Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents 95 per cent of global ocean-going cruise capacity, announced on Tuesday (Nov. 3) that its members would maintain the ongoing voluntary suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. through December 31, 2020.
CLIA says its members will use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety with the guidance of outside public health experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"As we continue to plan for a gradual and highly-controlled return of cruise operations in the U.S., CLIA members are committed to implementing stringent measures to address COVID-19 safety, including 100 per cent testing of passengers and crew, expanded onboard medical capabilities, and trial sailings, among many others," CLIA wrote in a statement. "We share a common goal with the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to protect public health, which has been affirmed and reaffirmed consistently throughout the industry’s response to the global pandemic...We will work with urgency to advance a responsible return to cruising while maintaining a focus on effective, science-based measures to protect public health."
The cruise industry generates more than $53 billion in annual economic activity, supporting 421,000 American jobs spanning almost every sector, says CLIA.
"Each day without cruise operations in the U.S. results in nearly 1,000 American jobs lost," the association wrote. "From mid-March through today, it is estimated that the suspension of cruise operations has resulted in a loss of more than $25 billion in economic activity and over 164,000 American jobs."
The news comes days after the CDC lifted it's “no-sail” order, a directive introduced in March that prevented large cruise ships from sailing in United States waters.
In place of the order, the CDC released a "Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships", which officially began on Sunday (Nov. 1).
This will allow cruise ships to gradually resume service out of U.S. ports, in phases, pending they meet a long list of conditions (which can be viewed here).
Cruise companies must be able to show that they can adhere to COVID testing, specific sanitization methods, and social distancing, quarantining, and isolating when necessary in order to obtain a COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate issued by the CDC.
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