The cruise industry is currently at a standstill. Despite the vaccine rollout’s progress, there is still no certainty regarding the resumption of their operations. Senator Rick Scott along with Senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan filed a bill that would allow the cruise industry to restart by July 4, 2021.
The act is called the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act. This act is set to replace the current Conditional Sailing Order.
In March 2020, CDC released its no-sail order during the start of the pandemic. By October 2020, it released its conditional sailing order that allows cruises to operate with limited capacity. The number of passengers and crew on board is limited to 250.
According to Senator Scott, “Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines, and maritime industries”. He also added that “the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC” unlike other industries.
The CRUISE Act will formulate how to mitigate the risk of COVID19 for both cruise passengers and staff. Plus, it is also going to establish an interagency “Working Group” in charge of developing recommendations to allow the resumption of cruise ship operations. And finally, the CRUISE Act will require the CDC to revoke the conditional sailing order no later than July 4.
In a statement, Senator Scott hasn’t received a response from the White House when he asked for clear guidance on how cruising can resume operations. This isn’t the first time Rick Scott is trying to help the industry.
Rick Scott in 2020 introduced the Set Sail Safely Act. This established a Maritime task Force that coordinated with a Private Sector Advisory Committee. This addressed the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed for the cruise lines to operate.
Large cruise operators are already looking to switch homeports because of the uncertainty that the industry is having. Florida’s lawsuit against the CDC stated the state could “lose hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions”. On top of that, 159,000 Floridians are working for the cruise industry.
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