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Cruise industry met with CDC this week about cruises restarting this summer

Matt Hochberg

Talking is the first step in making progress.

Cruise industry executives met with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other Government agencies this week in a virtual meeting to discuss restart plans.

A meeting was held between the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) and the CDC, in which the industry voiced their concerns with the Framework for Conditional Sailing (CSO.)

Pressure has been mounting across different platforms to give cruise lines a chance to resume sailing.  Lawsuits, new legislation, and a vigorous write-in campaign have been some of the new initiatives thrown at the CDC after months of inaction by the agency.

According to CLIA, CLIA and member line representatives from companies operating in the U.S. shared their concerns about the CDC's so-called plan for phased restart, as well as a call for more changes sooner.

The meeting took place earlier in the week, and CLIA issued this summary of what happened.

"We appreciated the opportunity to meet with members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and White House staff on Monday, April 12, 2021."

"We know from the successful restart of cruising in many countries outside the United States that collaborative communication between industry, government, and health authorities is critical. Therefore, we welcomed the invitation to discuss the current Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO.)"

"We pointed to the hundreds of thousands of passenger sailings following enhanced health and safety measures that have successfully mitigated the risk of introducing and transmitting COVID-19 on cruise ships at levels much lower than found on land. "

"Furthermore, cruise line CEOs shared their views on why the CSO – which was issued nearly six months ago - lags behind international efforts, does not reflect an understanding of how the industry operates, is predicated on scenarios that are increasingly unlikely and has not kept pace with positive medical advancements."

The problem with the CSO

In recent weeks, the cruise industry has criticized the CSO as being overly complicated, outdated, and unnecessary.

Instead, cruise lines have proposed dropping the CSO completely and allowing cruise ships to sail under the submitted extensive new health protocols.

CLIA appears to be encouraged by what they heard, but is still keeping up the pressure on the Administration and the CDC to lift the CSO.

Read more: How to easily tell your Congressperson you want the CDC to let cruise ships sail

Mounting pressure

This week's meeting follows blow back on the CDC after they released updated technical guidance for its Framework for Conditional Sailing on April 1.

The new guidance was largely seen as lacking and impractical. CLIA called it, "unduly burdensome, largely unworkable".

Moreover, it seems the CDC is still adhering to a zero-risk objective rather than the mitigation approach to Covid that so many others facets of life have adopted.

Since then, a new bill was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) that aims to revoke the CSO and take control away from the CDC.

Florida's Governor has sued the federal government, and Alaska's governor is considering doing the same.