BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the US marine tourism industry. No ships left a US port with passengers in more than a year.
Now, after pressure from the tourism industry, CDC has issued some guidance on what needs to happen before the ship can return to sea.
Cruise ships are an important part of many local economies, and the absence has had an impact.
“This is consumer-based, providing jobs on arrival,” said William Doyle, Executive Director of the Maryland Port Authority.
But the wait may end soon.
After months of pressure from the tourism industry, the CDC has issued some guidelines on what needs to happen before the ship can return to sea.
Doyle recommends that all passengers and crew be vaccinated and plans are in place to check, ”Doyle said.
Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, said: “All yacht routes are working towards the best protocols.
The company’s CEO said they have been beefing up safety measures elsewhere in the world, and it’s working.
“The Royal Caribbean group alone has carried more than 100,000 passengers, and out of that, we have only 10 cases,” said Fain.
So what’s next? The next phase may include simulated trips in which crew members can practice safety procedures with volunteers, the CDC said.
The industry hopes they can set sail again by mid-July.
“And if that’s the case, we’re all about it,” Doyle said. “As long as we can do it safely, we can bring cruise ships in and out, we look forward to it.”