PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — The no-sail order for cruise ships expires in just hours and small business that are dependent on the industry are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
What You Need To Know
- The CDC has outlined a plan to get the cruise ship industry going again
- Related: CDC Reopening Plan Calls for 1st Cruises to Sail Without Passengers
- Related: CDC cruise ship guidelines
Small businesses are saying they are glad to finally have some good news and are looking forward to seeing tourism once again.
Since March, businesses at Port Canaveral have been on edge, and Rising Tide Tap & Table Co-Owner Rich Hensel is one of them.
“Get back to business, we can't survive like this,” he said. “Unfortunately we closed for two months and tried to reopen but we had to close again because we weren't getting the business. We have so many regulars in the county, we need that tourism.”
But it's not going to be immediate, there's a conditional order in place by the CDC and full service travel agencies like Travel Box International say passengers shouldn't pack their bags just yet.
“(Cruise companies) have to have mock up those itinerary with no passengers on board to show the CDC they pass those inspections,” says Travel Box International President Mo Noubani.
And with the CDC's new guidelines, it's going to take some time but it's unclear how much time.
According to the CDC, the guidelines will ensure cruise ship operators have adequate health and safety protections along with protocols for crew members while cruise ships build the onboard laboratory to test crew and future passengers.
“They are starting to the process now, but it's going to be more into mid or end of next year,” Noubani said.
Many small businesses won't survive if another shut down happens and owners are keeping fingers crossed that doesn't happen.
“When cruise ships shut down, we shut down too," Hensel said. "We lost 60% of our sales for the year. It's been a struggle to get back."
Although there is no knowing the exact day and time when cruise ships will allow passengers, business owners see this as a step in the right direction. Rising Tide Tap & Table is doing their part to slow the spread and following CDC's guidelines.
“Open back up with a slow start, but we are doing it safe, like social distancing, my staff wearing masks," Hensel said. "We are doing everything right."