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Trending Travel News
Florida and Alaska File Lawsuit Against the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order
On April 2nd, the Center for Disease Control released their new phase of Framework for the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), originally issued on October 30, 2020. The order includes a phased approach for cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters to return to cruising safely, but included no timeline to do so. The CDC has also continued their recommendation that cruise travel be avoided, citing an increased risk of infection in close quarters, despite giving the green light for vaccinated individuals to travel domestically.
The new framework requires Cruise Lines to demonstrate that they have necessary infrastructure in place to manage outbreaks onboard and that they have the healthcare capacity and housing for quarantining known and/or suspected cases of COVID. Cruise Lines must also commit to routine testing of crew members and daily reporting of cases and illness onboard.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called the new requirements “unduly burdensome and largely unworkable.” This sentiment has been echoed by many travel industry organizations as well as state lawmakers in Florida and Alaska, where the cruise industry contributes largely to the state economies.
In March, Florida Senator Rick Scott wrote a letter to the White House COVID Response Coordinator, urging the administration to immediately issue clear guidance for resumption of cruise operations. The CDC did not respond to the request, and there is still no timeline for cruises to resume.
Following this lack of response from the CDC and the recent announcement of the new CSO requirements, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, as well as Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio have introduced the CRUISE (Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements) Act in an effort to bring back cruising. The Cruise act would revoke the Conditional Sailing Order and require the CDC to provide “mitigation guidance” for cruise lines to resume domestic operations no later than July 4th. The bill would also establish an inter-agency Working Group to develop recommendations to facilitate cruise resumption.
“Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC’s refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”
Florida Ports claim to have suffered a decline in operating revenue of almost $300 million. In Miami alone, with over 5 million passengers a year, the cruise industry accounts for $9 billion invested in the economy each year. Alaska also claims losses of more than $3 million each season the cruise industry is shut down.
Some Cruise Lines have already begun to look outside the U.S. to resume sailings, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Seabourn Cruise Line and Viking Cruises, who have announced new home ports in Bermuda, Iceland, Greece and the Caribbean.
The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has come out in support of legal action taken against the CSO, calling the order “unlawful” and arguing that nearly ever other group activity has resumed safely, including sporting events and air travel. ASTA also notes that safety protocols for cruising have been successful in Europe and Asia, where some cruising has already resumed. Since resuming operations, out of 400,000 passengers, only 50 cases of COVID have been found onboard and zero deaths have been reported.
“We find the CDC’s position singling out cruising perplexing given that nearly every other group activity one can envision – from attending sporting events to dining indoors in restaurants to visiting movie theaters and gyms, not to mention traveling by air and staying in hotels – has already resumed safely with masking requirements and social distancing protocols in place.”
American Airlines Honors Veterans
For a second year, American Airlines will partner with a non-profit organization to honor World War II Veterans with free “Dream Flights” on restored World War II biplanes.
American Airlines Grants 95 Birthday Wishes
In honor of its 95th Birthday, the airline will donate 10 million AAdvantage miles to Make-A-Wish to help grant 95 wishes.
Now Open in Travel
Barbados Opening Up to Vaccinated Travelers
Effective May 8th, 2021, fully vaccinated travelers will be permitted to enter Barbados. Travelers will also be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result three days prior to travel.
Is Your Passport Valid?
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As a general rule, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of travel, but these rules may also vary depending on your destination.
The current normal processing time for passports is 10-12 weeks, so there is no time like now to get started on your renewal.
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