Cruise industry leaders are encouraged by a letter sent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday saying it is committed to restarting passenger operations in the U.S. by the middle of the summer. According to USA Today, CDC officials wrote that while cruising “will never be a zero-risk activity,” the agency is committed to getting passenger operations in the U.S. up and running.
Cruise ships have resumed sailing in different parts of the world, and are departing from ports in the Caribbean and Bermuda—but they have not been allowed to sail from the U.S. since last March.
Although its original requirement was that cruise operators would need to complete a simulated trip to demonstrate their COVID safety protocols, the CDC now says that won’t be necessary if a ship can prove that 95 percent of its passengers and 98 percent of its crew have been fully vaccinated
“We’re really very pleased and very excited because it really does set forth a pathway that we think is achievable, practical and safe,” said Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain on CNBC. “Eighty percent of our guests already say they intend to get the vaccines regardless, so one way or the other, we think this provides a route.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the CDC, demanding that cruise ships be able to sail from U.S. ports, and the state of Alaska then joined the suit.
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