Cruise and airline industries look to take off as vaccination effort goes from shortage to surplus


A cruise ship industry group says on Tuesday, Nov. 3, its members are extending the suspension of U.S. sailing operations through the end of the year, just days after the U.S. government effectively lifted its no-sail order despite a global spike in coronavirus infections. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As U.S. coronavirus vaccination efforts switch from vaccine shortage to vaccine surplus, once struggling or dormant industries are looking towards their return to normalcy.

Earlier this week, the CDC announced its commitment to resuming the U.S. cruise line industry in July midsummer by adjusting some of the rules to help speed the process.

The message came in response to outcry from a group of U.S. senators who said some industries got the OK before others.

“I’m very disappointed in the CDC,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said. “We want to open our cruise industry up again but we gotta do it in a safe manner.”

U.S. cruises have been shut down by the pandemic since March 2020.

But it won’t be smooth sailing for all cruise liners. The CDC said crews must be at least 98% vaccinated against the coronavirus and passengers at least 95%.

“The voices of community leaders and the wider cruise community are being heard – and we are very grateful for that,” said Laziza Lambert, a spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association.

Meanwhile, other industries, like airlines, have already taken off.

On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration said it would extend its mask requirement, which also applies in airports and train stations, through Sept. 13. The rule was set to expire on May 11.

TSA officials said the mask rule follows health guidance from the CDC, which recently said that fully vaccinated people can travel safely, but it still recommends that they wear masks and maintain distance from other people.

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