TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – No sailing allowed. That’s according to an extended order from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The order means cruise lines cannot sail out of U.S. ports through at least Oct. 31.
Cruises were abruptly halted in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC links 41 COVID-19 deaths and 3,689 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases to cruises in U.S. waters dating back to March.
The CDC is keeping its eye on international voyages, which continue to have outbreaks despite cruise operators having strict protocols in place.
“When health and safety protocols were apparently observed, resuming passenger operations significantly burdened public health authorities by creating the need for additional SARS-CoV-2 testing, isolation of infected travelers, contact tracing, and quarantine of exposed people,” the CDC said in a statement.
The continued cancellations have far-reaching implications for both the cruise industry and ports.
“We’re seeing some pretty serious consequences from the pandemic. In some cases as much as 60 to 70 percent of port revenue basically gone overnight,” said Doug Wheeler, Florida Ports Council.
The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, MSC Cruises and Disney cruise lines, recently announced an agreement for mandatory COVID-19 tests for everyone on board, mask-wearing and limited shore excursions.
Carnival, which sails out of Tampa, canceled almost all of its cruises until next year.
Holland America sold four of its vessels, including one set to sail out of Tampa Bay in November.
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