The Center for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) has long been working on finding ways for the cruise industry to sail safely in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest development from them is a new chart that helps outline the safety level of different ships that are still on the water, looking to get their crew members back home. It separates these ships into green, yellow and red categories, with each color meaning a different thing for what level of travel is acceptable for these crew members.
The difference between the colors
As you might expect, the colors differ in what is allowed, with green being the safest and red being the least safe. They are influenced by various factors within the ship that would determine the spread of the coronavirus. For a green ship, crew transfers and repatriations are allowed on both non-commercial and commercial transportation, whether that’s on land or in the air. For yellow and red ships, crew members can only take non-commercial transportation, a measure which will help reduce the spread of coronavirus to others that might happen to be on commercial transportation.
What determines the color?
To be a green ship, a medical professional has to confirm that the ship hasn’t had any presence of coronavirus for 28 days. Additionally, anyone getting on a green ship has to be quarantined for 14 days after entering. Green ships also have to submit weekly forms to the CDC informing them of their coronavirus status onboard. Yellow ships have one (and no more than one) possible coronavirus cases in the past 28 days that are not yet confirmed; red ships have had one (or more) definitive case in the past 28 days.
There are also some new rules for cruise ships that coincide with this new color-coded system. No matter whether your ship is green, yellow or red, the following things are required: posters encouraging hand hygiene, hand sanitizer placed around the ship, promoting general hygiene, discouraging hand shaking and eliminating self-serve options in dining halls. There are a number of other rules that only apply to yellow and red ships, as well. For instance, they have to restrict crew to single person bedrooms with private bathrooms and have all shared areas close down. Some rules are recommended for green ships, while others are deemed as not necessary if your ship has been determined to be that safe.
While it’s safe to assume that these new guidelines will be going into place immediately for ships currently at sea, we’ll have to wait to see if this is something that will be continually used as commercial ships get back into business. You can read more about this on the CDC page Interim Guidance for Mitigation of COVID-19 Among Cruise Ship Crew During the Period of the No Sail Order.