WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “committed” to the resumption of cruise industry passenger operations in the United States by mid-summer, it said on Wednesday, announcing some new steps to speed approvals.
The assurance comes after the state of Alaska last week joined Florida’s April 8 suit to overturn a CDC decision to bar the U.S. cruise industry from immediately resuming operations halted for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If a ship attests that 98% of its crew and 95% of its passengers are fully vaccinated,” the agency said in a letter to the cruise industry released publicly, that ship may skip simulated voyages and move directly to open water sailing.
The CDC also said it would respond within five days to applications for simulated voyages, down from an anticipated time of 60 days.
It added that it would update testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew to align with its guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, among other clarifications.
The cruse industry did not immediately comment, but the CDC letter said the mid-summer timeline envisaged complying with a conditional sail order issued this month that “aligns with the goals announced by many major cruise lines.” (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)