MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for cruise ships to resume operations.
They also announced that it will allow its no-sail order to expire on Saturday.
A no-sail order had been in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March of this year.
Before cruise lines are allowed to sail again, they will have to prove to the CDC that COVID-19 protocols are in place.
“CDC and the cruise industry have the same goal: A return to passenger sailing, but only when its safe. Under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, cruise lines have been given a way to systematically demonstrate their ability to sail while keeping passengers, crew and their destination ports safe and healthy,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel.
The CDC said that during the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine, and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers.
“Subsequent phases will include simulated (mock) voyages with volunteers playing the role of passengers to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and return to passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and communities,” CDC officials said.
Additionally, passengers and crews must be tested at the start and again at the end of the cruise.
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The cruise association had issued a voluntary suspension of cruises through Oct. 31.
Hundreds of people fell ill aboard crowded cruises earlier this year before the CDC’s no-sail order went into effect. Fourteen passengers died after an outbreak aboard Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess, which was quarantined off the coast of Japan in February.
Since then, the industry has furloughed thousands of workers and obtained billions in bank loans to stay afloat. CLIA says the U.S. cruise industry supports more than 400,000 jobs and generates $53 billion annually.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)