The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the next phase of guidelines for cruise lines. This is the first time the No-Sail order (CSO) has been updated since October of last year.
This phase provides technical instructions on COVID testing and reporting as well as the need for COVID-19 vaccinations before passengers can sail.
“Covid-19 vaccination efforts will be critical in the safe resumption of passenger operations,” the CDC said.
The new guidelines provide instructions on:
- Increasing from weekly to daily the reporting frequency of COVID-19 cases and illnesses.
- Implementing routine testing of all crew based on each ship’s color status.
- Updating the color-coding system used to classify ships’ status with respect to COVID-19.
- Decreasing the time needed for a “red” ship to become “green” from 28 to 14 days based on the availability of onboard testing, routine screening testing protocols, and daily reporting.
- Creating planning materials for agreements that port authorities and local health authorities must approve to ensure cruise lines have the necessary infrastructure in place to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 on their ships to include healthcare capacity and housing to isolate infected people and quarantine those who are exposed.
- Establishing a plan and timeline for vaccination of crew and port personnel.
The CDC recommends that all eligible port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them.
The next phase of the CSO will include simulated (trial) sailings that will allow crew and port personnel to practice new COVID-19 operational procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.
“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising when it is safe to do so, following the phased approach outlined,” the agency said.
Disney Cruise Line has canceled all sailings through May and some through August. The cruise line is hopeful to resume sailings this fall.