The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that the No Sail Order for all US cruises has been extended until the end of October, in a move that was widely anticipated.
This means that cruises to or from US ports won’t be allowed until at least November 1st, but the order could be extended again based on the ongoing spread of coronavirus in the United States.
The CDC was expected to extend the No Sail Order by a month following a reportedly contentious meeting of officials at the White House, where CDC Director Robert Redfield had called for the order to be extended into 2021, but was voted down by US Vice President Mike Pence.
This order is in effect until one of the following occurs, according to the CDC:
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.
The White House has instead decided to extend the No Sail Order by a month to give cruise line executives time to present their safe resumption plans to officials for review.
US-based cruise lines have been increasingly vocal in their calls for officials to reopen the cruise industry and allow ships to sail to and from US ports, particularly the major embarkation ports in Florida, such as Miami and Port Canaveral.
Using lessons learned during the safe resumption of limited cruises in Europe, the Cruise Lines International Association, representing more than 90% of the industry, has submitted plans to the CDC to show how cruises can resume safely in the US.
These plans call for a range of health and safety measures from rapid COVID testing for all passengers and crew, enhanced cleaning and social distancing on-board, to mandatory mask-wearing and ‘isolated’ shore excursions that prevent passengers interacting with the public at cruise destinations.
A number of cruise line executives are to meet with officials at the White House on Friday to present these plans. During that meeting it will reportedly be decided whether to extend the No Sail Order further into next year or not.