On Otober 30, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a conditional sailing order, providing for a phased approach to the resumption of passenger cruises. In a press release, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield stated, “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. 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.”
This Order shall remain in effect until the earliest of:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
- November 1, 2021.
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. Subsequent phases will include simulated (mock) voyages with volunteers playing the role of passengers to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and return to passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and communities.
Read more on information on COVID-19 and cruise ships here.