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Back on the water: CDC announces phased approach for cruise lines to get sailing again

Carnival cruise line
Carnival cruise line

Cruisers might be able to sail their favorite ships soon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a framework on Friday for what they described as a “phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations" that could get the cruise industry back in business.

The No Sail Order expires on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, and the CDC is working with cruise lines to take a “phased approached” to resuming passenger operations in U.S. waters.

The CDC said initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members. The federal agency also stated it will ensure that operators have health and safety protections for crew members.

Subsequent phases for the cruise industry to begin operating will be:

  • Simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators' ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk.
  • Certification for ships that meet specific requirements.
  • The final step would be a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages.

At a press conference Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis supported the cruise line business reopening because of its contributions to the state’s tourism economy, especially in South Florida. He announced that he had been in touch with the White House on the issue.

"(The cruise industry) is an important engine for our state,” he said.

Statistics from the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale released in 2018 said that the cruise industry for Fort Lauderdale contributed $67 million in state and local taxes, $172.8 million in local wages and $180.3 million in local purchases.

The CDC did not specify a timeline of when it would institute its framework for conditional sailing.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.