WASHINGTON D.C. - Cruise ships are expected to resume operating from U.S. ports in July.
Among the new restrictions placed on the industry will be that all crew and passengers will need to have received Covid vaccinations.
In a letter released mid-lastweek, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said ships can begin sailing if they show that 98 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated.
Since October, cruise operators have been required to perform test cruises carrying volunteers and apply for a certificate before again offering passenger cruises.
"We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the [sail order's] phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities," said Aimee Treffiletti of the CDC.
Additionally, cruise ships will be able to dock at multiple ports within the United States, the CDC said.
Health officials and cruise operators have been conducting twice-weekly meetings, in a bid to develop procedures to safely allow the resumption of cruising.
Under the new agreement, passengers will be able to take a rapid Covid test upon boarding a cruise ship, rather than bringing proof of having a negative test performed by a lab.