U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, sent a letter with colleagues to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID Response Coordinator, urging the Biden administration to be more transparent and timely in their efforts to develop guidance for the resumption of operations for the cruise ship industry. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cruise ship industry has continued to face a strict “No Sail” order, while many other travel related industries safely returned to operations. They also pressed the White House for answers to a number of clarifying questions on current CDC guidelines.
“The cruise industry has faced unique challenges amid this pandemic, and is one of the only industries that is completely precluded from resuming normal operations. This has created a dramatic negative ripple effect on the Florida and Alaskan families, businesses, ports and communities that rely on the cruise industry. If the CDC does not quickly commit to start communicating timely and effective guidance, as well as hold frequent and productive meetings with cruise industry stakeholders, it will have harmful impacts on another peak season for the cruise industry,” the Delegation wrote.
The letter went on to explain their disappointment and frustration with the administration’s failure to prioritize the industry, which contributes to thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue to rural communities throughout Alaska.
“President Biden stated that the United States will have enough vaccine doses for every American adult by the end of May, with a goal of returning to our “new normal” by July 4, 2021. Yet, the Administration has overlooked an entire industry by failing to provide guidance for the safe resumption of cruises. The future of the cruise industry and thousands of good paying jobs at our states’ ports and supporting businesses are now at stake,” they wrote.
The letter concluded with a commitment to assisting the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.
The letter, led by U.S. Senator Rick Scott, was also signed by Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25), Carlos A. Gimenez (R-FL-26), Bill Posey (R-FL-8), John Rutherford (R-FL-4), Maria Salazar (R-FL-27), and Michael Waltz (R-FL-6).