In light of coronavirus concerns, the cruise industry has reportedly presented a health plan to Vice President Mike Pence. While it is currently unclear what precisely the contents of the plan were, we know that it deals with coronavirus and how to deal with cases that appear on cruise ships, as well as ways to minimize cases and maximize safety for travelers that happen to be aboard ships during this trying time. We are expecting to hear many more details as time goes on.
A proposal like this was bound to happen with the already colorful history that the cruise industry has had with corona. While cruise ships aren’t exactly that much worse for the virus than anywhere else (we covered this exact subject here, for those who are interested), it still remains that there have been several difficult situations that have occurred already. There are a variety of reasons for this, ranging from the nature of travel itself being an issue for spreading disease, ships being enclosed and shared spaces, and more.
The idea of experts coming together to try to mitigate some of these problems is certainly encouraging. Knowing that both the industry and the government are working together on them is even more so. As cases increase, the idea of any travel (including cruises) seems to become a bit more scary, so the industry taking it very seriously is definitely a step in the right direction.
In terms of what could possibly be discussed in the plan, there are a few different subjects. So far, there is talk of “advanced screening, improved medical services aboard the ships, airlift evacuation and land based care protocols.” All of these things sound very positive, especially steps like helicopter evac, as it can help with those who are stuck on the ship and avoid quarantine situations like we have seen thus far.
The funding aspect, though, is an interesting one. The news reports so far have noted that the money will be “all at the expense of the cruise lines.” As stocks plummet in light of coronavirus and these companies seem to be losing money, it stands to reason that they may need a bit of financial help. At the press conference on March 10 where this was discussed, Pence was asked if a government bailout for the cruise industry was possible; he declined to answer.
As is the case with a large majority of COVID-19 related cruise news, things will start to become more clear as time goes on. We’ll be here to keep you updated along the way.