CLIA Australasia MD Joel Katz said extensive new health measures have been outlined to government agencies in detail as the industry responds to COVID-19 and plans a pathway to revival.
He said Australia’s relative success in stemming community transmission of COVID-19 and a layered strategy for the resumption of cruising creates an opportunity for a tightly managed and phased revival of the country’s A$5bn-a-year cruise industry.
Local cruises for locals
‘This would initially involve restricted local cruises for local residents only, with limited passenger numbers, 100% testing of guests and crew and extensive screening and sanitation protocols in place,’ he said.
Under the proposals presented to government agencies, cruises would initially operate within state or national borders while travel restrictions are in place.
Ships and crew would undergo all quarantine procedures and then remain within the Australian safe-zone or ‘bubble.’
Katz said the plan presented to government is extensive and meets or exceeds the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia guidelines.
Key points to the strategy include:
Plans to quarantine ships and crew on return to Australia and for ongoing crew movements
100% pre-boarding health screening and COVID-19 testing for all passengers and crew
Boarding denied to anyone with exposure to COVID-19 or who has recently arrived in Australia
Daily health monitoring and temperature checks on board
Limited passenger numbers and capacity management controls that take into account the size, layout and design of each ship
On-board venue restrictions to comply with social distancing (use of masks as required)
Designated crew to serve in buffets (no self-service)
Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols that meet and exceed all national and state standards for equivalent venues ashore
Staggered embarkation and disembarkation to reduce crowding
Distancing and hygiene protocols within cruise terminals to match those on board
Risk assessments for port visits and shoreside activities