Murkowski Responds to CDC’s Clarified Guidelines for U.S. Cruise Industry
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) issued the following statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarified several requirements in its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which outlined the guidelines that cruise companies must adhere to in order to resume operations in U.S. waters.
“Alaska’s economy has been decimated by the damage caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The 2020 summer season was nearly non-existent, and Alaskans who rely on tourism and cruise ships are now facing significant uncertainty as they evaluate the potential for a 2021 season. For months, I’ve been urging the CDC to issue clear guidance for the cruise line industry on how to safely return to passenger operations. At the very least, Alaskans need to be able to plan for whatever the coming months have in store,” said Senator Murkowski. “The CDC’s recently released updated guidance incorporates the risk reduction afforded by vaccines and gives the cruise line industry and the communities that rely on tourism a path forward to prepare. This is positive news. It’s also significant that the CDC has been more responsive and proactive in communicating with the Alaska Delegation and the industry. The CDC has committed to working with us to address any guidelines that may be too restrictive for Alaskans. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but understanding what has to happen for cruise ships to sail is a step in the right direction.”
On March 14, 2020, the CDC issued a No Sail Order for cruise ships due to the potential risks of transmitting or spreading COVID-19. On October 30, 2020, the CDC issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order which lacked any significant guidance for cruise lines. Senator Murkowski worked diligently with the CDC to convey the need for guidance to ensure that once it was safe to resume cruising, the cruise ships would be duly prepared to set sail. Senator Murkowski met with Dr. Cetron and Dr. Walensky of the CDC on multiple occasions. She has also had multiple conversations with Secretary Becerra of HHS to discuss the CDC’s guidance. In the latest call with Secretary Becerra, Senator Murkowski identified the particular needs of Alaskan ports and sought to ensure the guidance would address every host port. Secretary Becerra encouraged feedback and welcomed the opportunity to improve the guidance given any Alaskan input.