US cruise industry extends sailing suspension until end of year
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said Tuesday that its members have agreed to extend the suspension of US sailing operations through December 31.
Members of the CLIA "will use the remainder of the year to prepare for the implementation of extensive measures to address COVID-19 safety" under the guidance of public health experts and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CLIA said in a press release.
The CLIA, which represents 95 percent of global ocean-going cruise capacity, estimates that the suspension of cruises since mid-March has resulted in a loss of over US$25 billion in economic activity and more than 164,000 American jobs, according to the release.
The announcement came just days after the CDC lifted its months-long no-sail order with new guidelines for resumption of passenger cruises despite a spike in US COVID-19 infections.
Based on the CDC's guidelines, cruise ship operators to resume carrying passengers have to demonstrate their procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew, build test labs on all ships, make their own arrangements to isolate or quarantine passengers on shore if needed, and conduct mock voyages with volunteers playing passengers who get sick.
The CDC ordered cruise ships to stop sailing to US ports in mid-March after several coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships and has extended the no-sail order several times.
The United States has recorded more than 9.37 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 232,000 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.