Miami-Dade mayor hopes cruises can resume as soon as the summer

MIAMI (WSVN) - The mayor of Miami-Dade County hopes the region’s cruise ship industry could make its return to PortMiami as soon as this summer.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said cruise line companies are in talks with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss what is needed for ships to set sail again.

“We’re very, very hopeful that we’ll see cruising from this port this summer,” said Levine Cava. “I just know that several of the cruise lines are in conversations with the CDC.”

Earlier in April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he would take legal action against the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Biden administration in an effort to get cruises back up and running again.

Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines have scheduled sailings out of Europe and the Caribbean in the meantime, taking the billions of dollars they generate for South Florida with them.

“We’re not loving the idea that the ships are not here. Believe me, we do not,” PortMiami Director Juan Kuryla said. “We understand. They need to operate. They need to get back in service. There really is few places in the world that, I believe, the cruise lines would like to home port more than at PortMiami.”

For the past year, cruise lines have not been allowed to sail out of U.S. ports due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“They need to show the world that cruising is safe, and cruising will be safe,” Kuryla said.

Levine Cava went on to say that safety will be a top priority.

“We back them up 100%,” she said. “We try to bring all of our cruise companies together to speak with one voice because, as a county, we want to be sure that we take the measures necessary to protect our residents, our visitors, our workers.”

In order to ensure the public is safe, officials partnered with Nomi Health to make sure everyone has access to the COVID-19 vaccine, including a pop-up vaccine site at PortMiami.

“Jackson [Health] is phasing out its program, and we requested and were approved to receive the doses that had gone to Jackson,” Levine Cava said.

“Today’s pop-up site comes on the heels of our work to fulfill Mayor Levine Cava’s mission to expand access to COVID testing and solutions all across the county, whether through easy-to-navigate sites or, as with today, by bringing these solutions directly to those who need them most,” said Nomi Health Founder and CEO Mark Newman.

Dalgis Betancourt, a PortMiami employee, admitted to being hesitant following the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but spoke to her family and chose to move forward with receiving a vaccine.

“I was very hesitant, and I didn’t know if I should get one,” she said. “That’s why I was waiting for a long time, but I guess with everything that is happening for all of us to be safe, it’s better for us to have it.”

On Tuesday, the CDC eased their recommendations on mask use. Now, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people can go outside without a mask if in small crowds.

Both those with and without masks may also attend small outdoor gatherings without masks as long as those attending are fully vaccinated.

“However, we continue to recommend masking in crowded outdoor settings and venues,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

If the CDC gave the go-ahead for cruises to resume sailing out of U.S. ports, officials said it could take up to two months for cruise lines to use PortMiami and Port Everglades as their bases once again.

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