WASHINGTON, D.C. — The CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), which had been extended until Jan. 15, 2022, will be permitted to expire without renewal, according to reports.
The CDC “is transitioning to a voluntary COVID-19 risk mitigation program” for cruise lines, according to a CDC statement sent by spokesperson David Daigle to USA Today.
“Cruise ships operating in U.S. waters choosing to participate in the program on a voluntary basis agree to follow all recommendations and guidance issued by CDC as part of this program,” continues the statement.
Just before the calendar flipped over to 2022, on Dec. 30, 2021 the CDC hit cruise travel with a Level 4 advisory, a decision that CLIA had called “particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard – far fewer than on land – and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore.”
At that time CLIA added: “No setting can be immune from this virus – however, it is also the case that cruise provides one of the highest levels of demonstrated mitigation against the virus. Cruise ships offer a highly controlled environment with science-backed measures, known testing and vaccination levels far above other venues or modes of transportation and travel, and significantly lower incidence rates than land.
According to USA Today, CLIA says the CDC’s decision to allow cruise lines to participate voluntarily in the risk mitigation program shows the cruise companies’ “unwavering commitment” to ensuring the highest level of COVID-19 health and safety protocols onboard cruise ships.