GOP lawmakers ask Biden administration for guidance on reopening cruise industry
A group of Republican lawmakers led by Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.) sent a letter to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients last week asking that guidance be issued for the cruise industry to resume operations.
In the letter, the lawmakers note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing in October and last year, and said it would release detailed phases to reopen.
“To-date, however, the CDC has still not issued Phase II requirements. We are disappointed that the CDC has been neither transparent nor forthright with the cruise industry, leaving a sector that is a significant economic driver for our states at a standstill, and affecting jobs in all major ports and surrounding cities,” the letter read.
“The cruise industry has faced unique challenges amid this pandemic, and is one of the only industries that is completely precluded from resuming normal operations,” the letter continued. “This has created a dramatic negative ripple effect on the Florida and Alaskan families, businesses, ports and communities that rely on the cruise industry.”
On Sunday, it was reported that the CDC had rejected an appeal from the Cruise Lines International Association to lift restrictions that would allow ships to start sailing again in July. The CDC maintained that the current plan to lift restrictions in November would remain in place, with a spokesperson adding that the next phases are currently under review.
The Republican lawmakers who signed the letter included Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) along with Reps. Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) and Carlos Gimenez (Fla.) among others.
They requested that more details on the Framework for Conditional Sailing as well as an expected timeline for the cruise industry reopening. They also inquired about what conditions the CDC the administration was looking for in order for the cruise industry to resume business.