Senators from two of the US states hardest-hit by the refusal of the Centers for Disease And Control Prevention (CDC) to provide a timetable for the resumption of international cruises from US ports have introduced a Bill to the US Senate that would force the CDC to permit from July 4th the resumption of international cruises calling at US ports.
Senators from Florida and Alaska followed a move last week by the state of Florida to sue the US government to restore cruise ship holidays. A letter-writing campaign was launched by the cruise industry.
Alaska’s governor has said his state might follow Florida in a lawsuit to ease the restrictions on cruising.
Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Sullivan of Alaska have introduced the “Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements Act” (CRUISE). This would revoke the CDC’s current orders for the cruise industry and require the CDC to provide Covid-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar of Florida will lead the legislation in the House of Representatives.
Senator Scott said that “while many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC’s refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong, and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”
Senator Sullivan noted that all the other sectors of the travel and hospitality industries had been permitted to resume operations. He accused the CDC of continuing to stall on its steps for the cruise industry. He said that proposed legislation would provide a clear path to restoring cruises which provide a strong economic benefit to Alaska and numerous small businesses.
However, the bill does not address the second challenge to the US cruise industry, that being Canada’s ban on cruise ships. This with the US cabotage regulations, effectively blocked the large cruise ships from sailing to Alaska in 2021.