New CDC Order Requires Cruise Passengers to Wear a Mask

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We’ve got our first impact on the cruise industry from the new Biden administration. Even if wearing masks is a good step to keep guests safe it doesn’t really make any difference right now as there are no cruises from the United States.

Masks Are Now a Must for Cruises

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has issued a new requirement that impacts all transportation forms, including cruise ships. On January 30, as part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, cruise passengers and crew must wear face masks.

The new order is not just for the cruise industry, and for once, cruises are not being singled out. The new rule covers public transport and transportation hubs such as cruise ports, airports, train stations, subways stations, and bus stations. In addition to mask-wearing on cruise ships, the rule applies to airplanes, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. 

“Given how interconnected most transportation systems are across our nation and the world, when infected persons travel on public conveyances without wearing a mask and with others who are not wearing masks, the risk of interstate and international transmission can grow quickly.”

The new order on mask-wearing is a push at reducing the spread of the virus. This also aims to help overwhelmed health services. The decision is science-led and expected from the Biden administration.

The President has already shown that dealing with the pandemic is a priority. Since coming into office, Biden has made sweeping executive orders to try and turn the tide.

Cruise Ship Illness with Mask
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How The New Order Impacts Cruises

To be honest, the initial impact will not be much. The cruise industry in the United States has been suspended. The three largest cruise operators in the country have so far suspended operations until May 2021.

Related: Carnival Makes It Official – No Cruises Until May

On cruise ships at the moment, there are mainly essential crew members, and there is no doubt that they are wearing masks onboard already. When it comes to health measures and introducing new ways to keep people safe, the major cruise lines are leading the way.

The biggest test is when cruises do begin sailing again, and we start to have thousands of passengers embark from major cruise homeports in Florida and beyond. The last thing any cruise line needs will be another outbreak, and mask-wearing is already mandatory from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

With the order going beyond just cruises, it will still help. Many passengers will need to use transport to get to the cruise port. The CDC has said, “Traveling on public transportation increases a person’s risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by bringing people in close contact with others, often for prolonged periods, and exposing them to frequently touched surfaces.”

Cruise Ships in Barcelona
Photo Credit: stockyardph /

The CDC is No Longer All Hush!

Now that President Biden has had time to settle in and new CDC director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky has had time to look into matters, get ready for some major announcements. We haven’t heard much from the CDC for a few weeks, but there are some big decisions to make and the cruise industry is a big part of that.

Cruise Hive has already reported that cruise lines are waiting for guidance from the CDC. No one knows what will happen on resuming cruises, there have been hints of cruises being delayed until July, but that’s just prediction and expectation.

The new mask-wearing requirement could be the beginning of a string of new orders that aim to stop the spread of COVID-19 and it’s all about science.

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