Today, Vice President Mike Pence today led a call with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar; former Utah Governor and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt of the Healthy Sail Panel; and executives of the cruise line industry to discuss the impacts of the Coronavirus on the cruise line industry and the maritime economy, the CDC’s No Sail Order, and the Cruise Lines International Association and Healthy Sail Panel’s proposal to resume sailing operations in a safe and responsible manner. The recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel recently received industry-wide adoption.
Vice President Pence gave a brief overview of the current state of the No Sail Order and highlighted the shared goal of reopening the maritime economy, with a focus on the cruise line industry safely sailing again. Pence thanked Governor Leavitt, Co-Chair of the Healthy Sail Panel, and the cruise line executives including Thomas Malzoum (President, Disney Signature Experiences who oversees Disney Cruise Line). Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival, Frank Del Rio (President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings), Richard Fain (Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Group), and Pierfrancesco Vago (Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises) for conducting an industry-driven effort that focuses on the health outcomes.
HHS Secretary Azar and CDC Director Redfield touched on their commitment to the collaborative effort that produced the Healthy Sail Panel’s 74 recommendations, and the Federal government’s support of the industry to safely and responsibly sail again, but cautioned that the cruise industry would have to backstop their venture to resume operations.
Governor Leavitt provided an overview of how the Healthy Sail Panel approached their report and recommendations, and emphasized that the industry was driven by producing real solutions without economic restraints, which did not result in market participants competing on safety. Leavitt indicated that the output needed to be practical and prioritized safety.
Together, the industry executives thanked the Trump Administration for its collaborative approach and support, and stressed that this process and proposal introduces accountability and standards that will ensure cruise ship passengers are in a safe and healthy environment.
The proposal will be presented to the Task Force in order to provide a recommendation to President Donald J. Trump with regard to next steps on the CDC’s No Sail Order which is now set to expire on October 31st.
We will continue to monitor this story will provide updates as they become available.