CDC drops mask and distancing rules on ships where pax are vaxxed



New CDC guidance enables passengers and crew on ships with 95% vaccination rates to forego wearing masks or physical distancing while onboard.


It is among several updates to the CDC's cruise line restart requirements that gives much more flexibility around masks, distancing and dining to ships that reach the 95% vaccination threshold.


For example, the new guidance recommends -- instead of requires -- many rules around the distancing and seating limitations in restaurants, for example that those ships not offer buffets and other self-service dining options.


The new guidance gives the most flexibility around masks and distancing to ships that reach the 95% vaccination threshold.


But even ships that don't reach the 95% vaccination threshold can designate indoor areas for fully vaccinated passengers and crew where masks and physical distancing are not required, such as in casinos, bars, spas, entertainment venues and dining areas.


Those ships can also allow fully vaccinated passengers and crew to gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing masks, including engaging in extended meal service or beverage consumption.


The CDC this month has relaxed several of the requirements and protocols for vaccinated cruise ships passengers and crew, such as allowing inoculated passengers to board without being tested for Covid. The CDC also recently said that disembarkation testing is only required for cruises of more than four nights.