The cruise industry is one of the most hit sectors since the start of the pandemic. Pressured by the cruise industry and other stakeholders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed the resumption in July. And now, the latest CDC updates focused on mask-wearing policies for cruises.
Updated Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated Passengers
The agency loosened its guidelines for fully vaccinated passengers. Though mask-wearing wasn’t taken out, those who completed their vaccine doses no longer have to wear a mask outside. They only have to wear masks in crowded spaces. On the other hand, unvaccinated passengers will still have to wear masks even when sunbathing on lounge chairs. The chairs will also be spaced 6 feet apart.
The cruise ship dining experience will also be different. There will be no buffets. And also, all passengers have to wear a mask in between bites and sips when eating and drinking indoors.
However, aside from the mask-wearing policy on board, the latest CDC updates also loosened on other guidelines. Ban on independent shoreside exploration has been turned from a requirement to a recommendation.
Conditional Sailing Order
The CDC’s conditional sailing order will allow cruises to skip simulated voyages if they can vaccinate most of their passengers and crew. To be exact, they need to have 98% of their crew and 95% of passengers fully vaccinated. If not, they will have to conduct simulated voyages first and test the COVID protocols.
Before the CDC updates that allowed the resumption of sailing in July, cruises announced plans to leave US homeports. Because of this, Florida and Alaska sued the federal government to allow the cruise industry to operate.
However, Florida’s new law might compromise the resumption of cruises in their state. Governor Ron DeSantis pushed for a ban on vaccine passports. It means that companies can’t verify the vaccination status of both customers and employees.
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