Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees has asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift its Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and allow safe, sustainable phased cruising to begin in July
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put the multi-billion-dollar U.S. cruise industry in limbo with no updates since it issued the CSO in October 2020,” Rees said, in a statement.
He noted the CDC has “taken no action steps” despite the facts that millions of Americans are vaccinated, COVID case numbers in the U.S. have declined significantly in recent months, cruise ports and cruise lines have put measures in place for safe, sustainable cruising and cruising in markets around the world has resumed while preventing or limiting spread of the virus.
Rees noted that the port of Galveston had enhanced its cruise terminal complex to CDC standards as outlined in the October 2020 framework for conditional sailings.
“We’ve invested about $100,000 in improvements intended to reduce the spread of the virus at our two cruise terminals. Additions include touchless bathroom fixtures, plexiglass shields in customer service areas, and enhanced air handling systems,” he said. “Suspension of cruising from Galveston has resulted in a $1.2 billion loss in direct spending and a reduction of 23,000 jobs and $1.6 billion in wages statewide.”
“This multi-billion-dollar industry is the only industry prohibited by the federal government from operating, even as other sectors of travel, tourism, and hospitality have opened or continued to operate throughout the pandemic,” Rees continued. “With hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs at stake, a resumption of cruising with appropriate measures is critical to putting people back to work and fueling a strong economic recovery.”