Cruise ships can officially set sail Sunday – but they won’t be carrying any passengers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given the greenlight for cruise ships to take to the seas but hasn’t given a date for when anyone other than crew members will be allowed onboard, USA Today reported.
The CDC is replacing an eight-month “no sail” order, which expired at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, with a 40-page Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. The new directive lays out what the CDC’s migration and quarantine chief Dr. Martin Cetron calls “a phased, deliberate and intentional pathway” to resuming passenger services.
That course depends on the cruise industry’s ability to ensure the health of crew members and passengers as well as residents of port cities, Martin said.
The first sailings will be simulations to prove that ships and crews are complying with CDC standards and can stymie the spread of COVID-19. Later trials will include mock voyages with volunteers such as employees or their family members.
“During the initial phases, cruise ship operators must demonstrate adherence to testing, quarantine and isolation, and social distancing requirements to protect crew members while they build the laboratory capacity needed to test crew and future passengers,” the agency said.
Subsequent trials will include mock voyages with volunteers such as employees or their family members.