Updated CDC Guidance Is a Positive Step, but More Guidance Is Needed on Cruising
April 08, 2021 By Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy, U.S. Travel Association
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) substantially relaxed its guidance for travelers who have been fully vaccinated—a move that was lauded by U.S. Travel.
The latest guidance says that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it and do not need to self-quarantine. The guidance does state that fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
U.S. Travel has long advocated for a risk-based, science-driven, layered approach to health and safety. This was the driving force behind the creation of our Travel in the New Normal guidance, in which the travel industry collaborated with medical experts to promote the health and safety of all travelers and travel workers and to allow for the safe reopening of all segments of travel.
While the CDC’s new guidance is a welcome development for domestic travel and is reflective of the layered approach for which we have advocated, not all sectors of travel have received consistent guidance related to resuming operations, particularly cruise lines.
The CDC issued new guidance for cruise line operations on Friday but did not provide a timeline for when the Conditional Sailing Order would be lifted—leaving it unclear when cruise lines and workers will resume operations. As the CDC has provided updated guidance for essentially all other forms of travel—both domestic and international—and has acknowledged the improved public health environment, U.S. Travel has joined other leading voices in calling on the CDC to identify the path forward to restart cruising in the U.S. and lift the Conditional Sailing Order by July. The cruise industry is ready to set sail and has already applied the same rigorous health and safety guidance that has allowed all other sectors of travel to reopen or operate amid the pandemic. All sectors of travel should be treated equally as the rest of the economy gets the greenlight to reopen.
With ships in the U.S. docked for more than a year, there is an economic imperative to find solutions to allow for the resumption of cruising so its employees can return to work. U.S. Travel joins our industry partners in the cruise line industry in calling on the CDC and the administration to work together on a clear plan to safely reopen this important sector of the U.S. travel economy.
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