JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Important steps towards revival

The cruise industry has taken important steps forward in recent weeks, having adopted mandatory measures to support cruise operations in the Americas.

Submitted to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late last month, these measures set out the core elements of health protocols that will be implemented as part of a phased-in, highly controlled resumption of operations in that region.

In addition to the resumption that has begun under strict protocols in other parts of the world, including Europe, these latest initiatives are an important milestone as we confront COVID-19. They will also support our continuing discussions with governments in Australia, as we plan our own pathway to revival.

Designed to go further than the measures of almost any other travel sector, the core measures include aspects like 100% testing of passengers and crew, physical distancing on board and on shore, mandatory masks for all passengers and crew whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained, ventilation strategies to increase fresh air, risk-based medical response plans tailored for each ship, and strict requirements for the operators of shore excursions.

Here, relative success in stemming community transmission provides an opportunity for a phased and carefully controlled re-entry of cruise ships to offer local cruising to local residents only. This concept would provide protection from outside infection while borders remain closed, and could be extended at the appropriate time to allow interstate or trans-Tasman itineraries.

Though there is still work to be done, CLIA remains busy advocating for our industry and will continue to lobby for a clear pathway towards our revival.

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