Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hoped to extend their current no-sail order into 2021, it appears the White House will likely nix that notion.
According to Axios news, quoting two sources familiar with meetings held in the White House’s situation room today, CDC head Robert Redfield said it was in the best interest of the public health to extend the current no-sail order through February of 2021.
In doing so, he cited both the current state of the health crisis around the world, and in the United States in particular, as well as the ability of virus’ to spread easily within a cruise ship environment.
However, Vice President Mike Pence seemed to veto Redfield’s notion. Instead, according to the report (which cites two task force members), Pence said that they would be moving in a different direction.
Representatives of the cruise industry will now meet with White House officials on Friday to describe what Axios said was an opportunity for the cruise lines to “describe their transformation and dozens of ways that they will mitigate risk and ensure public health.”
These are, of course, the plans outlined in submissions to the CDC by both the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Healthy Sail Panel, a joint task force formed by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The White House official told Axios that discussions about moving forward would be had at Friday’s meeting, implying that what was likely to happen was a one-month extension.
This would bring the CDC’s current no-sail order in line with the self-imposed suspension of services currently in place by CLIA, whose members have elected not to sail until “at least October 31.”
The fact that Redfield’s organization and the White House find themselves on opposite sides of the issue is not entirely surprising. For several months now there has been discord between the two focused largely on issues related to the current health crisis.
However, Axios quotes one senior official as saying that the cruise situation “is an example of the task force weighing all the equities of the departments and agencies represented… and making a decision that properly balances the public health impacts and the economic ramifications on the country.”
In Florida, major cruise lines are set to sail as early as November.
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