Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, as well as Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, have introduced the CRUISE Act, which is aimed at revoking the CDC’s current Conditional Sailing Order.
The CRUISE Act was announced on Senator Rick Scott’s official website and will also compel the CDC to provide COVID-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations.
The bill calls for cruises from US ports to be allowed to resume by the symbolic date of July 4th. The CRUISE acronym in the name stands for the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act.
“Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries,” said Senator Rick Scott. “While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC.”
“The CDC’s refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely,” he added. “Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”
“Unlike the airlines, rail, and other modes of transportation – and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter – the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations,” added Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska.
“As a result, potential cruises this summer, when the President said the country will be able to return to normal with more and more Americans getting vaccinated, have been left adrift,” he added. “The foot-dragging, mixed messages, and unresponsiveness of CDC leaders is totally unacceptable and ultimately endangering the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the hundreds of small businesses across Alaska that rely on the tourism sector.”
Sullivan said the legislation will accomplish what letters, meetings, and repeated phone calls have not—directing the CDC to finally codify timely guidance and a plan for cruise ships to safely and responsibly resume operations.
According to the statement, the CRUISE Act requires the CDC to issue recommendations for how to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to passengers and crew onboard cruise ships and establishes an interagency “Working Group” that will develop recommendations to facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States.
The CRUISE Act also requires the CDC to revoke the Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew no later than July 4.
According to the statement, Senator Scott has not received a response to his earlier letter sent to the White House COVID Response Coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, asking the Biden Administration for clear guidance on the resumption of cruising.