Pressure is mounting to find “pathways” for the resumption of cruises from the US.
Cruise lines have been barred from operating in the US for a year by a series of ‘no sail’ orders issued by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The latest ‘framework for conditional sailing’ by the US health authority issued last October does not see cruises resuming until November 1 or when Covid-19 no longer constitutes a public emergency.
Cruise trade body Clia is lobbying for a July restart in line with president Joe Biden’s forecast for when the US will be “closer to normal.”
Industry chiefs believe the conditional sail order is now outdated and unnecessary due to the rollout of several Covid-19 vaccinations across the US.
The CDC first banned cruises in US waters in March 2020 amid Covid-19 outbreaks on multiple ships.
The no-sail order was lifted last October and replaced with the conditional sail order, requiring lines to meet a series of strict requirements.
The CDC added instructions for lab testing in November and expanded the list of tests cruise companies can use in December.
The US Travel Association is the latest industry body to add its weight to the cruise restart lobbying efforts.
Association president and chief executive Roger Dow said: “The standard of evidence should be exceptionally high for rules that effectively single out certain industries as other parts of the economy are allowed to reopen.
“Restrictions have taken a disproportionately heavy toll on the travel industry and our millions of workers, and the rule preventing cruise operations is uniquely specific.
“It is economically imperative to find the pathways to reopening, and the evidence is clear that a layered approach to health and safety allows the safe resumption of travel.
“We join the calls to identify the way toward lifting the conditional sail order and allowing the phased resumption of cruise operations as quickly as possible.”
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