WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and lead sponsor of the Cruise Passenger Protection Act, released the following statement after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced cruise lines would be allowed to resume operations starting November 1 on a conditional basis:
“This order lacks the lasting change needed to right the ship on health and safety aboard cruises, which were Petri dish breeding grounds for the virus at the epicenter of the initial COVID-19 outbreak. Without truly enforceable, long-term, and scientifically-backed upgrades and reforms, I fear the cruise line industry will return to its unacceptable status quo. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket, the Trump administration is once again heeding corporate lobbying and putting profits over people.”
According to a USA TODAY report, the CDC had requested the no-sail order to be extended until February 15, 2021, but changed the date to October 31 after pressure from the White House Task Force.
The Cruise Passenger Protection Act would build on the passenger safety measures signed into law in the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA). Among other provisions, the bill would strengthen a number of critical medical standards aboard cruise ships, including ensuring the presence of a physician to treat any passenger in the event of an emergency, the appropriate number of qualified medical staff to treat the number of passengers on board, and that the passengers are aware of the location of the vessel’s medical facilities and the appropriate steps they should follow during a medical emergency.
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