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Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidelines for travel, including a ban on travel to the West African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. The new guidelines make exceptions for aid workers and journalists, but require that travelers to the affected countries get a 21-day quarantine after returning to the US, even if they don’t show symptoms of Ebola. In addition, the CDC has issued a Level 3 travel warning, the highest possible, for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, which means that if you travel to those countries, you should leave while you are healthy and not come back until 21 days later.
The CDC has made a change to their vaccination rules, and it has made the rounds in the news lately. The new rule says that all children will need to get two doses of the MMR vaccine, which will help reduce the number of cases of measles. However, the rule has been controversial, since it makes it very difficult for parents to opt out of vaccinations, since they will have to get both doses.
The CDC has a lot of explaining to do! In a new guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency discusses a number of policies that will limit, eliminate or impede many of the things cruise fans enjoy.
The CDC has now banned buffets and self-service areas, restricted food service, introduced social distancing and required patients to wear masks when eating, drinking and swimming. Because of these actions, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio is outraged, calling the allegations absurd.
In recent days, there has been much criticism of the new requirements. Different interpretations of the rules are possible and the rules seem unnecessarily restrictive. While other industries in the US seem to be getting back on track, in line with the Biden administration’s goals, the cruise industry stands out and is treated like no other industry.
Let’s take a look at some of the rules that the CDC seems intent on taking the fun out of cruising completely:
Regulations: Change the layout of restaurants and bars so that all customers are at least 2 metres apart (e.g. remove tables, stools and chairs or mark them that are not in use).
While we’ve all become accustomed to social distancing over the past year, this rule seems to be at odds with the rules and regulations the agency applies in the field.
Related: How do you effectively use social distance during a cruise?
Whether guests are vaccinated or screened or not, they must be free of COVID according to CDC regulations, so there should be no special restrictions on people eating together. This also leads directly to the next step.
Photo credit: stockyardph / Shutterstock.com
Regulations: Although regulations permit temporary removal of the mask for short periods while eating or drinking, removal of the mask for extended periods while eating or drinking would violate these regulations.
So the guests are already socially distanced, but still have to keep the mask on. This rule makes no sense, as Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian, notes:
Imagine having to put your mask on and take it off between meals or between sips of a drink? This is absurd. You won’t find that anywhere else in the world except the United States. The unfair treatment of the sector has therefore continued for more than a year; it must stop.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Regulations: Eliminate all self-service food and beverage options, such as buffets, salad bars and beverage stations. This limits the use of common serving utensils, pens, buttons or touch screens, and allows customers to keep a low profile and maintain a minimum distance of 2 metres from people outside their household.
CDC Recommendation: Offer food alternatives, such as packaged takeaway, that can be eaten on the outside decks or in individual cabins to minimize risks associated with crowding inside.
The CDC is requiring cruise lines to eliminate self-service buffets, salad bars and beverage stations. This means that the crew members will serve you at all times during the cruise.
Swedish tables may still exist, but you can’t get food on your plate. This will limit the ability of guests to enjoy dinner and put more pressure on the ship’s staff, as many more crew members will be needed.
In addition, the agency is asking cruise ship passengers to eat pre-packaged food on board, which is one of the strangest rules ever issued by the CDC.
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive
Food is not the only area where the CDC wants to have a significant impact. Swimming pools are also subject to strict controls. Pools on boats are generally small, and a 6-foot social passage would be nearly impossible.
This means that the swimming pools may only be used by persons belonging to the same travel party or family, under the supervision of the ship’s personnel:
Regulations: Reduce the bathroom load for each plant to maintain social distance. When a social distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) between bathers is not possible, for example. B. Small hot tubs may only be used by a family or a companion.
All deck chairs on the ship must be spaced 6 feet apart, which makes reserving deck chairs on board very complicated, as there will be very few. And if you don’t need the mask in the water, you have to put it back on as soon as you get out of the water:
Regulations: Ensuring swimmers wear masks outside recreational waters (RWB) and on the pool deck. There is no need to wear masks in the water, for example. B. to WHS or swimming in the ocean.
Photo Copyright : Cruise Hive
The need for safe cruising is better known than the cruise industry itself. For this reason, many cruise companies have already made it compulsory for cruises to take place only if all guests have been vaccinated.
Also read : Florida’s governor says the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control are a joke.
If the CDC really intends to impose these rules on all cruises, with or without vaccination requirements, then there will simply be no cruises.
Frank Del Rio:
We are introducing 100% vaccination for crew and passengers. In addition, we will publish the 74 logs collected by the healthy navigation panel. That’s why we believe our ships will be the safest place in the world. And yet, instead of relaxing the CDC’s requirements and demands, they seem to be redoubling their efforts on the cruise industry.
I seriously doubt we can get a ship out of a US port in July, and August is a risk as well. And all because of inconsistent recommendations from the Centre for Disease Control.
Cruises are supposed to be fun, and for thousands, if not millions of guests, a cruise is as much a social event as it is an entertaining vacation. By restricting nearly all social conventions aboard ships, the CDC considers cruise ships to be nothing more than a ferry that carries passengers from point A to point B. The question is how many cruise lines and how many passengers will be willing to accept this.
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