Bill that overrules CDC’s cruise restrictions blocked in US Senate
A Bill that could have allowed the resumption of cruise vacations by July 4, 2021, was blocked in the US Upper House by Washington Senator Patty Murray eight days after its introduction, Cruise Industry News reported earlier this week.
Named the CRUISE (Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements) Act, it was aimed to revoke the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) current Conditional Sail Order on cruises and require the CDC to provide COVID-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations, the cruise shipping industry publication reported.
The Bill, the publication said, was initiated by Florida senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio and Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska.
Scott and Rubio attempted to advance the CRUISE Act on April 21 on the Senate floor but Senator Murray objected, preventing it from passing.
“Cruise ships require specific focus and protocols in place to prevent future outbreaks,” Cruise Industry News quoted Senator Murray as saying in her objection.
“While I am as eager as anyone else to see a return to travel, we cannot cut corners. Doing so risks lives and will only further delay returning to normal, hurting our economy more in the long run,” Murray was quoted further.
“We must trust the science, and we must allow the CDC to continue its work to help us return to what we love as safely as possible. So I will continue to work with CDC and the administration as they develop the next phase of their cruising guidance, but for now, I object,” she explained.
The CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing order applies to all major cruise lines sailing out of US ports. It was issued last October and replaced the ‘no-sail order’ imposed last year March as the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the travel industry.
The framework outlines requirements cruise lines need to follow, including building up testing infrastructure, enhancing onboard medical facilities, and operating test sailings before taking on paying passengers.
It was revised early this month and is scheduled to remain in effect until November 1, 2021. But cruise lines argue that it lacks essential guidance that would allow them to move forward.
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