The CDC issued a mask mandate for passenger vessels on Feb. 1.
American Queen Steamboat Co. and Victory Cruise Lines took that a step further, announcing that a Covid-19 vaccination mandate for guests will go into effect for all sailings beginning July 1, 2021. In other words, you’ll have to get one of the Covid-19 vaccines before you can come aboard. These are domestic cruises. (The vaccination requirement will also apply to shipboard crewmembers and non-shipboard employees across all seven vessels in the AQSC and VCL fleets.)
I applaud this move because it takes all the guesswork out of who is vaccinated and who is not. Who is probably not carrying Covid-19, and who might be hauling the virus around. American Queen did not go into detail about how it was going to monitor this mandate, but my suggestion would be to issue a government (federal or state) card that can be renewed annually that says the holder has gotten the Covid-19 vaccine.
I get it. For some of you, the last thing you need is more government in your life. Forget politics for a moment and think big picture. You figure that as long as you have been vaccinated, you can’t get it from someone else. Are you sure? Apparently, that’s not the way American Queen and its health advisors like Vikand Medical Solutions see it. Bring the chances of contamination as far down as possible by making sure everyone is vaccinated.
Do you want to get on a plane, train or bus with people who haven’t been vaccinated if you have? I don’t. The card could be shown to the TSA agent or Customs agent at the airport, the ticket taker at the Broadway show, or at the stadium. And it’s another form of identification.
It makes good business sense, too. If there’s an outbreak among those not vaccinated, what happens to your boat? Or your theater? There’s also the possibility that putting the responsibility of getting vaccinated on the passengers’ shoulders, will mean lower liability costs for the vessel owner.
American Queen’s CEO and founder John Waggoner said, “Our new vaccination requirement, coupled with comprehensive health and safety protocols and risk-free booking policy, will give our loyal guests another added level of assurance to join us as we return to sailing.”
Yes, John, a new level of security. That sounds right. Who doesn’t want that, especially since Covid-19 has stripped us of our ability to feel as secure as we used to and caused world-wide anxiety for almost a year?
Issuing such a card would be more red tape, I know. But just because something is hard, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it if it helps us return to a more “normal” way of life. More importantly, if it helps save lives.
I’ve got room for it in my wallet, how about you?