Federal health officials extended for 3 more months its rules that cruise lines must follow to sail during the COVID crisis.
The USA's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agency (CDC) extended into January 2022 the “Conditional Sailing Order” on the industry that was expected to expire next week, citing concerns over "the highly contagious delta variant and breakthrough cases among vaccinated travelers."
The CDC said the extension made only “minor modifications” to rules in effect. The Centers added that after January 15, it planned to move to a voluntary program for cruise lines to detect and control the spread of COVID on their vessels. The current regulations, "a conditional sailing order", were scheduled to expire on November 1.
The first no-sail order was imposed in March 2020 after most cruise companies sailing in US waters agreed to suspend operation. 5 months later, the CDC issued technical guidelines for the industry and began approving trial cruises this spring.
The CDC noted that since it had first issued restrictions, cruise lines had developed and implemented health & safety protocols to manage COVID and had resumed voyages.
CLIA's spokeswoman Laziza Lambert said in a statement that cruising had successfully resumed in the United States with measures that had limited the risk of COVID for passengers and crew. She added the CDC announcement showed that the health agency and the Biden administration recognized the cruise industry’s successful resumption of operations.