Two Democrats have asked the CDC to keep the cruise industry closed for the COVID-19 pandemic’s interim.
By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent
WASHINGTON — US Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urging her to keep the cruise industry closed for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic to curtail the spread of the virus and its variants. Both lawmakers urge Walensky to strictly enforce the recently issued safety guidance that amended the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and halt cruises immediately.
“Given the potential for a large, virus spreading event on a cruise ship, the CDC appropriately issued its No-Sail Order to suspend cruise ship operations,” the lawmakers wrote, referring to the CSO under the colloquialism of the “no-sail order.” Blumenthal and Matsui added that the “COVID-19 remains a grave public health risk that requires ongoing vigilance.”
“Prematurely lifting restrictions on cruising – with thousands of people in close proximity and conditions ripe for spread of infections – threatens a serious setback in this progress,” notes the letter.
The letter also comes as Republicans and Democrats representing constituencies that rely on the cruise industry for economic activity have pressed the CDC and the Biden administration to reopen the cruise industry. Industry members have also held meetings with the CDC and White House COVID-19 task force officials, claiming that these exchanges were encouraging.