Rodger Rees, the director of the Port of Galveston, has asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asking for his help in pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift its moratorium on cruises by the summer.
In an open letter, Rees, along with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Cruise Lines International Association and major cruise lines plead with the CDC to lift the ban that was issued in October. They say the prohibition has put the U.S. cruise industry in limbo.
According to the letter, the CDC has taken no action amid falling COVID case numbers in the U.S., millions of Americans being vaccinated and cruises resuming in other places around the world. The letter also said that cruise ports and cruise lines have put measures in place for safe, sustainable trips.
Rees said in the letter that Galveston’s port is ready. He said the cruise terminal complex has been enhanced to meet CDC standards as outlined in the October 2020 framework for conditional sailings. He said about $100,000 in improvements aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus have been made, such as touchless bathroom fixtures, plexiglass shields in customer service areas, and enhanced air handling systems.
According to Rees, the suspension of cruising from Galveston during the pandemic has resulted in a $1.2 billion loss in direct spending and a reduction of 23,000 jobs, and $1.6 billion in wages statewide.