CDC drops cruise ban and provides a path for cruising to resume in the U.S.
The CDC lifted the No Sail Order for cruise ships today, ending a more than seven-month ban on large cruise ship operations in U.S. waters. And it established a series of requirements cruise lines will have to undertake to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and establishing a path to resuming passenger operations.
The agency issued a Conditional Sailing Order that detailed a phased approach to the resumption of service in order to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 spread to passengers, crew and U.S. communities.
Citing the continued spread of Covid-19 worldwide and what it calls an increased risk "of Covid-19" on cruise ships, the CDC said "a careful approach is needed to safely resume cruise ship passenger operations."
The initial phase will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members and ensuring cruise lines have adequate health and safety protections for crew.
Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test the cruise lines' ability to mitigate Covid-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to passenger cruises in a manner that, the CDC said, would mitigate Covid-19 risk to passengers, crew and U.S. communities.
The No Sail Order first went into effect on March 14 and was extended on April 15, July 16 and Sept. 30, when it was extended until Oct. 31