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CDC Extends Cruise No-Sail Order to October 31st

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Leave it to a “new wave” news website to get the scoop on when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will allow cruise ships to sail again from U.S. ports. As the cruise industry and travel advisors were waiting on pins and needles to see whether the CDC would extend its “no sail” order beyond Sept. 30, Axios, a news website founded in 2016 by former Politico journalists, said the CDC would now extend the order to Oct. 31, which just happens to match when CLIA and its member lines said they would “voluntarily pause” cruising.

Of course, the Axios report also said the Trump administration had overruled CDC Director Robert Redfield when he tried to push to extend the “no sail” order for cruises into February 2021. Axios cited two sources with direct knowledge of the conversation on Sept. 29 in the White House Situation Room. In that context, the Axios report said the decision was another example of the administration undermining Redfield, whom Axios said has been the source of much consternation among public health officials inside the administration.

Axios reported that public health officials have privately complained that the thwarting of Redfield on the cruise ship ban is politically motivated because the industry is a major economic presence in Florida, a key battleground state where the polls are statistically tied. Axios said the White House denies politics played any role in the decision. Vice President Mike Pence, who according to Axios, chaired yesterday’s meeting, told Redfield that they would be proceeding with a different plan, according to two task force members.

According to Axios, Trump administration officials hope that between now and then, 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. Cruise industry representative are scheduled 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.

"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," a White House official said, as reported by Axios. "These things can be extended for a month and then we can reassess the conditions on an ongoing basis."

Axios reported that one senior official said the decision on the “no sail” order for cruising "is an example of the task force weighing all the equities of the departments and agencies represented on the task force and making a decision that properly balances the public health impacts and the economic ramifications on the country.”

So what’s the initial reaction to this news from the travel industry, particularly top cruise sellers? Vicky Garcia, Cruise Planners’ chief operating officer, said it was the right decision for the cruise industry to voluntarily suspend operations, but the industry is being hamstringed by any mandatory extension and it is time to start implementing the responsible and safe return to operations.

“The cruise industry continues to be singled out by the CDC—resorts, hotels, theme parks, restaurants and airlines are not having to defend their safe return to business at this caliber,” Garcia said. “We support the science-based plan that the cruise industry’s Safe Sail Panel presented to the CDC and believe these safety protocols puts public health and people first including travelers, the crew and port employees.

Garcia noted that according to ASTA’s recent study, 73 percent of travelers who have taken a cruise within the past year are ready to go on a cruise now and ultimately it is up to individual travelers to determine their own risk assessment when it comes to any type of travel. “And while people are willing and ready to book and go on vacations, Cruise Planners travel advisors will be there to help them each step of the way—and our increased sales prove consumers are ready to travel,” Garcia said.


SOURCE: Insider Travel Report, James Shillinglaw (Sep. 30, 2020); Photo Credit: Pixabay Free Images

Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com


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