The United States CDC (Center for Disease Control) has announced that it will be requiring all passengers on cruise ships to wear masks for the foreseeable future. It’s been a bit since we have heard an order from the CDC, with the last news from them regarding trial cruises. (You can read about that over here.) Before that, there was obviously the No Sail Order that effectively put a halt to all cruise traffic, as well as a warning against cruises in November. Here are all the details about the new CDC order, as well as what the implications of it are.
Masks will be required
The order itself isn’t too complicated. It states that all passengers will need to wear masks when on a cruise ship. It went into effect on February 1st, and it doesn’t look like there is any set date for when this order might expire. There are, of course, some exceptions to the order, however. For instance, kids under the age of two won’t need to wear a mask, nor will anyone that has proof of a disability that makes it unsafe for them to wear one. The order also states that you can take off the mask in certain scenario, such as to eat or to communicate. From the order itself, “requiring masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic.”
Following in European footsteps
This order should not come as a huge surprise, as masks are currently being required on the few European cruise ships that are active right now. If we can expect U.S. ships to follow the European model, we will see masks required in public spaces with more flexibility being available when in private or with small groups. European ships have also been giving out masks to travelers, which is something that we may see American cruise lines adopt.
What this means
While this order might not seem like a huge deal, it’s actually a big step forward. No matter how you feel about masks, it is definitely a sign that the CDC is serious about trying to get the cruise industry operational again. They are looking for solutions to potential safety issues rather than just refusing to allow ships to sail. This will allow cruise lines to get back in business using some of the new health measures that they have been working on over the course of the pandemic.
We may not be back to normal just yet, but something like this indicates that we are moving forward and getting closer than ever. But still, we’re looking forward to hearing about the results of the trial cruises!