Covid-19 confusion is everywhere

The home base of my company, BB Riverboats, is in Newport, Ky., in Campbell County. We operate in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. Each state has their own set of rules on how businesses can restart and operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, my crew has asked me what to do, who to listen to and what rules to follow. And, they ask, how is the company going to execute different rules in different operating areas? As a result, we have coined the phrase “Covid confusion” to refer to this bewildering situation.

Our management team has painstakingly studied the various state and local rules and requirements that we need to comply with during this pandemic and we have spent many hours coming up with plans. To help with this process, the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) has developed and distributed reopening guidelines for its members to use in restarting their businesses. They have also sent these guidelines to state governments to help standardize reopening rules for the passenger vessel industry.

I have been hosting weekly virtual meetings with passenger vessel operators from several states to compare notes and discuss common issues. Nearly everyone has a different set of state rules, requirements and timetables for reopening. The coronavirus confusion started when the federal government passed responsibility for reopening businesses to each state.

For example, Kentucky has issued guidelines, as has Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, along with the Kentucky Restaurant Association. Then there are recommendations from the Coast Guard, the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Campbell County Health Department, the local Alcohol Beverage Control Board, and the city of Newport fire marshall’s office and building inspector. Are you Covid confused yet? I certainly am.

My company is doing everything it can to protect those on board our vessels. Our priority is our crew, customers and the public, and none of us can afford to lose sight of that. We were excited that we were able to operate on Memorial Day to give people a cruise and a small escape from reality. Memorial Day is for those who have sacrificed their lives for us. My son-in-law, staff Sgt. Nick Carnes, gave his life in Afghanistan so that we can enjoy ours in this great nation.

WorkBoat will be presenting a free webinar entitled “Covid-19 and the U.S. Passenger Vessel Industry: Impacts and Steps to Reopen” this Thursday, May 28, 2020.

About the author

Capt. Alan Bernstein

Alan Bernstein, owner of BB Riverboats in Cincinnati, is a licensed master and a former president of the Passenger Vessel Association. He can be reached at 859-292-2449 or abernstein@bbriverboats.com.

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