Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was overruled when he pushed to extend a “no-sail order” on passenger cruises into next year, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the conversation today in the White House Situation Room.
During today’s meeting of the president’s coronavirus task force, Redfield argued that the government’s ban on cruise ships, should be extended until February 2021 because of the virus’ severity and the vulnerability for spread on cruises.
Currently, the CDC’s No Sail Order is set to expire tomorrow, September 30th. The Axious.com report mentions Vice President Mike Pence, told Redfield that they would be proceeding with a different plan, according to two task force members.
The White House has argued the No Sail Order is unreasonable and the Trump administration plans to extend the No Sail Order for cruise ships until October 31 which is in line with the cruise industry’s self-imposed voluntary suspension previously announced by CLIA.
While reviewing public comments submitted to the CDC, there was a significant number of responses referencing unfair treatment of the cruise industry which is categorized on this page as vendetta. Granted, this percentage plummeted in the final days when there was a dump of over 5000 new approved comments which I have been unable to review.
According to a task force member involved in the discussion, the White House hopes, the cruise industry can 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.”
Last week, CLIA published core elements to a safe return to cruising with the adoption of mandatory core elements of a strong set of health protocols to be implemented as part of a phased-in, highly controlled resumption of operations.
Representatives of the cruise industry 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 per a White House official referenced in the report.
“And in that meeting there will be a discussion and afterwards a decision will need to be made about whether the order needs to be extended,” the White House official added. “These things can be extended for a month and then we can reassess the conditions on an ongoing basis.”
Disney Cruise Line has already cancelled sailings into December across the fleet so the potential extension through October 31st will not directly impact any sailings as they have previously been cancelled.
We will continue to monitor this story and expect news as soon as Wednesday to address the current No Sail Order expiration or at the latest Friday following the meeting with cruise industry stakeholders.