Cruise lines will voluntarily suspend operations at U.S. ports until mid-September, citing health concerns amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
A trade organization that represents major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines, said its members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations from U.S. ports until September 15. The move, first reported by USA Today, will supersede the no-sail order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which is set to expire on July 24.
"Although we had hoped that cruise activity could resume as soon as possible after that date, it is increasingly clear that more time will be needed to resolve barriers to resumption in the United States," the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said in a statement.
The extension applies to cruise lines that operate vessels with a capacity of 250 people or more.
"Although we are confident that future cruises will be healthy and safe, and will fully reflect the latest protective measures, we also feel that it is appropriate to err on the side of caution to help ensure the best interests of our passengers and crewmembers," CLIA's statement said.
The CDC said this week it does not "have enough information at this time to say when it will be safe to resume sailing with passengers."
While operations have been suspended, cruise lines are still working to repatriate employees. As of June 15, the U.S. Coast Guard said it is currently tracking 69 cruises in U.S. waters, carrying approximately 31,986 crew members from various countries.
What to know about coronavirus:
- How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: coronavirus map