While restaurants, ballparks, music venues, convention centers, casinos, and countless other venues reopen or begin easing restrictions with little or no vaccine requirements, the cruise industry is still shut down despite enhanced public health measures, and even proposing to operate some voyages exclusively with vaccinated passengers and crew.
Current CDC requirements for vaccinated cruisers are inconsistent with the agency’s general guidance for vaccinated people who they say, as of now, no longer need to wear masks or physical distance, with few exceptions. By July, current trends indicate that at least 70% of the adult population will have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and many sectors will be operating at significantly increased, if not full, capacity. And yet, cruise ships are still subject to outdated guidance and restrictions.
Time is of the essence.
We greatly appreciate the spirit of cooperation shown in recent weeks by the Administration, including the CDC. However, we are concerned that the slow pace of progress and lack of distinction between vaccinated cruises and cruises open to all will unnecessarily delay the resumption of cruising past our July target. If this happens, Alaska, along with other U.S. destinations that depend on a functioning cruise industry, will be at risk of losing another summer season unless a viable path forward can emerge immediately.
With so much at stake, including hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, we need clarity and certainty NOW in order to resume in July.
The cruise community from longshoremen to cruise lines need certainty that vaccinated ships can restart in July, and that passengers will enjoy the same benefits of being vaccinated on a cruise ship as they will on land.
Please take a moment to send a message to Administration officials TODAY to let them know that vaccines are a game changer and ocean-cruising can be a model for returning to life closer to normal.