Senators Introduce Bill Allowing To Restart Cruising by July 4

Port Everglades

Three U.S. Senators have introduced an act set to revoke the 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.

This was announced on Senator Rick Scott’s official website.

The bill – initiated by Senator Scott, along with a fellow Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, as well as Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska – stipulates allowing voyages to restart as soon as July 4, 2021.

It is aptly named the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act.

“Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC's refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely,” Senator Scott said.

“Unlike the airlines, rail, and other modes of transportation – and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter – the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations. As a result, potential cruises this summer, when the President said the country will be able to return to normal with more and more Americans getting vaccinated, have been left adrift. The foot-dragging, mixed messages, and unresponsiveness of CDC leaders is totally unacceptable and ultimately endangering the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the hundreds of small businesses across Alaska that rely on the tourism sector. My legislation with Senators Scott and Rubio will accomplish what letters, meetings, and repeated phone calls have not—directing the CDC to finally codify timely guidance and a plan for cruise ships to safely and responsibly welcome passengers again this summer,” said Dan Sullivan of Alaska

According to the statement, the CRUISE Act requires the CDC to issue recommendations for how to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 to passengers and crew onboard cruise ships and establishes an interagency “Working Group” that will develop recommendations to facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States.

“The recommendations will facilitate the resumption of passenger cruise ship operations in the United States no later than July 4, 2021,” the statement reads.  

The Act also requires the CDC to revoke the order entitled “Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew” no later than July 4. It also ensures that HHS and CDC retain all appropriate authorities to make and enforce regulations necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases on any individual cruise ship.

Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar is leading this legislation in the House of Representatives, the statement on Senator Scott’s website said.

According to the statement, Senator Scott has not received a response to his earlier letter sent to the White House COVID Response Coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, asking the Biden Administration for clear guidance on the resumption of cruising.

In 2020, Senator Scott also introduced the Set Sail Safely Act, which would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations.

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