The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended its “No Sail Order” for all cruise ships by 100 days.
The No Sail Order aims to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the United States by ceasing operations of cruise ships in US waters. It requires that cruise lines develop a comprehensive, detailed operational plan approved by CDC and the USCG to address the COVID-19 pandemic through maritime focused solutions, including a fully implementable response plan with limited reliance on state, local, and federal government support.
The order will remain in operation until the earliest of these three situations:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations
- 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register
In the meantime, cruise ship operators are not allowed to disembark travelers (passengers or crew) at ports or stations, except as directed by the USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, and as appropriate, as coordinated with federal, state, and local authorities.
Additionally, cruise ship operators should not embark or re-embark any crew member, except as approved by the USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, until further notice.
“We are working with the cruise line industry to address the health and safety of crew at sea as well as communities surrounding U.S. cruise ship points of entry,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield. “The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic.”
Currently, there are approximately 100 cruise ships remaining at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard.
The CDC is aware of 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the United States with known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the crew who remain onboard.