The Centers for Disease Control on Thursday extended the no-sail order for cruise ships in U.S. waters until October. In making the decision, the agency's order pointed to the 12.5 million coronavirus cases and more than half a million deaths worldwide as of mid-July. The CDC's order also said it was working with the cruise industry to protect the health and safety of crew members, port personnel and passengers.
The order remains in effect until Sept. 30.
The CDC also reported that 80% of cruise ships within U.S. jurisdiction were affected by COVID-19 between March 1 and July 10. Nine ships currently have or are trying to control outbreaks among crew members.
The last cruise passengers left ships in June, but workers remained on board, many without pay, until they could be released and go home. Cruise lines must meet CDC rules and protocols before they are allowed to let workers off their ships at U.S. ports.
The agency helped with the disembarkation of more than 8,800 crew members, including U.S. citizens and residents as of July 10, according to the order.
It's the second time the CDC has extended the no-sail order, originally issued March 14 and then extended on April 15.
Cruise ships had earlier given up on the summer season. Major cruise lines, including Carnival, Cunard, Norwegian, Disney, Celebrity and Holland America, members of the trade group Cruise Lines International Assn., had earlier announced that they wouldn't restart operations at U.S. ports until at least Sept. 15. At the time, the association said companies needed more time to fine-tune safety procedures for passengers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC said it originally took action after outbreaks started in January aboard several cruise ships, including the Diamond Princess, Celebrity Eclipse, the Disney Wonder and the Coral Princess.