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Port Everglades CEO says cruising “can resume in the United States safely” (!)

FILE PHOTO: Jonathan Daniels, CEO, Port Everglades

PortandTerminal.com, October 20, 2020

Safe cruising needs healthy ports for ships to sail from. Port Everglades is by no means in a position to claim that it is healthy – it is a sick patient in a sick state.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Yesterday Jonathan Daniels, the new CEO at Port Everglades, published an opinion piece in the Sun Sentinel titled “We believe cruising can resume safely in the United States”

In the article Mr. Daniels does two things; one well and the other very poorly.

Daniels successfully outlines the economic importance of cruising to both Port Everglades and the wider community. He also highlights the hardship so many people are feeling due to the layoffs and disruption caused by the halt to cruising in the United States.

“Of the more than 13,000 direct regional jobs supported by businesses at Port Everglades, approximately 6,000 are directly related to the cruise industry. Another 84,000 residents are employed in the local hospitality and tourism industry.”

Where Mr. Daniels fails in his article is to offer convincing reassurance that it is now safe to resume cruising in the United States. Port Everglades may be, as Daniels highlights “…implementing touchless procedures wherever possible, installing additional hand-sanitizing stations, requiring and enforcing the use of facial coverings, encouraging social distancing”. Does anyone truly believe though that these measures along with “adopting the latest guidelines from the CDC and other health organizations worldwide” will prevent further outbreaks on cruise ships at this time?

Attempt after attempt to restart the industry in Europe has ended in failure and COVID-19 infections on board. We simply do not have a handle on controlling this virus yet and as we have seen, cruise ships (especially big ones) are particularly susceptible to on board outbreaks.

All the hand-sanitizing stations in the world will not change the fact that Florida is a coronavirus infection hotspot and Broward County, where Port Everglades is located, is the second most infected county in the state.

“Escalating community spread” of COVID-19 in Florida

Over the past week, there have been an average of 2,958 new cases per day in Florida, an increase of 25 percent from the average two weeks earlier. The Alert Level in Florida is at Orange, indicating that there is “escalating community spread” of the virus.

To have safe cruising you need healthy ports for ships to sail from. Port Everglades is by no means in a position to claim that it is healthy – it is a sick patient in a sick state.

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