Published on Thursday, September 17, 2020
Two Florida senators, including former Governor Rick Scott, have tabled a bill to fast track cruise lines' return to service.
Scott and Marco Rubio introduced the Set Sail Safely Act, which calls for the formation of a Maritime Task Force to set out conditions for a return to service.
It would address health, safety, and security issues in association with a committee of private sector representatives.
The industry is vital to Florida's tourism recovery, they say.
'Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. Over the past few months, I've had many conversations with leaders at Florida ports, federal agencies and within the cruise industry about how to ensure the safety of passengers and employees," Scott said.
"As we work to solve the coronavirus and safely reopen our economy, this legislation will support the development of guidelines needed to ensure the safe resumption of our cruise lines."
The Maritime Task Force would comprise officials from several agencies including Customs and Border Protection, the US Coast Guard, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, and the Federal Maritime Commission.
The private sector would be represented by cruise lines and US port operators.
The bill has received support from various organizations including CLIA and Florida Ports Council.
Cruise lines are still under a CDC imposed 'No Sail' restriction until the end of September.
Written by Ray Montgomery, US editor