CDC Extends No Sail Order Through October 31, 2020
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the extension of its No Sail Order for all cruise ships through October 31, 2020. This order will continue to suspend all passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction. This guidance from the CDC comes following two previous No Sail Orders - one initially made in March 2020 spanning through July 24, 2020, which was then extended through September 30, 2020.
“Recent outbreaks on cruise ships overseas provide current evidence that cruise ship travel continues to transmit and amplify the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,—even when ships sail at reduced passenger capacities—and would likely spread the infection into U.S. communities if passenger operations were to resume prematurely in the United States,” said the CDC in its official announcement on the suspension. “The challenges described in the No Sail Order highlight the need for further action before cruise ships can safely resume passenger operations in the United States.”
The CDC had sought public comment for a 60-day period regarding whether the no-sail order should be lifted. In response, the Healthy Sail Panel, comprised of Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., presented a comprehensive proposal of 74 recommendations on how they plan on protecting the public health and safety of guests, crew, and destinations where cruise ships call.
Last week, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) along with its cruise line members announced they would be implementing mandatory health protocols as part of a highly-controlled return to cruising. Protocols presented included mandatory testing for passengers and crew, mask-wearing, distancing, ventilation requirements, medical capability requirements for each ship, and guidance for shore excursions.
In Europe, several cruise lines have already resumed sailing with new comprehensive health and safety guidelines. MSC Cruises, Costa, AmaWaterways, SeaDream Yacht Club and TUI Cruises are among the lines that have already restarted passenger cruises in the region.
The CDC’s new announcement touched on these foreign sailings with the following, “Recent passenger voyages in foreign countries continue to have outbreaks, despite cruise ship operators having extensive health and safety protocols to prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on board and spread to communities where passengers disembark. When health and safety protocols were apparently observed, resuming passenger operations significantly burdened public health authorities by creating the need for additional SARS-CoV-2 testing, isolation of infected travelers, contact tracing, and quarantine of exposed people.”
This new mandate made from the CDC will remain in effect until the following:
- 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
- October 31, 2020.
To read the official statement from the CDC visit: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0930-no-sail-order.html
This is a breaking news story. We will continue to update this piece as new information is released.