CDC ‘no-sail’ order extension official: Cruise ships will not sail in U.S. waters until Nov. 1
Two hours before its “no-sail” order was set to expire, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Wednesday it is extending its “no-sail” order for the U.S. cruise industry through Oct. 31.
The CDC requested that the order be extended to Feb. 15, 2021, but compromised with the White House Task Force to extend until Oct. 31, four days before the Nov. 3 election, a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY on Tuesday.
USA TODAY has reached out to White House officials for additional information.
“We look forward to engaging in a thoughtful and productive dialogue with our partners and regulators in the United States to return to cruising in the region,” Bari Golin-Blaugrund, vice president of strategic communications for Cruise Lines International Association, the leading industry organization, told USA TODAY upon news of the extension Wednesday night.
On Tuesday, Axios reported that CDC Director Robert Redfield was overruled in the White House Situation Room regarding a Feb. 15 no-sail extension.
U.S. COVID-19 daily cases are down from a high in July but continue to exceed those of most other countries around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has logged more than 7 million cases of COVID-19and more than 200,000 deaths.
Cruise industry had already voluntarily suspended US operations until Nov. 1
In August, Cruise Lines International Association, the major trade organization for oceangoing cruise lines, announced its member lines would not sail in U.S. waters through Oct. 31 – at earliest.
The trade organization’s member lines carry 95% of the world’s ocean-going cruisers. Like the CDC’s order, the directive applies to vessels that can carry 250 or more passengers.
“We believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of U.S. oceangoing cruise operations to Oct. 31,” CLIA said in a statement provided by Golin-Blaugrund in August.
But the extension came with caveats. The restart date, Nov. 1, wasn’t set in stone. The organization said at the time it would continually evaluate the situation and would announce whether modifications would be necessary.