CLIA: New CDC cruise guidance 'very disappointing'

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Cruise deck ship [Credit: Virrage Images/Shutterstock.com]
CLIA said the additional instructions issued by the CDC on Friday are "very disappointing ... burdensome, largely unworkable." Photo Credit: Virrage Images/Shutterstock.com

CLIA today said that the additional instructions issued by the CDC on Friday are "very disappointing ... burdensome, largely unworkable" and at odds with the approach that the CDC and governments around the world are applying in managing the Covid-19 risk to other travel and tourism segments. 

The association, which represents 95% of global oceangoing cruise capacity, reiterated its call for the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) to be lifted, saying that with "no clear path forward or time frame for resumption in the U.S.," more cruise lines are likely to announced sailings that originate outside of the U.S., "effectively shutting American ports, closing thousands of American small businesses and pushing an entire industry offshore."

CLIA also urged the Biden administration to consider "the ample evidence that supports lifting the CSO this month to allow for the planning of a controlled return to service this summer." 

CLIA noted that on the same day that the CDC issued onerous new requirements for the cruise industry, the CDC issued relaxed guidance for domestic and international travel due to vaccination progress and recognition of the improved public health environment. 

"With over 400,000 passengers having already sailed from Europe and part of Asia since last summer, following stringent, science-based protocols that result in a far lower incident rate than on land, the irony is that today an American can fly to any number of destinations to take a cruise, but cannot board a ship in the U.S.," CLIA said. "This deprives U.S. workers from participating in the economic recovery and does not recognize the public health advances that have been made over many months, including the ability to effectively mitigate risk on cruise ships."

The group said that the effect of the CSO's guidelines mean that nearly half a million Americans -- from longshoremen; ground transportation operators; hotel, restaurant, and retail workers; travel agents; and tens of thousands of businesses that service cruise ships -- will continue to financially suffer, "with no reasonable timeline provided for the safe return of cruising."

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