Senators have announced the new Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements Act (CRUISE) with the aim to overrule the current Conditional Sailing Order that is in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
With the cruise industry still on hold and no clear details from the CDC, several Senators have now taken action to help get cruises operational once again.
New Act to Revoke CDC order
The urge to reopen the cruise industry in the U.S. has gone beyond just the cruise industry in recent weeks. We’ve already reported on Florida filing a lawsuit against the Federal Government and CDC to allow cruises, and now Senators Rick Scott, Dan Sullivan, and Marco Rubio have introduced the new smartly named CRUISE act, short for Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements Act.
Senator Rick Scott said:
“Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC.”
“The CDC’s refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, andwe’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”
It’s clear that the time has come to resume cruises from U.S. ports and the senators are now hoping this new act will overrule the current CDC Conditional sailing Order that has been in place since November 1, 2020.
Senator Marco Rubio said:
“The benefits of cruise operations are integral to the economies of Florida’s port cities. Floridians and many other Americans who are employed by ports, cruise operators, or work in hospitality jobs near cruise terminals face an uncertain future because of the CDC’s unresponsiveness to requests for guidance by stakeholder groups.”
“I am proud to join Senators Sullivan and Scott in introducing legislation that would require the CDC to provide guidance to safely resume operations this summer, and allow Florida’s economy to recover even further.”
Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar is leading this legislation in the House of Representatives and she said “I am proud to join my Senate colleagues and lead this fight in the House so that our ships can return to sea, our longshoremen can return to port, and Americans can start cruising again. This legislation will fix the CDC’s arbitrary guidelines and give clarity and fairness to the industry that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Miami’s entire tourism economy.”
What Does the CRUISE Act Cover?
The new act aims to disregards the order from the CDC and to let cruises resume safely no later than July 4, 2021. Highlights include:
- Requires the CDC to issue recommendations for how to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to passengers and crew onboard cruise ships.
- Establishes an interagency “Working Group” that will develop recommendations to facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States. The recommendations will facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States no later than July 4, 2021.
- No later than July 4, 2021, the CDC must revoke the order entitled “Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew.”
- Ensures that HHS and CDC retain all appropriate authorities to make and enforce regulations necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases on any individual cruise ship.
Cruise Lines have already proved that cruises can resume safely and there is no doubt that the cruise industry has done all it can and continues to do all it can to keep guests and crew safe.
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Why is This Happening?
This comes after growing frustrations from cruise lines, ports, and officials on the outdated CDC framework on the Conditional Sailing Order. Frustrations recently reached an all-time high when the CDC released Phase Two, which included technical instructions on resuming cruises.
The instructions have been called “unworkable” by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and don’t take into fact the successful rollout of vaccinations across the United States.
It’s clear that the CDC is in no rush to let cruises resume and the four-phase framework makes it very difficult for cruise lines and ports to work through.
In March, Senator Rick Scott even sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID Response Coordinator urging the reopening of the cruise industry. Still, there has been no response from the CDC and it mostly remained silent on the situation.
The Senator was also involved in the Set Sail Safely Act last year to establish a Maritime Task Force. However, not much has come from that, and cruises have remained on hold for more than a year. The cruise industry is the only industry that has been closed for that long.