Cruise association Clia has branded new guidance issued around the restart of cruising from the US “unduly burdensome” and “largely unworkable”.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released long-awaited new instructions on Friday (2 April) as part of the latest phase of its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO).
New guidance includes lines increasing from weekly to daily the reporting of Covid cases, implementing routine testing of all crew based on a ship’s Covid-19 status and making contractual arrangements with medical facilities on shore for passengers who may fall ill during a voyage.
Covid vaccination will be critical in the safe resumption of cruising, the CDC said, recommending that all eligible port staff, crew and passengers get vaccinated as soon as they are able.
The CDC added it would issue further guidance/orders for the next stage of its restart process – including trial voyages – however no timeframe was given.
The next phase would seen lines apply for a conditional sailing certificate, and once achieved, in the following phases they may resume passenger voyages with restrictions such as voyage length and testing requirements.
Cruise guidance was issued as the CDC relaxed travel restrictions for fully vaccinated US citizens – allowing them to travel without quarantine once arriving back in the US.
In a fresh statement, Clia said it understood the need for the CDC to implement public health measures and shared the Biden Administration’s priority to limit the spread of Covid.
However, the association called the CDC’s latest update “disappointing” and urged for the CSO to be lifted.
“The new requirements are unduly burdensome, largely unworkable, and seem to reflect a zero-risk objective rather than the mitigation approach to Covid that is the basis for every other US sector of our society,” Clia said.
“The effect of these new mandates is that nearly half a million Americans – from longshoremen and ground transportation operators to hotel, restaurant, and retail workers, travel agents, and tens of thousands of businesses that service cruise ships - are continuing to financially suffer with no reasonable timeline provided for the safe return of cruising.”