Today, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released additional information and instruction for the cruise industry’s return to sailing.
The majority of the CDC’s most recent instructions are of a technical sort for the cruise lines to adhere to in order to continue to make progress toward the resumption of sailing, while also upholding October 2020’s Framework for Conditional Sailing.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the phase 2A steps laid out in today’s information include the following:
- Increasing from weekly to daily the reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses.
- Implementing routine testing of all crew based on each ship’s color status.
- Updating the color-coding system used to classify ships’ status with respect to COVID-19.
- Decreasing the time needed for a “red” ship to become “green” from 28 to 14 days based on the availability of onboard testing, routine screening testing protocols, and daily reporting.
- Creating planning materials for agreements that port authorities and local health authorities must approve to ensure cruise lines have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on their ships to include healthcare capacity and housing to isolate infected people and quarantine those who are exposed.
- Establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.
It’s worth pointing out that, as seen above, today’s CDC recommendations do mention vaccinations, but, at this time, do not go as far as requiring that crew and port employees must be vaccinated. Instead, the cruise lines are being asked to devise “a plan and timeline for vaccination of cruise ship crew prior to resuming passenger operations.”
COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of passenger operations. As more people are fully vaccinated, the phased approach allows CDC to incorporate these advancements into planning for resumption of cruise ship travel when it is safe to do so. CDC recommends that all eligible port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them. ~CDC statement
Today’s further instruction comes on the heels of the Cruise Lines International Association’s request for the CDC to consider lifting the Conditional No Sail Order.
Additional technical instructions for simulated sailings (phase 2B), including guidelines that will govern the resumption of cruises with paying passengers, will come at a future date.
Source: Orlando Sentinel