The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an order that requires people to wear masks on public transport, including ships.
From 2nd February, this applies to all travellers into, within, or out of the US, eg, on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares.
The mask requirement also applies to travellers in US transport hubs, such as seaports.
Transmission of the virus through travel has led to—and continues to lead to—interstate and international spread of the virus, CDC said.
Cruise lines must provide adequate notice of the new rule and disembarking any person who refuses to comply. Moreover, guests should be made aware that US Federal law requires wearing a mask on the conveyance and failure to comply constitutes a violation of Federal law.
The cruise lines’ Healthy Sail Panel proposed passengers and crew members wear face masks on cruise ships in September, last year.
For example, Royal Caribbean has specified that face masks will be required on its cruise ships when they return to service.
Specifically, Royal Caribbean said guests should wear face masks in nearly all public areas regardless of physical distancing measures but will not be required to wear face masks in their own staterooms.
There are exceptions, however, such as dining venues, where guests can eat and drink without face masks while seated, provided physical distancing is observed.
All restaurant seating will be arranged to allow for physical distancing, so guests can eat and drink without face masks while seated, and tables and chairs will be disinfected.
Also, guests should not wear masks while engaged in activities that may cause the mask to become wet, like when swimming in our pools, or when participating in strenuous activities, such as jogging, running, or fitness classes at RCL’s Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre.
Face masks will be required at all bars or nightclubs when not seated and actively eating or drinking with your party.
Crew members will wear gloves and masks at all times.
Carnival also now requires guests to wear face masks on company ships.
All guests over the age of two will be required to wear a mask when indoors except when inside their own stateroom, while eating and drinking seated at a table and when using the cardio equipment at the gym and physical distancing is maintained, the company said.
Guests are also required to wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Gaiters and bandanas are not allowed, and face shields are permitted when used with a mask.
These requirements apply during all aspects of the cruise, including embarkation, shore excursions and disembarkation. A limited supply of masks will be available in staterooms after boarding, Carnival said.
Every guest two years of age or older, joining a ship, regardless of method of travel to the ship, is required to take a SARS-CoV-2 test between five days to 24 hours prior to the date of embarkation and must receive a negative result. Additional testing maybe performed at the terminal or on board the vessel.
As for shore excursions, guests will not be allowed off the ship on their own.
During the initial return to sailing, guests will only be allowed to participate in excursions or activities executed and escorted by vetted tour operators who maintain Carnival’s level of COVID-19 controls.
Shoreside visits may be also limited to port areas that have no public access. Self-exploration or non-Carnival sponsored excursions will not be allowed.
Carnival also said that all guests may be required to provide identity information and information about certain activities engaged in during the cruise, so the company can perform contact tracing in the event of any person on board being suspected or confirmed to have, COVID-19.
Various location tracking technologies may be used to assist in the collection of contact tracing information such as wearables, video surveillance, transaction data, and photographs taken during the cruise.