More and more government officials call for the CDC to drop its Conditional Sailing Order and allow cruises to resume. However, the CDC and the Biden administration remain quiet on the subject.
Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Dan Sullivan, and Lisa Murkowski sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID Response Coordinator, at the end of March to urge the Administration to issue clear guidance for the resumption of operations for the cruise industry.
The government officials cite that although many industries have already restarted in the United States, and many others will restart shortly, the Cruise Industry has been treated unfairly while there has been no basis for that treatment. Despite the pressure from various camps, the CDC remains traditionally quiet and steadfast in its path.
Conditional Sail Order Is Taking A high Toll
In the letter sent to the Biden Administration, the Senators say the Conditional Sail Order the CDC has implemented has taken a high toll on the cruise industry and the many Americans that count on the cruise industry for their work and income.
So far, the CDC has issued some new guidelines and structures the cruise lines will need to adhere to, but these offer no guidance whatsoever on when cruising could potentially resume. To get some clarity on the issue, the government officials are now piling on the pressure on both the Administration and the CDC.
Besides the letter sent to the Administration, which was signed as well by Representatives Gus Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos A. Gimenez, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Maria Salazar, Michael Waltz, and Don Young, Governor DeSantis of Florida has now announced the State of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the Administration together with Attorney General Ashley Moore.
Whether this pressure is working remains to be seen. The only reaction from the CDC so far has been a spokesperson saying the CDC is hopeful to start sailing mid-summer.
However, the cruise industry is calling the Conditional sailing order outdated and unworkable, and it is currently pushing cruise lines to sail from foreign homeports. Something the ports in the US are worried about, for a good reason.
Ports Are Speaking Up
It’s not just the representatives that have been speaking out against the CDC’s outdated plans and measures. While the cruise industry finds new ports to sail from, US ports are suffering and losing more and more money each day, causing ports to lay off staff members and put on hire freezes while the rest of the economy is on a path to recovery.
The Galveston Wharves Port Director Rodger Rees joined the CLIA, Governor DeSantis, Senator Rick Scott in calling for an end of the CSO from the CDC:
As CEO and port director of the fourth most popular cruise port in North America and the only cruise port in Texas, I am joining Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), major cruise lines and many others in calling for the CDC to lift the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and allow safe, sustainable phased cruising to begin in July.
Other ports have also spoken up recently, only last week Port CEO Captain Murray of Port Canaveral said:
“For a year now, we have been working closely with our cruise partners and directly with the CDC to find a way forward for the return of cruising from Port Canaveral. Just today CDC announced vaccinated Americans could safely travel internationally. We’re disappointed that this guidance for the cruise industry appears to be nothing more than an incremental step in a far-reaching process to resume passenger sailings in the US with no definitive or target start date.”
The Conditional Sailing Order is proving to be nothing more than a baseless No-Sail order grounding a multi-billion dollar industry that millions of people worldwide count on for their income.
While the CDC holds fast to this order, one can wonder if the CSO is not causing more problems than it solves.