The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the extension of a No Sail Order for cruise ships through September 30, 2020. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
CDC supports the June 19th decision by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) to extend voluntarily the suspension of operations for passenger cruise ship travel until September 15, 2020. In line with CLIA’s announcement of voluntary suspension of operation by its member companies, CDC has extended its No Sail Order to ensure that passenger operations on cruise ships do not resume prematurely.
Cumulative CDC data from March 1 through July 10, 2020, shows 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships, in addition to 34 deaths. These cases were part of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships. During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of July 3, nine of the 49 ships under the No Sail Order have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, as of July 10, 2020, there are 67 ships with 14,702 crew onboard.
This Order will remain in effect until the earliest of:
1. The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
2. The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
3. September 30, 2020.
On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings. Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs. If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners (i.e., Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard), and the communities they return to.