Pressure on CDC To Drop Conditional Sail Order Mounting

After Royal Caribbean’s CEO Richard Fain spoke out against CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sail Order, calling it “unworkable,” more pressure has been put on the organization to relax its rules for cruise lines in the U.S.

The Framework for Conditional Sail Order came in place of the No Sail Order in October 2020 and was deemed a positive step at the time. But with a fast-paced vaccination process in the U.S. and virtually safe post-pandemic return to operations by several cruise lines, many in the industry find the framework “outdated.”

“Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific – with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets. These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer,” said President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Kelly Craighead.

The association has called on the CDC to “allow for the planning of a phased resumption of cruise operations from U.S. ports by the beginning of July,” its press release read.

CLIA highlighted the very low number of reported coronavirus cases onboard the ships that have successfully resumed sailing. It said that, according to public reports, there have been fewer than 50 coronavirus cases found onboard across more than 350,000 passengers that have been carried.

“This is a testament to the industry’s unparalleled expertise, gained over more than half a century, in coordinating movements of guests and crew, efficiently organizing complex embarkations and excursions, and designing vessels that are more technologically advanced and operationally agile than any other mode of transportation,” said Craighead.

Among the reasons listed to justify the call for dropping the framework are a set of strict and thorough health and safety policies implemented across cruise lines and the fast pace of vaccinations in the country, with President Biden expecting to make all American adults eligible for one by May 1.

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