The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which has had the cruise industry under a "no-sail" order since March 14, extending the order as it nears expiration, has now asked for input from the public and the industry to help make a final decision.
The public comment period, which asks written or online responses to 59 questions and sub-questions about cruise practices and safety, is open until September 21. Since the order is currently set to expire September 30, in practice it means that the order will be extended again to allow consideration of the input received. That will have little impact on the industry; nearly all lines have already announced voluntary extensions to the end of October or beyond.
During the months of the no-sail order, CDC has concentrated on issues of repatriating crew and passengers, a complicated issue since rules have banned use of public transportation and commercial flights for the purpose. The opening of new consultations is taken as an indication that the agency is now ready to deal with moving forward on rules and procedures for resumption.
The comment period is open to all, and can be accessed online. Although the order, and the new rules that will emerge, apply only to cruises starting, stopping or ending in the United States, the U.S. market accounts for more than half of all bookings, CDC's rules will be influential in other countries.