The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “no-sail order” on ocean cruise ships could end on Oct. 31, according to a new report from Axios.
In the report, Axios says that despite pushback from the CDC Director Robert Redfield, the U.S. is preparing to allow cruise ships to start sailing in November. The report, written by White House Reporter Jonathan Swan, cites two people inside of the White House’s coronavirus task force.
The current “no-sail” order expires at the end of September and the CLIA self-imposed pause expires at the end of October, but no U.S. cruise line has made concrete plans to restart in 2020 as of yet.
While some lines have restarted in Europe and other parts of the world, the cruise industry has largely been on hold worldwide since COVID-19 began to take hold in late February and early March. Some lines, including Disney Cruise Line, have extended cancellations into December, while others, like P&O Cruises, are looking to 2021.
After the CDC asked for public comment on the decision, CLIA submitted its plans for a gradual resumption of U.S. Cruises to the CDC in September and Norwegian and Royal’s Healthy Sail panel made its recommendations to the CDC shortly before that.
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) also made a comment, calling on the CDC to lift the “no-sail order” around the same time, writing in a letter that “the CDC must not ignore the catastrophic economic consequences of its ‘no-sail order’ on travel agencies and cruise-connected businesses.”
Experts, including some cruise line executives, have said that when cruises do resume, the public should expect it to happen in a gradual, calculated way, with capacity and sailings slowly increasing as the industry continues to amend policies to keep its guests and its crew members safe.
The restart plan, submitted by CLIA, calls for safeguards in place to do so, including universal testing, the mandatory wearing of face masks when physical distancing cannot be maintained, and the offering of shore excursions only authorized by the cruise lines to preserve a desired level of protection.