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As movie theaters, amusement parks and other entertainment attractions slowly begin to reopen their doors to the public, cruise liners are wanting a piece of the pie, especially with spring and summer approaching. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, however, has warned them against doing so, as cruises were one of the first indicators last year of how contagious COVID-19 was. Cruise liners are butting heads against this ruling, though they have reason to, as an average of about 160,000 people’s jobs rely on cruise liners being able to run. However, this is the one entertainment business that will have to hang on for a positive CDC ruling before being allowed to run, considering the conditions on cruise ships.

Though cruise liners could utilize other entertainment companies’ methods of safe reopenings, such as limited capacities and heavily sanitizing everything, the fact remains that a ship is not the same as a theme park. Being out on the ocean in a single boat with what still would be a fair amount of people significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus, even if attendees are vaccinated. Especially given that we seem to be helping the pandemic’s numbers slow, to open cruises up with reckless abandon could spell trouble for a recovering world. 

The outrage of cruise liners against the CDC is absolutely justified, as the biggest money-making seasons are right around the corner, and if the CDC continues to deem them unsafe to run, they will miss out on another year of profits. And even though cruise liners are trying to keep employees in business by having them stay on the ships to maintain them, it’s not hard to deny that most of them are still worth billions of dollars and could reasonably survive another season of not being open for the sake of public safety.

Although protocols could be implemented that could make cruise travel more COVID-19 safe, the fact of the matter remains that as a whole, ships are simply too close-quartered to really ensure that another breakout won’t occur. Only when the CDC gives the green light to cruises should they be allowed to reopen with as many COVID-19 prevention measures as they wish. Working in close quarters especially, it might be wise to implement set mealtimes for different groups, organize safe activities and follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines. Again, however, we cannot even begin to consider these things until the CDC gives the go-ahead.

Yes, it is frustrating for cruise companies that are chomping at the bit to reopen. But for the sake of safety, such an activity cannot allow itself to occur until it is wholly safe to do so. The liners must not go against what is recommended by the CDC if they wish to keep tourists safe and help the pandemic as a whole cool down.