Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the extension of a No-Sail Order for cruise ships through Sept. 30. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
Cruise lines hit pause back in March, effectively killing the end of the tourist season and cutting off an important source of revenue to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For a look at how much the pandemic has hurt the USVI economy so far, see: Pandemic Economics: How bad Is It?
In a release, CDC officials said the organization supports the June 19 decision by the Cruise Lines International Association to extend voluntarily the suspension of operations for passenger cruise ship travel until Sept. 15. In line with CLIA’s announcement of a voluntary suspension of operation by its member companies, CDC has extended its No Sail Order to ensure that passenger operations on cruise ships do not resume prematurely.
Cumulative CDC data from March 1 through July 10, 2020, shows 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships and 34 deaths. These cases were part of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships. During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of July 3, nine of the 49 ships under the No Sail Order have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, as of July 10, 2020, there are 67 ships with 14,702 crew onboard.
This order will remain in effect until the earliest of the following options:
- The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
- The CDC director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
- Sept. 30, 2020.