC for cruise ships in U.S. waters on March 14 after hundreds of coronavirus infections and several Covid-19 deaths were reported onboard ships with outbreaks across the world.