As the Memorial Day holiday weekend approaches — historically one of the passenger vessel industry's busiest holidays — the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to announce changes to the federal government’s requirements for the wearing of masks by vessel crewmembers and passengers.

PVA wants the (CDC) to align mask wearing requirements with the growing relaxation of mask wearing practices nationwide. PVA said yesterday that the CDC confirmed that it intends to "relax the mask wearing mandate for transportation conveyances." The first step in what PVA says the CDC is describing as a two-step process will be the relaxation of the requirement for vaccinated passengers and crew to wear masks in outdoor spaces. Outdoors, unvaccinated passengers and crew will be “encouraged” to continue to wear masks.

PVA wants the CDC to make the change prior to the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend so that operators have sufficent time to change their mask wearing policies for passengers and crew. The CDC's second step will reportedly deal with indoor spaces.

PVA said that its members are prepared to immediately implement CDC policy changes once they are announced.

"As each day goes by, as states and localities alter their masking policies and 'open up,' more and more passenger vessel customers question and resist the current CDC masking policy," PVA President Colleen Stephens wrote in a May 25 letter to the CDC. "Inaction by the federal government leaves our vessel operators and their crewmembers in an increasingly tenuous situation."

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