On October 30, 2020, the day before the No Sail Order was set to expire, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for cruise ships which means an end to the No Sail Order. This order will allow a phased approach to resuming cruise ship passenger operations in U.S. waters, opening up a pathway to resumption of cruise operations.
This Order shall remain in effect until the earliest of:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
- November 1, 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announces this framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations. Considering the continued spread of COVID-19 worldwide and increased risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships, a careful approach is needed to safely resume cruise ship passenger operations. CDC is establishing requirements to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to passengers and crew, prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from cruise ships into U.S. communities, and protect public health and safety. After expiration of CDC’s No Sail Order (NSO) on October 31, 2020, CDC will take a phased approach to resuming cruise ship passenger operations in U.S. waters.
The initial phases will consist of testing and additional safeguards for crew members. CDC will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections for crew members while these cruise ship operators build the laboratory capacity needed to test future passengers. Subsequent phases will include simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk, certification for ships that meet specific requirements, and a phased return to cruise ship passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates COVID-19 risk among passengers, crew members, and U.S. communities. These phases are subject to change based on public health considerations and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate COVID- 19 risk. CDC will issue additional orders as needed that will be published in the Federal Register and technical instructions that will be subsequently posted on CDC’s website.
This Order additionally announces requirements for the initial phases relating to crew testing. CDC considers adequate crew safeguards as demonstrated through laboratory testing for SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, an integral part of the initial phases prior to resuming passenger operations.Exerpt: CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order – October 30, 2020
This Order is effective upon signature and published in the Federal Register.
Finally, it is extremely important to remember that this order will not open cruising overnight or in a few weeks. The cruise lines in general have stated this will be a slow and methodical restart, not a simple flip of a switch. There still could be some cancellations and changes to upcoming scheduled cruises. Basically, I’m not packing my bags yet for our scheduled cruise in December. Just going to sit and wait for official word from the various cruise lines on their restart plans.