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Report: Cruises could restart this summer under CDC guidance

The CDC in a letter said it wishes to resume passenger cruises in a way that limits the risk of COVID-19, the USA Today reports.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — People hoping to, once again, take a cruise ship vacation might be able to as early as mid-July, according to USA Today.

The outlet, citing a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the cruise industry, reports spokesperson Caitlin Shockey said cruising could resume depending on cruise companies' compliance with the agency's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order.

Miami Herald reporter Taylor Dolven tweeted a portion of the letter, which mentions a ship could bypass a simulated test voyage with a crew and port workers and sail with paying passengers if 98 percent of its crew and 95 percent of passengers are vaccinated. 

There would remain testing and quarantine for passengers and crew, as well, the USA Today reports.

It remains a question -- and debate -- as to whether so-called vaccine passports would verify that information. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order to ban anything that forces people to prove they've been immunized. Florida lawmakers are working to make his order permanent with SB 2006.

RELATED: CDC's new cruise guidelines could create conflict with Florida's 'no vaccine passports' order

The USA Today says the letter comes following a month of twice-weekly meetings with cruise industry representatives, with one source telling the outlet the industry is cautiously optimistic.

Florida lawmakers recently have been placing additional pressure on the CDC to remove its no-sail order and introduce a new set of safety protocols to allow cruises to once again set sail, citing the economic impact to the state.

Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements, or CRUISE Act, which requires that the CDC revoke its no sail order by July 4th and provide cruise lines with recommendations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 onboard ships. 

It would also establish a "working group" to develop those new sets of recommendations. 

The country's cruise industry has been shut down since March 2020. The CDC has indicated that the order would remain in place until Nov. 1, 2021.

RELATED: Sens. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio introduce legislation to revoke CDC no-sail order

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