Report: CDC's No Sail Order on cruising to end Oct. 31

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Bimini ships at port coronavirus
Ships in Bermuda earlier this year after a voluntary "pause" and the CDC's No Sail Order halted cruising. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The U.S. plans to extend the cruise ship No Sail Order, which expires Sept 30, by one month, according to a report from Axios

The extension through Oct. 31 would match CLIA's current voluntary suspension of cruises.

According to Axios, CDC director Robert Redfield was overruled when he pushed to extend the order on cruises into next year, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the conversation Sept. 29 in the White House Situation Room.

According to Axios, during a meeting of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, Redfield argued to extend the order until February "because of the virus' severity and the vulnerability for spread on cruises."

Vice president Mike Pence reportedly oversaw the meeting in which the administration decided to extend the No Sail Order by one month. A task force member involved in the talks is quoted as saying that the administration hopes to see the cruise industry "demonstrate it has a plan to ensure 'ships can sail in a safe and responsible manner and that the companies assume the burden of dealing with any possible outbreaks.'"

The report also quotes an official saying that industry representatives are set to meet with the Trump administration on Friday to "describe their transformation and dozens of ways that they will mitigate risk and ensure public health." The outcome of that meeting will help determine if the order needs to be extended longer, Axios reported.

The report says that public health officials have privately complained that the move is politically motivated because of the industry's economic significance in Florida, a key battleground state.

White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern rejected that, Axios said, saying the task force enables "the science and data to implement policies that protect the public health and also facilitate the safe reopening of our country. It is not about politics. It is about saving lives."

Leaders from Florida have recently stepped up pressure on the government to end the No Sail Order, including legislation introduced by Florida's two U.S. senators to accelerate the cruise industry's return to service, and urging by Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez for the CDC to drop the ban. 

Correction: A summary that initially accompanied this report incorrectly identified the CDC director. He is Robert Redfield, not Robert Redford.

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