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New York Senator Calls for Cruise Travelers' Bill of Rights

New York Senator Calls for Cruise Travelers' Bill of Rights

After last month's Carnival cruise disaster, one senator wants to create a bill of rights

Last month's horrific Carnival Cruise meltdown may make you never want to go on a cruise again, even if Paula Deen's name is tagged on with Morimoto's (it hasn't happened, but it might?), but a certain senator has got you covered.

Senator Charles Schumer is calling for a passenger's bill of rights in the cruise industry, to guarantee anyone spending money and time that they won't get stuck out at sea sans power, or if they do, there's a proper way to get a refund or compensation.

According to CBS, Schumer wants to give passengers six guarantees, where all ships would provide sanitary conditions, backup power, a medical staff on board for emergencies, and the right to a full refund.

"It can be scary to watch the shore drift away as you’re hundreds of miles out to sea. But to be out at sea without access to a doctor, electricity, toilet facilities, that’s unconscionable," Schumer reportedly said. "If we can get this passenger bill of rights done, passengers can breathe a sigh of relief that they know that the trip will be safe and if, God forbid, there’s emergencies, that they will be taken care of in the right way."

The bill of rights would then allow passengers to obtain refunds if any mechanical, electrical, or plumbing issues occur. Unfortunately, it probably won't cover horrific cruise food, but that norovirus outbreak last week? Most definitely.


Senate Committee Holds Hearing on The State of Travel and Tourism During COVID-19 Pandemic

Capitol Building, Washington D.C. (photo via Huiyi Lee / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Travel and tourism industry stakeholders were on Capitol Hill to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on the travel industry.

This was the first hearing for the newly formed U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion and was led by Chairwoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Ranking Member Rick Scott (R-FL).

“The State of Travel and Tourism During COVID” hearing included testimony from industry leaders, including Steve Hill, CEO and President, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Jorge Perez, Regional Portfolio President, MGM Resorts International Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy, U.S. Travel Association.

“In my state of Nevada, travel and tourism-related industries are drivers of job creation and economic growth. The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges for the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries in Nevada and across our nation,” said Rosen in opening statements. “Ranking Member Scott and I are proud to use this Subcommittee’s inaugural hearing as an opportunity to shine a light on the issues that are impacting these industries, as well as discuss solutions for supporting and revitalizing America’s travel and tourism industries moving forward.”

Scott also pledged his support.

“During my time as Governor of Florida, the Sunshine State welcomed hundreds of millions of visitors, shattering tourism records. Tourism supports our communities and small businesses, fuels job growth, and is critical to the economic success of our states and nation. I will never stop fighting to support our tourism industry in Florida and across the United States, and look forward to hearing from industry leaders on how we can support their success.”

During testimony, industry leaders shared their concerns over the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the importance of a clear path forward.

In opening statements, Barnes listed four key priorities to restore travel demand, accelerate rehiring in the travel sector and shorten the timeline for recovery.

She called for the safe and quick reopening of international travel the approval of clear guidance by the CDC to safely restart professional meetings and events the enactment by Congress of the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act to spur incremental demand and accelerate rehiring and the provision of temporary emergency funding by Congress for Brand USA to welcome visitors back to the U.S.

Barnes noted that travel and tourism need to be a priority and that, while things are looking up, a recovery is not inevitable.

“Low-to-middle income families have been hardest hit by the pandemic and research shows they are less likely to travel in the next year,” Barnes said. “Business meetings, conventions and events are still severely restricted in many states, and this sector—which also happens to be the largest revenue generator and job creator—is projected to take four years to recover. And, with our borders still closed to much of the world, international travel to the U.S. will take more than five years to return to pre-pandemic levels—and with the uncertainty around reopening, it could be even longer.”

She also noted that even bringing back a small amount of international travel could have a big impact.

“If international travel from the top inbound markets (such as the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union), can reach an average of just 40 percent of 2019 levels by the end of 2021, we can restore an additional 225,000 jobs and $30 billion in travel exports this year alone,” Barnes testified. “Even small steps will go a long way. For example, if the U.S. can quickly establish a public health corridor between the U.S. and the U.K.—while avoiding quarantines upon arrival— it could add 1.9 million arrivals and $4.4 billion in spending in 2021 alone.”

MGM’s Perez pointed out that there is still a long way to go.

“International visitation is a big factor both from a business travel and leisure travel perspective,” said Perez. “International travel has not really started to recover at this point.”

Barnes also pointed out that opening international travel in July could be a game-changer.

“We can shorten the timeline of recovery if we are able to reopen international travel by July,” she added.

Passports, wallet and money (photo via volgariver / Getty Images)

One of the big issues for the industry is a clear path forward.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) noted that the Protecting Tourism in the United States Act calls for the commerce department and affiliated agencies to develop a plan to help the tourism industry to recover.

Senator Dan Sullivan(R-AK) also pointed to the Visit America Act that would establish a new Cabinet-level position, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism within the Commerce Department, who would give voice to a national strategy to bring tourism back. Specifically, the bill calls for the development of a 10-year travel and tourism strategy with the goal of achieving, by 2028, 116 million annual international visitors to the United States and $445 billion in travel exports.

In later testimony, Barnes reiterated the importance of a national strategy for reopening travel and noted that there is a hesitancy from the administration to put forth a plan.

“We have heard that data and science should lead the way, and we agree,” she said. “Other countries, our competition really, are already contemplating [reopening], and are putting out timelines. We need a timeline first and foremost…We need to find a path. We need clear benchmarks and clarity. We want to welcome travelers back to the U.S.”

The importance of developing new infrastructure was also raised during the hearing. Members of the committee brought up the opportunity to develop new systems in places such as airports specific to the pandemic.

“We think that there is a lot of good that can be done with biometric touchless solutions that you can opt into and additional layers within the airport,” said Barnes. “We very much support anything that can help continue health and safety.”

The committee also discussed the importance of passing an infrastructure bill for ports, bridges, roads, airports and more.

“All modes of transportation are critical in order to allow our industry to recover and thrive in the future,” said Hill. “A national travel infrastructure strategy is critical and funding it through an infrastructure package is equally important.”

Barnes echoed the calls for a national strategy.

“If we have a system to move freight, we should also have the funding mechanism to move people,” she said. “Large hub infrastructure for airports is also critically important as is investing in high-speed rail and hyperloop and also in electric vehicle technology infrastructure. As we think about the ‘Great American Road Trip,” we should think about the “Green American Road Trip” and how infrastructure, if you are going to drive from Florida to California or New York to Washington, how you can do that in a sustainable way.”

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) asked about the rebuilding of confidence in the industry.

Las Vegas Tourism’s Hill highlighted that the confidence of both business and leisure travelers is critical.

“We are seeing that, as people get vaccinated their confidence returns. The vaccination process is just exceptionally important,” he said. “Getting past the health crisis is what will really restore confidence. Frankly, the messaging from our elected officials will too. There needs to be consistency there.

“It is important to have communicated the need to be careful, safe and healthy,” Hill added. “But messaging around the fact that it is safe to get out there and travel is important as well.”


Food Is Not a Prop for Senator Jessica Ramos. It’s a Platform.

The New York State lawmaker has made a name by leading food causes, speaking up for street vendors, farm workers and the many restaurants in her Queens district.

Jessica Ramos was born and raised in the 13th State Senate District in Queens, which she has represented since 2019. Credit. Jackie Molloy for The New York Times

Last spring, when long lines at food pantries first began to form in Queens — where the coronavirus struck harder than almost anywhere else in the country — Jessica Ramos, a New York state senator, knew whom to call to feed her neighbors.

It wasn’t the thousands of family-run restaurants that define her district, whose biryani and enchiladas she so proudly promotes on Twitter, or even its street vendors, whose right to work she often steps in to defend. It wasn’t even the hospitality unions she worked for in her 20s.

It was Maureen Torrey, a farmer in the Western New York village of Elba, who had vocally opposed one of Ms. Ramos’s most consequential bills to date — the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, a law some of her colleagues in Albany are still working to repeal.

The 2019 bill, which passed in her first year in office, gave New York farmworkers the right to unemployment benefits and overtime pay, an expensive shift in an industry where 72-hour work weeks can be the norm, said Ms. Torrey, whose family produces vegetables and milk on more than 10,000 acres.

Ms. Torrey has since had to scale back her work force and retool the farm’s economics. Yet she didn’t hesitate to send a truckload of free food down to Queens for 12 straight weeks last year.

Somehow, Ms. Ramos — an outspoken young member of the Democratic Party’s powerful progressive wing — had impressed everyone on a 2019 visit to Elba to talk about the bill.

“She wasn’t afraid to get dirty,” said Ms. Torrey, recalling how a crowd of 200 farmhands gathered to talk to the senator in a packing shed, then took her into the mucky spring fields to plant onions.

“They were like, ‘What is this city girl doing trying to tell me how to run my farm?’” said Ms. Ramos, 35, a first-generation Colombian-American who represents the diverse, densely populated 13th Senate district where she grew up. “Yes, I am a city girl, but I eat food and so do my neighbors, and I care about food a great deal.”

Food policy is rarely among the hot-button issues that propel political careers. When food does show up, it’s usually on campaign stops, where candidates make a show of eating untoasted bagels or dirty-water hot dogs.

But for Ms. Ramos, who once considered attending culinary school and is now a member of the Senate’s agricultural committee, food is not a prop. It’s a political platform.

She has fought for legalizing the e-bikes used by food-delivery workers, and helped lead the April passage of a $2.1 billion fund to aid workers ineligible for other pandemic relief, many of whom work in the food industry. She helped teachers finance a farming-education program at an elementary school, and ran a recent hearing that brought together farmers and city leaders from across the state to address issues like hunger, health and helping struggling farms.

Most of her pet projects are on behalf of the people she represents, Ms. Ramos said. According to research from the state comptroller, her district is home to the largest percentage of New York City’s food work force. More than 24,000 food workers live in just three of her neighborhoods: Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Many are immigrants some are undocumented, as Ms. Ramos’s mother once was. Even before the pandemic, Ms. Ramos said, these workers were overlooked, underpaid and underserved by all levels of government.

Yet her focus also reflects her passions, said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade group for restaurants, bars, hotels and other businesses related to food service.

“She is really such a foodie,” Mr. Rigie said. So much so that she was featured in a New York magazine food column called “Grub Street Diet.”(Her recounting of everything she ate over four days was more exciting than most people’s entire culinary year.)

What to Cook Right Now

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the coming days. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • Do not miss Yotam Ottolenghi’s incredible soba noodles with ginger broth and crunchy ginger. for fungi is a treat, and it pairs beautifully with fried snapper with Creole sauce.
    • Try Ali Slagle’s salad pizza with white beans, arugula and pickled peppers, inspired by a California Pizza Kitchen classic.
    • Alexa Weibel’s modern take on macaroni salad, enlivened by lemon and herbs, pairs really nicely with oven-fried chicken.
    • A dollop of burrata does the heavy lifting in Sarah Copeland’s simple recipe for spaghetti with garlic-chile oil.

    Mr. Rigie’s organization is often directly at odds with Ms. Ramos on thorny issues facing the industry — she supports legalizing street vending across the state, and eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped employees — but he still counts himself a fan. “I love Jessica,” he said.

    Part of the reason is their shared appreciation for restaurants, but also how quickly she came to their aid. “When the pandemic hit, she was really just out there on the front lines fighting for people in the food industry,” Mr. Rigie said.

    Last fall, she helped organize protests against confusing state coronavirus rules that have closed restaurants or required them to pay steep fines. “It was a shakedown,” said Ms. Ramos, who contended that inspectors were deliberately picking on smaller businesses that couldn’t fight them in court.

    In February, she sharply urged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to allow vaccinations for food workers who had never stopped going to work. (“Get out of your billionaire bubble, sir,” she tweeted.)

    In an email response to The New York Times, Rich Azzopardi, the governor’s senior adviser, rejected her claim that Mr. Cuomo is out of touch: “That type of false, threadbare, and calorie-free rhetoric is eye rolling in normal times, but even worse during a pandemic — though I suppose punching up and hoping the media notices is an easy way to lift your profile.”

    It was not the first time she tangled with Mr. Cuomo over food workers’ rights. In 2019, the governor delayed passage of the bipartisan bill she spearheaded to legalize the e-bikes used by delivery workers. A recent article in The New Yorker reported that “according to insiders, the underlying reason was the Governor’s hostility toward Ramos, a rising star in state politics.”

    Ms. Ramos has long said her goal is not a long career in politics, but “to make waves,” as she put it in a 2020 profile in the political magazine City & State. (In the accompanying photograph, Ms. Ramos was shown happily eating a frozen dessert.)

    Ms. Ramos is still largely focused on her district. Over the past year, she has gone door-to-door helping restaurant owners to navigate reopening and to get their streets closed for outdoor dining.

    One of those constituents was Fernando Cando, the owner of the Ecuadorean restaurant Leticias, in Corona. “I called four different people, and she’s the only one who wrote back,” Mr. Cando said.

    By the end of their February meeting over guatita tacos and roast pig with fava beans and corn, they were making plans to get Mr. Cando to the local farmers’ market for a cooking demonstration.

    “I love that idea,” said Ms. Ramos, gesturing with a crisp-skinned rib. “Local chefs, sharing our food. Showing our community how to eat healthy from local farmers.”

    That Ms. Ramos would simultaneously support owners, workers and diners does not surprise Marcos Muñoz, her best friend since high school.

    Mr. Muñoz, who owns a Queens restaurant called Mojitos, said one of Ms. Ramos’s most notable traits as both a person and a politician is being equitable. “She wants everyone to have a plate of food on their table,” Mr. Muñoz said.

    Activism was instilled in Ms. Ramos by her parents, she said, who emphasized the importance of organized labor and taking care of those with less. They also taught her to respect farmers like her grandparents. “I always grew up hearing about the campesinos,” she said, using a Spanish word that roughly means small farmer or farmworker.

    By grade school, she was reciting 50-year-old speeches by Colombian political activists. She was also cooking dinner — her parents had divorced, and her mother worked long hours as a seamstress — inspired by Julia Child’s cooking shows.

    Her father would take her along to political meetings and to restaurants. She loved both. “Growing up, it felt like my dad knew every restaurant owner,” Ms. Ramos said. “For me, Sundays were extremely special because my friends and family would go out to a bakery or restaurant.”

    Ms. Ramos now likes to show many of those same places to her two young sons, colleagues, lobbying groups and food writers, using her favorite haunts for Colombian hot dogs or Tibetan momos as a way to lure dollars and attention to her district.

    One food crawl for friends at City Hall — where she worked in communications until she began running for office in 2017 — figured prominently in an official proclamation that Mayor Bill de Blasio gave her when she left the job.

    “Jessica will sometimes offer a few gently expressed ideas on food, where to get it, where the best places are, and why what you are eating isn’t up to her standard,” he wrote. “Our advice: If you are going to hang with Jessica be sure to bring your arepa A-game.”


    Growing Frustration

    There are positive signs for resuming cruises coming from everywhere at the moment as the vaccine rollout continues successfully. The UK has already set specific dates on when domestic cruises can return. Many are wondering what about the U.S.

    There is no clear answer, there have been rumors that the Biden administration is thinking about limited travel from mid-May. However, nothing officially has been announced.

    Meanwhile, cruise lines are starting to lose hope, it seems. We’ve already started seeing a shift to new homeports outside the U.S., such as Royal Caribbean out of the Bahamas and Israel, Celebrity Cruises out of St. Maarten, and Crystal Cruises also out of the Bahamas. Could this be Plan B for the cruise lines? We’ll see in the coming weeks and months.

    Miami-Dade Mayor is also pushing towards a cruise restart after sending a letter to Dr. Walensky requesting a meeting. Major cruise ports such as PortMiami need cruising to restart. In Miami-Dade alone, cruise industry activity generates approximately $7 billion and 40,000 jobs annually.

    Cruise Hive will continue to keep readers updated on the situations in the United States on the resumptions of cruise operations. For now, Norwegian Cruise Line has already suspended operations until July, Carnival Cruise Line until June, and Royal Caribbean also until June.

    EXPERT CRUISE TIPS & NEWS!

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    Supreme Court says Google’s copying of Oracle-owned code was fair use.

    The Supreme Court on Monday sided with Google in a long-running copyright dispute with Oracle over software used to run most of the world’s smartphones. The 6-to-2 ruling, which resolved what Google had called “the copyright case of the decade,” spared the company from having to face claims from Oracle for billions of dollars in damages.

    The case, Google v. Oracle America, No. 18-956, concerned Google’s reliance on aspects of Java, a programming language, in its Android operating system. Oracle, which acquired Java in 2010 when it bought Sun Microsystems, said that using parts of Java without permission amounted to copyright infringement.

    Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the majority, said that Google was protected by the “fair use” exception to copyright protections, Adam Liptak reports for The New York Times.

    When the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, it said it would answer two questions: whether the 11,000 lines of software code at issue were copyrightable and, if they were, whether Google’s use of them was subject to the fair-use exception.

    Justice Breyer answered only the second question.

    “Given the rapidly changing technological, economic and business-related circumstances, we believe we should not answer more than is necessary to resolve the parties’ dispute,” he wrote. “We shall assume, but purely for argument’s sake, that” the code “falls within the definition of that which can be copyrighted.”

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the majority opinion. Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the case, which was argued before she joined the court.


    New York lawmakers approve bill to strip Cuomo’s pandemic-era powers

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke during a news conference, Wednesday, in Albany, N.Y.

    New York lawmakers today took the first step toward repealing pandemic-era emergency powers afforded to scandal-plagued Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    The Senate passed a bill 43-20 to revoke temporary powers given to Cuomo in March that allowed him to supersede the legislature, as well as local laws, to issue hundreds of sweeping emergency directives on everything from closing businesses and schools to mandating the use of masks. The Assembly is expected to pass a similar bill today, sending the legislation to the governor, who is expected to sign the measure after saying he helped negotiate it.

    The rebuke from lawmakers, where Democrats hold a supermajority in both chambers, follows public outcry over sexual-harassment claims by three women against Cuomo and allegations that his administration deliberately covered up nursing-home deaths in the state.

    A growing list of state lawmakers, including in his own Democratic party, have called for Cuomo&rsquos resignation. The third-term governor on Wednesday apologized for making women feel &ldquouncomfortable,&rdquo but refused to step down.

    DISPUTED ACCOUNT

    Earlier this week, Cuomo said he had brokered a deal with lawmakers to focus just on curbing new directives. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a fellow Democrat, disputed Cuomo&rsquos account and said lawmakers didn&rsquot work with the governor to cut a deal.

    Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, during a floor vote to revoke Cuomo&rsquos executive powers, said the governor lied to the public and was not involved in negotiations. Asked if he was bothered by the lie, Gianaris said: &ldquoThere is so much that this governor has done that I&rsquom bothered by.&rdquo

    Asked if he trusts the governor, Gianaris said: &ldquoI haven&rsquot trusted this governor in a long time.&rdquo

    Under the new measure, the governor cannot issue any new orders. However, directives already in place can stand and even be altered with approval by the legislature.

    The legislation, sponsored by Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, would require Cuomo to issue a notice five days before extending or modifying any directives. The Legislature, or local municipality if applicable, would review the order. The Legislature can terminate the directives at any time and no directive could be acted on unless the governor has responded to all comments from relevant legislative committee chairs, or municipal entities, according to the bill.

    GROWING TENSION

    Currently, only the governor may declare and end a state of emergency.

    &ldquoFor the first time ever, we are adding a power for the Legislature to nullify a state of emergency,&rdquo Gianaris said.

    The bill also would require Cuomo to publicly post all information justifying emergency directives online in a searchable format.

    But Republican lawmakers argued that the bill doesn&rsquot fully revoke Cuomo&rsquos powers, and it allows previous directives to continue. They also said the measure should have an expiration date.

    &ldquoLet&rsquos be clear about what this bill actually does and stop putting lipstick on a pig,&rdquo Republican Assemblyman Michael Lawler said on the floor.

    Senator Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican, said his no vote was &ldquonot about Andrew Cuomo the person.&rdquo

    &ldquoThis is about the Senate and the Assembly having a say with respect to what happens with their constituents back home,&rdquo he said. &ldquoOne-party rule is one thing. One-man rule is entirely another.&rdquo

    CRISIS RESPONSE

    The emergency powers were set to expire on April 30, but as the pandemic wore on, lawmakers bristled at Cuomo&rsquos growing authority. Republicans introduced a number of measures to strip Cuomo&rsquos emergency powers, but they had failed to take hold with enough of the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers worried that revoking his authority would affect the state&rsquos ability to quickly respond to the health crisis.

    Democrats&rsquo united push to revoke Cuomo&rsquos powers highlights growing tension against the governor among members of his own party. The move comes just four weeks until the state budget deadline, threatening to impede Cuomo&rsquos agenda.

    Calls to pull back Cuomo&rsquos powers increased after a Jan. 28 report from Attorney General Letitia James said that more nursing-home residents died from the virus than the state Health Department had reported. A top Cuomo aide later admitted that the state withheld the data from state lawmakers while it was being investigated by the federal government. On Thursday, top advisers to the governor confirmed they deliberately pushed state health officials to alter a public report with data showing that more nursing-home residents died from Covid than the administration had acknowledged.

    &ldquoWhile early versions of the report included out-of-facility deaths, the Covid task force was not satisfied that the data had been verified against hospital data and so the final report used only data for in- facility deaths, which was disclosed in the report,&rdquo state Health Department spokesperson Gary Holmes, said in a statement. &ldquoDOH was comfortable with the final report.&rdquo

    On Thursday, one of the governor&rsquos accusers, former aide Charlotte Bennett said in an interview with CBS News that the governor propositioned her and asked if a past sexual trauma continued to affect her intimate relationships, an exchange that left her &ldquoterrified.&rdquo

    The uproar over the various allegations has taken a toll. Cuomo&rsquos approval rating dropped to 45% in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, from 72% in May 2020. While 59% say he should not seek a fourth term as governor, 55% of New York voters say Cuomo should not resign, as numerous Democrats in the Legislature have called on him to do.

    Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.


    New York Bill Would Let the State Put People in Detention if Deemed a 'Significant Threat to Public Health'

    New York lawmakers are mulling a bill that would allow the state to detain anyone carrying or suspected of carrying a contagious disease that makes them a "significant threat to public health."

    Democratic Assemblyman N. Nick Perry of New York's 58th District spearheaded Bill A416, which holds that the government may "order the removal and/or detention of such a person or of a group of such persons" in a "medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises designated by the governor or his or her delegee." A confirmed carrier would be released only after he or she is no longer contagious, and a suspected carrier could be set free only when the government proves that he or she "is not infected with or has not been exposed to such a disease."

    Those who may have been in contact with the alleged carriers may also be detained and released when they test negative for the malady in question, or if the suspected carrier with whom they interacted is deemed to be negative.

    The bill's language is noticeably vague in defining the parameters around disease type, leaving the government wide latitude in conducting its risk analysis. Should it pass, Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be the first state leader to have that power at his disposal. The two-term Democrat has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with an array of inflexible regulations, from what food bars can serve if they'd like to stay open to how hospitals are allowed to vaccinate New Yorkers.

    Perry defended his bill on Twitter. "I am an American who understands our Constitution is sacred, and provides us with the right to agree or disagree, and hold different positions on issues that may relate to our civil and constitutional rights," he wrote. The legislation was originally introduced during the 2015-16 session in response to the Ebola virus.

    "This bill hasn't been actively pushed for passage because the Ebola threat was ended thanks to a vaccine," Perry continued. "However, many learned scientists believe that the likelihood of such a deadly pandemic is still real, and somewhere in the future there maybe [sic] the need for people to be protected from a person or persons carrying a very deadly and transmittable virus."

    It's difficult to believe that the bill's reintroduction didn't come specifically in response to COVID-19. Though it's a serious virus, it is also no Ebola, which carries an average case fatality rate of 50 percent, with some outbreaks reaching as high as 90 percent.

    It's also difficult to believe that the bill in practice would not "take away, or violate any rights, or [sic] liberties that all Americans are entitled to under our constitution, either state or federal," as Perry claims. Though he presents his bill as a last-stop measure for a pandemic on par with Ebola, the vagueness of its approach gives the state a great deal of discretion in locking people up who might have some sort of unnamed illness, as well as people who merely interacted with someone who might have that illness.

    That's especially misguided when considering that prisons and jails have been a hotbed for COVID-19, with U.S. correctional institutions recently surpassing 500,000 cases.

    2020 was a big year for testing the limits of government power. Americans were made aware of how inefficacious certain government regulations and bureaucratic hurdles are while also dealing with widespread business closures that likely have a negligible impact on public health. At the same time, much of the country seemed to collectively question government overzealousness in the criminal justice system, with renewed calls for reform. Assemblyman Perry aligns himself with those latter advocates, though it appears he does not see how his most recent bill might be incompatible.


    Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO: CDC guidelines for cruises are ‘stupid’

    Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio tells ‘Your World with Neil Cavuto’ the CDC is ‘trying to prevent’ people from cruising and he’s ‘had it’ with their guidelines.

    This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 7, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, what a piece of work.

    Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."

    You know how this goes. When we talk about economic numbers, there are the expectations, and then the reality, the expectations that, last month, we are going to see maybe a million or more jobs added to the economy. Turned out to be about 266,000, which certainly are not that bad.

    We didn't expect the unemployment rate to inch up, but it did to 6.1 percent. It's still a lot lower than the nearly 15 percent it was at, at the height of the pandemic. But it's raised a whole lot of questions about whether those numbers are being held back by benefits that are keeping people at home, rather than looking for work.

    We're going to be exploring that in great detail, but first to Blake Burman on how the White House is playing all of this -- Blake.

    BLAKE BURMAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Neil.

    Over here at the White House, they're kind of making a twofold argument.

    They say, look, as it relates to this past month, it is just one data point, they say. Don't look at one month in particular. Instead, we should be looking at the past three months, the first three months under the Biden administration, which they note have averaged 500,000 jobs, more than that, per month.

    So that's one way that they are putting this. The second thing that they are pointing to is continued month-over-month job growth. And the president today said, in his belief, that it shows that the American Rescue Plan is working, and the president continued to call for more spending.

    JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American Rescue Plan is just that, a rescue plan. It's to get us back to where we were. But that's not nearly enough. We have to build back better. That's why we need the American Jobs Plan I proposed.

    BURMAN: But, Neil, as you mentioned, the White House has also been facing questions today about the $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit, whether it's acting as a hindrance to job growth.

    And here's what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out and said today. they said that should be scrapped -- quote -- "The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market. We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our work force issues and the very real threat unfilled positions poses to our economic recovery from the pandemic."

    Now, President Biden was asked about this today. He said he does not believe that has had a measurable impact. Here was the Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen.

    JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Starting up an economy again, trying to get it back on track after a pandemic, in which there are a lot of supply bottlenecks, is going to be, I think, a bumpy process.

    But I really don't think the major factor is the extra unemployment.

    BURMAN: Neil, according to the numbers that the Labor Department put out today, of those who identified as unemployed, 43 percent of them said they have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks in a row -- Neil.

    CAVUTO: Wow. That is an issue of.

    Blake, thank you very, very much.

    Well, you can talk to any businessman or woman. You can talk to any politician hearing their lament that this has been going on a while right now. And the irony for a lot of these businesses is, their business is booming. They can't find workers.

    How many times have we heard it on this very show? Take a look.

    CLEVE MASH, CO-OWNER, PAPICHULO TACOS: If you're getting $600 for free, tax-free, why would you want to go to work for 40 hours a week? Whether you're making $100 more, you're still working the 40 hours.

    MASH: So, it just -- it doesn't make any practical sense.

    JACK HARTUNG, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL: If we need to raise our rates, Neil, we will.

    We already pay well above minimum wage. Our average starting wage is in the $12-ish, $12 to $13 range.

    GOV. GREG GIANFORTE (R-MT): Here's the reality. With the supplemental federal benefits, people could make more money staying home than going back to work. And you get what you incent.

    CAVUTO: So, is now the time just to stop those extra benefits? They all started with a wonderful intention. Things were pretty bad a few months ago and it looked like they could linger a while. That is hardly the case right now.

    So let's get right to it with Jenna Arnold, Democratic strategist. We have got Kathryn Rooney Vera, the Bulltick Capital Markets chief strategist, last, but not least, Inez Stepman, Independent Women's Forum.

    Inez, to you on stopping these extra federal benefits, the $300 ones added to the state benefits, as the Montana governor is proposing. What do you think?

    INEZ STEPMAN, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: Sure.

    And he's not wasting that money. He is instead turning it into bonuses for people who are going back to work, I mean, the irony of this, of course, is that we should have a booming economy finally.

    Thankfully, we are coming out of this pandemic, thanks to a great vaccine rollout that started under President Trump, was continued under President Biden. We are finally coming out of this. And we are climbing out of an economic hole, only for small businesses to confront this labor shortage, because they are having difficulty getting people to work when the unemployment benefits are so high.

    And restauranteurs in New York talked to The New York Post about this as well. They're having difficulty staffing up even at 50 percent capacity.

    When it goes back to 100 percent capacity in restaurants, they are going to have an even harder time.

    So, this is really an extra wrench being thrown in at small businesses in a time where they really need to quickly get back on their feet after what's been a very, very difficult year-and-a-half.

    CAVUTO: You know, if you think about it, Jenna Arnold, what the Montana governor was saying, I will pay you 1,200 bucks, the equivalent of four months of these extra federal benefits, to land that job.

    And a number of Democratic politicians say, that's not a bad idea. What do you think?

    JENNA ARNOLD, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think it's a bad idea, either.

    But, Neil, nice to see you again.

    ARNOLD: I do think it is a reflection of the sad state of affairs of our economy that a $600 stimulus check is more than folks are making in a 40- hour workweek.

    I think the bigger question we should be asking is exactly how we're compensating Americans for their hard-earned time. And so, when I think about what it is that we need to do as we step into this next chapter of the country, of the economy, as Janet Yellen said, it's going to be a bumpy road ahead.

    But it's really important that we collectively start to create value by supporting each other. And I would ask, not just small businesses, but the Amazons of the world, what are we doing about minimum wage? Or what are we doing about minimum wage, plus a dollar?

    God forbid that we actually talk about paying our hourly workers more money, when they barely are able to keep lights on.

    CAVUTO: All right, well, in the case of Amazon, they are at $20, and north of that, as is Walmart, on average, now.

    But leaving that aside, Kathryn, one of the things I have noticed is that, with these benefits all combined, that is, stimulus payments and the state unemployment, then the added federal benefit of $300, it is the equivalent of around $21 to $22 an hour.

    You tell a restaurant owner or a small business owner to compete with that, he can't. And that's the problem.

    KATHRYN ROONEY VERA, BULLTICK CAPITAL MARKETS HOLDINGS: No, he won't compete with that.

    And if he or she does try to compete with that, what they will end up doing is cutting back their employees' hours. And I will address Jenna's point. I think it's not the role of the government to compensate American workers for their -- for their hard work. It's the government's job to stay out of the way of private enterprise, so that they can produce enough revenue to continue to hire workers.

    In this case, just to put numbers on it -- as an economist, I like to do that, Neil -- we're back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of job openings.

    There are 7.4 million jobs available right now in the U.S. economy. Last month, only 266,000 of those jobs were filled.

    And that's not just because people are still concerned about the pandemic.

    And, eventually, that will go away. So, part of this, I think, is temporary. Especially these more attractive wages, because wages are going higher, will tantalize people back into the job force.

    But it's unequivocally a fact that, when you have a top-off benefit -- and that's $300, in addition to unemployment benefits per week -- as you said, that adds up to about $22 per hour -- that's enormously incentivizing to not return to the labor force.

    And we have an economy, Neil, that's $25 trillion in debt. We have a fiscal deficit that is 20 percent -- is 20 percent of GDP, 20 percent of GDP, and

    $6 trillion in additional stimulus spending only over the past 12 months, with not even a discussion of retracing any of that additional $6 trillion of deficit and debt-financed spending.

    To the contrary, Neil, we're talking about more spending. This is egregious and it's very worrisome.

    ROONEY VERA: At a minimum, it's inflationary. It's devastating for our grandchildren.

    CAVUTO: All right, well, it's a debate for the future, I guess. And I want to thank you all for that.

    No debating what could happen this weekend to make it all a moot point. A rocket could fall on our heads and end it all.

    CAVUTO: Why people are fearing that -- after this.

    CAVUTO: All right, they don't know exactly where this errant rocket will land. They just know that it will happen this weekend. And chances are, with the Earth 70 percent water, most statisticians say that means it would land somewhere on water, and you don't have to worry about it on land.

    But here's the problem with that theory. It's so big all bets are off. And its trajectory coming into the atmosphere could be so wild that guessing where it ends up, well, is anyone's guess.

    But to show you how big a deal this is, this is roughly 100 feet long. This rocket is 100 feet long, typical 18-wheeler, about 70 to 80 feet long. And it's a lot heavier than that, I mean, maybe up to 10 times heavier than that. And it's coming into the Earth here.

    Now, this is going to happen this weekend. We're told that it could happen any time between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. tomorrow. No, they're not saying that, but that's just when my Saturday show is on.

    CAVUTO: So, I thought I would scare you into watching it, which is very tacky. And I apologize for that.

    But I do want to bring Michio Kaku in here, the theoretical physics professor, author of "The God Equation."

    And I think, Michio, I would agree that maybe only God knows exactly where this thing will land. Are you worried it's going to land on a populated area?

    MICHIO KAKU, THEORETICAL PHYSICS PROFESSOR: Well, this is the second, the second rocket launched by the Chinese that is wildly swinging uncontrollably.

    Last year, it landed in the Atlantic Ocean in parts of Africa. So who knows where it's going to land? But just remember that it's traveling at 18,000 miles per hour. That's 25 times the speed of sound, and it can whip around the Earth within just 90 minutes.

    So, we in New York City are actually in the crosshairs of this satellite.

    Anywhere from as far north as New York City, as far south as New Zealand, these cities are in the crosshairs of this device, which is tumbling out of control.

    CAVUTO: You know what I didn't understand? The Chinese reaction has been, what -- we don't see any problem here. There are no apologies for it or concerns about it.

    And, furthermore, they have two more planned launches using this same technology, where this could happen again and again.

    I'm wondering, what are they doing to help the world figure this out? Or do they care?

    KAKU: You know, for the past 30 years, the United States and Russia have deliberately planned deorbiting their booster rockets, so that they don't land on someone's backyard.

    Now, the Chinese are different. They're trying to play catchup. They know that they're decades behind the United States and Russia. And so they're cutting corners. They're getting careless. They want to launch as many things into outer space as they can. And where they land, well, that's a secondary priority for them, I think.

    And so that's the fundamental problem. And realize that, 30 years ago, the United States and Russia used to do this.

    KAKU: Skylab was a 76-ton device that fell in 1979 in Australia. That's where it landed.

    And I still remember that bookies in Las Vegas were taking bets, they were taking bets as to where Skylab would crash. And so, remember, this was something that the great powers did 30 years ago, but not since. This is the largest such craft to come down in 30 years.

    But I know the odds are of it going over land, and, furthermore, over land, in the case of Skylab, it was barren land. No one was affected or hurt in that one.

    But the sheer size of this makes me think about the meteor that hit Russia.

    Would it be akin to something like that? Or is that a night-and-day comparison?

    KAKU: Well, the Chinese are trying to downplay this by saying that it's going to disintegrate in the atmosphere. But that's not the experience.

    The actual experience is that between 20 to 40 percent of the object will survive, will survive reentry and make landfall somewhere on the planet Earth. And because most of the Earth's surface is water, chances are it'll land in water.

    And, so far, no one has ever died from a direct impact from celestial debris from outer space. But it can't be ruled out. And, remember, New York City, we are in the crosshairs of this gigantic, monstrous rocket that is tumbling out of control.

    The dinosaurs might beg to differ with you, Michio, about don't make a big deal of something that's coming your way. In fact, I booked one tomorrow to talk to.

    No, I haven't. But we will see what happens on all of that. So, it's sometime, sometime this weekend. That's all we know.

    Michio, always good seeing you, my friend.

    We will keep an eye on this thing and get the latest. As you heard from the defense secretary, no plans to try to shoot this thing down. But you must be thinking, behind the scenes, they're thinking of the unthinkable just in case they have to start thinking of that.

    CAVUTO: But, but, but, if we survive all of this, can we survive mask mandates? Because that's a more immediate concern for a lot of people, particularly in Utah.

    I will explain -- after this.

    CAVUTO: You think cruises are coming back? Well, maybe not so fast.

    Hear from Norwegian Cruise Line's CEO on why and how he has done everything and anything he can to get things going, and he keeps -- gets well, stopped.

    CAVUTO: All right, let's just say the masks came off at a Utah school board meeting, some angry parents who have had it with enforcement policies on masks for their kids that say, enough is enough.

    Alicia Acuna in Denver on where this stands right now.

    ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

    Yes, and a spokesperson with the school district tells me police are evaluating the video and determining whether charges will be brought against some of these parents. And we have reached out to the South Salt Lake Police Department on this, and still waiting to hear back.

    The Granite School District board adjourned its meeting when some parents frustrated by the state's health order that masks be worn in schools until mid-June boiled over. This week, Utah lifted many of its COVID-19 protection mandates after seeing success in vaccinations and a lower number of cases.

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We do need to continue. We have board business to conduct.

    ACUNA: Some of the anger came when the public comment portion of the meeting was closed. But a state senator and a union representative were allowed to speak.

    BERNADETTE BROCKMAN, MOTHER: They don't listen to the parents. They ignore the parents.

    And when you have something like that occur time and time again, then there becomes a boiling point. And I just feel like they could have ended it and gave us our parental rights -- not give us. They are our parental rights.

    We're masking children that are in no way a risk to the rest of the population.

    ACUNA: A portion of a statement given to FOX News reads: "Granite District fundamentally believes and encourages a diversity of opinions when shared in respectful and civil manner, and will continue to encourage civil discourse as a model for the children which we have stewardship over."

    But, Neil, two days after this uproar and under mounting pressure, Utah's governor says the state will not renew the mask order for schools in the fall -- Neil.

    CAVUTO: Confusing, Alicia Acuna.

    And the president just added to that confusion himself, maybe unintentionally, today. Take a look.

    QUESTION: CDC mask guidance, I noticed you walked out to the podium with your mask on. Why do you choose to wear a mask so often when you're vaccinated and you're around other people who are vaccinated?

    BIDEN: Because I'm worried about you. No, that's a joke. It's a joke.

    Why am -- why am I wearing the mask? Because, when we're inside, it's still good policy to wear the mask.

    CAVUTO: It's still good policy to wear the mask.

    Let's go right to the source on all of this, Dr. Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health director.

    Doctor, always great having you.

    Is it still a good idea to wear the mask?

    DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Well, CDC is the place to go if you're confused about this. And I know the recommendations have been changing. And so people are understandably not quite clear.

    But if you go to CDC's site, if you're vaccinated, you still, in an inside gathering, are well-advised to keep the mask on. Why is that? Because even a vaccinated person like me might potentially still be able to carry the virus. And if you're inside with other unvaccinated people who might be vulnerable, you're protecting them by keeping your mask on.

    Not so outside. I mean, I worry that everybody thinks, oh, my God, we're going to have to wear these masks forever. Things have changed a lot. If you're vaccinated, you can gather with people in your own home who are also vaccinated and have dinner together. My wife and I have been doing that.

    You can go outside and do what you want to, take the mask off, unless you're in like a huge stadium with people packed in like two feet apart.

    Otherwise, masks off outside. Live it up. But you got to get vaccinated to enjoy that liberation.

    CAVUTO: What about this dust-up that has happened?

    And you have seen this play out in the Utah school district, but it's throughout the country, Doctor, where a lot of parents are saying, my kid has to wear a mask. They say, this is getting ridiculous.

    COLLINS: I tell them, everybody, keep calm. Civil discourse would be a good thing to model for your children. Having a screaming fight with a school board maybe not such a great model.

    Look at the evidence. Look at, what is the actual risk in your community by how much disease is there right now? It'll be different in different parts of the country. And what is actually the story about kids? Are they completely immune from this disease? No, they're not. They can get sick.

    In fact, in the last little bit, more than a quarter of the cases have been in children and young adults, I mean, up to 18. So, kids do get this. They usually handle it well. They can though, get this long COVID that goes on a long time. So, nobody should imagine kids are just completely off the list here as far as having any risk.

    And, of course, they can pass it on to others. But, again, I'm sorry that America has turned into a place where masks have become such a battleground. Think of a mask as a lifesaving medical device. If used in the right place, it can do a lot of good. I get it. If it's not necessary, let's take it off.

    But if there's a reason to wear it, even now in a school setting indoors, where kids are close together, let's look at the evidence and make a wise, rational decision.

    CAVUTO: All right, well, the wise, rational decision, supposedly, is to keep the mask on and the kids to keep the masks on, even though they're -- it's really tough for them. A lot of these kids don't wear it correctly.

    What would be the harm, Doctor, if they were not compelled to wear it?

    COLLINS: Well, the specific risk, of course, is that you then get an outbreak in that classroom, multiple kids get infected.

    CAVUTO: Do you think that would happen? Is that statistically possible, Doctor, from kids, starting with kids?

    COLLINS: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

    It happened in my granddaughter's classroom in Michigan not long ago. It's entirely possible. And then those kids can carry it home. And if there's somebody unvaccinated at home who's at risk, then really serious illness can happen.

    We are not out of the woods on this yet. And I'm so sorry I have to keep saying that.

    COLLINS: The answer, though, Neil, is we have got to get our nation completely on board to get to that 80 percent or so coverage with vaccination.

    I know the president has made a goal of 70 percent. Let's blow that away, because, if you really want to take the mask off, get your kids back in school, forget about the masks. That's what we got to do. And that means all of us, not just some of us.

    So, please, everybody, look at that evidence. If you're mad about masks, then roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated, and tell everybody else around you.

    CAVUTO: All right, then let me ask you about -- I'm sorry, Doctor.

    Let me ask you about the stadium thing. And the Mets and the Yankees, they're going to, I guess, segregate those who have been vaccinated vs.

    those who haven't. How's that going to work out, you think?

    COLLINS: Well, the idea, of course, is that people who are vaccinated and who have been able to show that, they can gather close together without any risk to anybody.

    But if you have a mixing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people at close quarters, then there's a greater risk. So, I think they're trying something creative here. Obviously, it wouldn't be necessary if everybody had decided to get vaccinated.

    So, again, I come back to that. Come on, America.

    COLLINS: If you want to get past this awkward moment, this is how to do it.

    CAVUTO: Isn't that a lot of trouble to go to if you're a Mets fan, though?

    I mean, you're rooting for the Mets, after all.

    Should it make a difference whether you're vaccinated or not? I guess that's a personal thing, right?

    COLLINS: Oh, it's not -- yes, it's not about whether you're rooting for the Mets.

    COLLINS: It's about whether you're putting somebody else at risk who might actually end up in the hospital or the ICU or even dying.

    You know we lost several 700 people today to this disease. We're not done with this.

    CAVUTO: People forget. No, you're -- people forget that.

    COLLINS: I know we're tired of it, but we're not done with it.

    CAVUTO: All right, real quickly on that, I have seen that Disney World and Universal in Orlando have dropped temperature checks, stuff like that.

    Are we letting our guard down when you hear stuff like that?

    COLLINS: I think Disney World is being pretty careful about it, from what I have heard, in terms of keeping people spaced. And, of course, a lot of that is outdoors.

    Frankly, the temperature checks were never a very sensitive way to figure out whether somebody is at risk or not. I think most places realized a while back that, if you were going to try to protect against COVID, that wasn't going to help you all that much.

    Dr. Francis Collins, great seeing you again. I hope you weren't a Mets fan.

    I wasn't meaning to slight you if you were, but just passing that along.

    CAVUTO: The National Institutes of Health director, Dr. Francis Collins, thank you, sir.

    Now we want to talk, and we will talk when we come back, with what the cruise line industry is doing. I want you to meet the CEO who's done everything way beyond whatever requirements are to make things COVID-proof and super safe, vaccinations for passengers and crew workers alike.

    So, he's done all that, and still, still doubts.

    CAVUTO: All right, NIH director says, just listen to the guidance from the CDC. They know what they're talking about.

    The problem for my next guest is that it's never consistent. He's doing everything in his power to keep his ships safe for all the workers, all the passengers. They must be vaccinated, submits that, assumes that is more than enough, and still nothing, still changing guidelines coming from the CDC.

    And the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO -- this is the third largest cruise company on the planet. That includes Norwegian and Oceania and Regent Seven Seas -- he's at a loss what to do.

    And he's back with us right now.

    Frank Del Rio, I was thinking of you, and thinking, all right, what happened now? I mean, you did all of this. You prepared all of this. You were ready, went way beyond any guidelines or even requirements. And still you're -- you're at pause here. What happened?

    FRANK DEL RIO, CEO, NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS: Well, Neil, as you know

    -- and, by the way, thanks for having me back. Good to see you again.

    On April 5, we submitted a -- what we believed to be an ironclad proposal to the CDC, where we said that we would mandate 100 percent vaccination for every single person on board the vessel, crew and guests, which would render all these, do you wear a mask, don't you wear a mask issues that your previous guest was talking about -- if everybody inside that venue, in this case, a ship, is vaccinated, there is no need for a mask.

    Yet, this week, the CDC came out with one of their bizarre requirements that, while you are eating at a restaurant or drinking a beverage at a bar, you must wear -- you must take on your mask on and off, only take it off to put food in your mouth, then put your mask back on while you're chewing and swallowing.

    And then you can take it off again and put another piece of food or another sip of beverage. Is that not the craziest, most bizarre, onerous thing you ever heard, especially when everybody on the ship is vaccinated?

    If it was mixed company, maybe, maybe, but 100 percent vaccination? So these are the kinds of incredibly stupid, for lack of a better term, just stupid requirements that the CDC is throwing our way for what we now believe is just to prevent us from cruising.

    There is no good reason to prevent us from cruising. Every other transportation venue, entertainment venue, hospitality venue is open around the country, and we're still shut down after 15 months?

    It's unfair. It's un-American. My guess, it's even illegal. And, I mean, we have had it. And we're pushing back hard. We will see how things develop, but since we spoke last a couple of weeks ago, one step forward, two steps back.

    CAVUTO: Yes. No, I can understand your frustration, Frank, because I studied this very closely, and particularly what you're doing. You're doing far more than any industry, and even within your industry, any other cruise line company.

    And I always think of that old line. I think your ships, big and beautiful as they are, they can move. They're not stuck. You can move them elsewhere.

    As you know, we have already announced that the first seven ships we're standing up this summer are all outside of the U.S. We're a public company.

    We have got shareholders to think about. These assets have been idle for, like I said, 15 months.

    By the time we get them back operating, they will.

    CAVUTO: So, U.S. passengers can find you? U.S. passengers can go to these other non-U.S. ports.

    CAVUTO: . and still enjoy a cruise, right?

    I mean, today, you can get on an airplane, fly to Italy or fly to Singapore or fly to a few places around the world, get on a cruise ship, take your cruise, and fly back, and no questions asked. But you can't board a ship from a U.S. port. That's nuts. That's just nuts.

    And, by the way, we submitted this plan to the CDC, 100 percent vaccination for everyone. And they came back with 95 percent for passengers and 98 percent for crew. If you're a public health organization, why in the world would you leave a 2 percent loophole where COVID can be introduced in that venue?

    A hundred percent is foolproof 98 percent is not.

    CAVUTO: So, the CDC, people think that its guidelines are etched in stone.

    But, remember, this is the same organization -- I'm not faulting them -- that pooh-poohed the issue of masks when all of this started, then said masks, pooh-poohed distancing provisions that they were a little silly, then enforced them. The same with what they're requiring now of cruise line operators such as yourself.

    It's not as if they have been consistent, so they leave you in a lurch.

    DEL RIO: Yes, look, if there was science-backed information, we'd accept it.

    But we don't -- we have never -- they have never shared any data with us, any scientific data or any data, period. And so, look, it seems to me they make this stuff up as they go along. A lot of this is just good old common sense. And we don't see much of it lately.

    Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO, some of the most beautiful ships and lines in the world, and all stymied by an inconsistent CDC that doesn't get it straight or get it consistent.

    Keep us posted, Frank. Thank you very, very much.

    All right, in the meantime, we are focused on some other developments here that have come to light really since the pandemic, targeting Asians. And it's rampant.

    And our Susan Li on the fallout -- after this.

    SUSAN LI, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Towns like these and ethnically grouped communities have been popping up across America since the middle of the 1800s, people that are bound together linguistically, culturally and even economically.

    CAVUTO: And now in the news post the pandemic for being blamed for that pandemic and targeted for that pandemic.

    I'm talking about Asian Americans, who are simply trying to make a living in this country, and now oftentimes on the receiving end of a lot of violence in this country, and this during Asian American Heritage Month.

    Susan Li with more on all of that -- Susan.

    LI: Yes, 200 years of history, Neil, so there's lots to celebrate, but also a time of deep reflection within the community with a rise in anti-Asian violence.

    UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I will be your rescuer today.

    LI (voice-over): The Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific islander community have come a long way, each with their own cultural distinctions, but all contributing to America's long colorful history.

    Despite their cheap labor helping build the economic artery across America, Chinese immigrants were the first and only ethnic group to be banned by law from immigrating to the U.S. with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

    That may have also foreshadowed a dark period awaiting Japanese Americans.

    More than 120,000 were locked up across 10 internment camps in multiple states during World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor, most of them American citizens born on U.S. soil.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During World War II, when Japanese Americans were interned, the same thing didn't happen to German and Italian Americans.

    LI: The boom in the Asian American population only started after 1965 Hart- Celler Immigration Act. It gave preference to highly skilled workers.

    Donald Moy came here during that time, and says he now lives the American dream. He's owned Mee Sum tea house in New York's Chinatown for more than

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There is nowhere better than America. It's a dream.

    LI: But the recent rise in anti-Asian attacks has many wondering if they're welcome here.

    LI: More than 3,500 anti-Asian incidents have been reported over the past year, according to one nonprofit.

    But the good news there is that, in a rare show of bipartisan agreement in Washington, D.C., you had virtually every senator voting for the anti-Asian hate crimes bill.

    And that means more prosecution and more reporting of any attacks targeted at Asians -- Neil.

    CAVUTO: So, the very fact that the pandemic started in Asia, Asian Americans are the ones being subjected to the attacks they had nothing to do with?

    And, in my own personal experience, I have been called names that I thought were relics of history, something that didn't happen in 2021. And it's very un-American, Neil, to be targeted for the way you look, for the language you speak. And, hopefully, this will end very soon.

    CAVUTO: Hopefully, because it certainly doesn't speak for the majority, overwhelming majority of Americans, who find this offensive.

    Susan Li, thank you very much.

    We will have more after this.

    CAVUTO: Remember when it was just gas? Now it's a whole bunch of other things that are going up, from groceries and seafood and chicken, chocolate, you name it, even washers and dryers, all moving up, and fast, in price.

    Jackie DeAngelis on the inflation threat that's now a little bit more than a threat -- Jackie.

    JACKIE DEANGELIS, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Neil.

    Well, inflation, it happens when the government spends and prints money at a faster pace than the economy can handle, and consumer wages can't keep up. Now, people are worried about it right now. And there are some good reasons why.

    Things feel really expensive. Let's go ahead and start with that gallon of gas. In case you're filling up to go see mom on Sunday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline, $2.95. That's according to AAA.

    It's $1.14 more than this time last year, or an increase of 62 percent. And we are not even in the so-called summer driving season yet, so buckle up.

    What about food prices, as you mentioned? Well, the USDA's latest report on milk for April says the average price for a gallon of whole milk, $3.58.

    That's not the fancy lactose-free kind or the organic milk. It's the regular kind. And that price is up roughly 4 percent in about 18 months, so not so terrible there.

    What about chicken, another staple for the summer? Prices are skyrocketing, tight supply and not enough workers coming back to work. You are looking at wings that cost roughly 50 percent more. This has been a problem since the Super Bowl. It is still not resolved.

    So, what's the government doing about it? Well, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen not too worried.

    YELLEN: I really doubt that we're going to see an inflationary cycle, although I will say that all the economists in the administration are watching that very closely.

    DEANGELIS: All right, she said that earlier today.

    Now, the measure of inflation that the government uses is called core CPI, its Consumer Price Index. And it strips out food and energy, because they're -- quote -- "too volatile."

    And, indeed, if you have been to the grocery store or the pump lately, you would agree on the volatility part, but you might have some trouble saying there's no inflation, Neil.

    CAVUTO: Yes, we can't X-out those things in our lives, can we?

    CAVUTO: Jackie, thank you very, very much, scary stuff.

    Bill Simon with us right now, the former Walmart U.S. CEO. Bill was very effective in those days trying very hard not to pass along price increases to consumers.

    I would think, Bill, now it's almost unavoidable. What do you say?

    BILL SIMON, FORMER WALMART CEO: Well, Neil, how are you doing?

    Yes, there's a lot of factors that are going on that are impacting it.

    Prices are going up. It's demand-driven. It's shortage-driven. As Jackie mentioned, the availability of workers and labor in general is causing shortages in all kinds of different industries.

    That's going to drive prices up. But demand-driven price increases, which is what we're seeing, I think, have the ability to be better absorbed by the economy than price increases that are raw material-generated.

    And so I'm hopeful, when things settle out, we won't be in a very, very steep inflationary cycle. And it's very hard to measure gas prices, for example, against this time last year.

    SIMON: This time last year, everybody was at home, and nobody was driving.

    There was no demand for gasoline.

    And we talk about core commodity prices, you're talking about things like oil and copper and some of these other things, lumber particularly, that are unavoidable. And those increases do hit, for example, new homebuyers, who are oftentimes getting priced out of the market.

    But I'm not an age to remember when inflation was a lot worse, when it was hyperinflation, and things got out of control. But do you see any signs of that, because the backdrop for this is a strong economy, right? I mean, demand is building as people get back to work. That's the good rationale for this, and leave it at that.

    But will it be left at that? What do you think?

    SIMON: Well, I think we have keep a real close eye on a couple of things, Neil.

    We have -- there's really no record that I can -- that I can point to where we have had a full employment recession in this country. And jobs are really the most important thing to making sure that we keep growing.

    And today's job reports was -- job report was concerning to me, because we're starting -- some could interpret it as we're starting to see it slow down. And I think what we're having are these sort of counterbalanced forces at each other. We have increasing demand as we come out of the pandemic, and we have government, and well-meaning government policies to try to help people who suffered from the pandemic, that are actually causing some of the labor shortages now.

    And there are jobs everywhere. And I have been in three states in the last two days. And there are job openings everywhere. Restaurants are not able to open every -- seven days a week because they just can't staff them.

    So the jobs are out there, and yet our employment is going in the wrong direction. So, they're -- some of the policies that are in place are having

    -- are being sort of counterproductive to that growth. And if we don't get that under control, we could have our unemployment tick up at the same time that our prices are ticking up.

    SIMON: And that's a very, very bad formula.

    CAVUTO: Well, let's see how it goes. I mean, steady as she goes right now, because this is a reflection of a strong economy, but you're quite right. I mean, those pressures are building.

    Bill Simon, the former Walmart U.S. CEO.

    Tomorrow -- and, remember, we are live at 10:00 a.m. -- we will be monitoring all of this, and really getting into the weeds here, because it'll be the same day a lot of you are going to go out grocery shopping for yourself and seeing it.

    Do this before my show, or, ideally, after my show. But the fact of the matter is, it is a very, very big worry. We will be chronicling that.

    But, again, I want to advise, things could be worse, because we're also monitoring something else, that rocket that is hurtling to Earth, which, if it obliterates a good chunk of Earth, all of this stuff passes, right?

    Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2021 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2021 VIQ Media Transcription, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of VIQ Media Transcription, Inc. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.


    Battle of the seas: Cruise lines vs. the CDC

    In the United States, flights are filling up, hotels are getting booked, vacation rentals are selling out and car rental companies are facing a shortage because of spiking demand.

    But one sector remains stalled: the cruise industry.

    Cruise ships sailing out of U.S. ports have been docked for more than a year following a series of outbreaks of the coronavirus onboard vessels at the start of the pandemic. Now cruise companies can restart operations only by following rules laid out by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October.

    This month, the CDC published a set of technical guidelines to help cruise companies prepare their ships to start sailing again in line with those rules, which were set out in the agency’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. But the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s trade group, called the instructions “so burdensome and ambiguous that no clear path forward or timetable can be discerned.”

    Cruise companies have asked the agency to revise its guidelines to factor in the speedy rollout of vaccinations and allow for U.S. sailings to restart in July. But the CDC has not yet provided a firm date, and under the current rules, cruise ships must follow a monthslong process that includes simulation voyages to test out their health and safety protocols, followed by a review period.

    “The cruise industry as a whole is very frustrated,” said Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry analyst and CEO of the news site cruiseguy.com. “Travel is resuming at a very high level. Airplanes and hotels are packed, and no industry is better suited to restart than cruising. The lines are prepared, safety protocols are in place, and, now, with the high level of vaccine distribution, they feel it’s a good time to resume operations.”

    In response to the CDC’s delay of U.S. sailings, some cruise lines are moving their ships abroad to launch summer cruises from foreign ports, including from the Caribbean and Europe, where they are permitted to sail. Many of the voyages require adult passengers and crew members to be vaccinated.

    Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, has warned that it might also look outside the United States if the CDC continues to prevent cruises from sailing domestically.

    CLIA paints the CDC as targeting the industry unfairly and points to the global economic impact of the initial suspension of cruise operations from mid-March to September of last year, the latest period for which it has statistics. The group says there was a loss of $50 billion in economic activity, 334,000 jobs and $15 billion in wages.

    “The cruise industry as a whole is very frustrated. Travel is resuming at a very high level. Airplanes and hotels are packed, and no industry is better suited to restart than cruising. The lines are prepared, safety protocols are in place, and, now, with the high level of vaccine distribution, they feel it's a good time to resume operations."

    But health experts note the number and severity of outbreaks on ships last year when, for example, more than 700 people became infected with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and 14 people died. “The CDC wants to prevent people from getting sick, and the cruise lines want to go back to business and start making money,” said Tara Kirk Sell, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “So there’s going to be a central disconnect and tension there as we sort our way through this pandemic, which isn’t over yet, and we are still trying to figure out.”

    Florida joins the fight

    Florida is home to PortMiami, the world’s busiest cruise port, and it probably has the most to lose if cruise companies shift more sailings to the nearby Caribbean.

    Earlier this month, Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida (both Republicans), along with Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska (also a Republican), introduced the Cruise Act bill that, if passed, would revoke the agency’s Conditional Sailing Order and require it to issue new guidance to restart U.S. sailings. (Because of a quirk of maritime law, several major cruise lines have canceled all 2021 sailings to Alaska.)

    “With the way this is going, it seems that the CDC doesn’t want the cruise industry to be in business because they are not setting the rules in a manner that the cruise industry feels they can comply and safely return to work,” Scott said in a telephone interview.

    “Cruise lines clearly want their passengers and employees to be safe,” he continued. “They have been working all year to prepare their ships, but the CDC has been very difficult to work with, and if they don’t want to help then we’ll make sure they do it because we are going to pass this legislation.”

    Florida has sued the federal government to demand cruise ships be allowed to start sailing immediately.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, has maintained that the cruise ban has had a disproportionate impact on the state’s economy cruises usually generate billions of dollars from the millions of passengers who pass through Florida each year. “People are going to cruise one way or another. The question is are we going to do it out of Florida, which is the No. 1 place to do it in the world, or are they going to be doing it out of the Bahamas or other locations?” DeSantis said, speaking at a recent news conference at PortMiami.

    Sell said she thinks the CDC’s phased approach, in which safety protocols are tested out before passengers are allowed back on board, is the right one.

    “I'm really excited to get back on a cruise, but I don't think I could fully relax and enjoy it if everyone on board wasn't vaccinated. It would be a great shame if we had to travel to other U.S. ports to get on a ship. Florida is the cruising capital of the world."

    “Cruises have for a long time had a potential to superspread diseases that include COVID because people are often in close quarters,” she said. “I’m not saying that you could never do cruises again but that it just needs to be something where you sort through all the requirements.”

    Battle over vaccinations

    Sell and other health experts say that requiring everyone onboard to be vaccinated against the coronavirus is one of the best ways to prevent outbreaks. Several cruise lines have made vaccinations a requirement for smaller U.S. river cruises and foreign sailings.

    But while DeSantis is arguing for cruises to restart, he has also issued an executive order banning Florida businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from people seeking to use their services. The governor’s office said the order prohibits all cruise lines from requiring vaccine certificates for their Florida operations.

    The CDC recommended vaccinations in its latest technical guidance but stopped short of making them a requirement, avoiding a conflict with Florida. Requiring vaccinations appeals to at least some would-be cruisers. “I’m really excited to get back on a cruise, but I don’t think I could fully relax and enjoy it if everyone on board wasn’t vaccinated,” said Molly Osborne, an avid cruiser based in South Florida. “It would be a great shame if we had to travel to other U.S. ports to get on a ship. Florida is the cruising capital of the world.”

    Still, Osborne said she is open to traveling abroad to get on a cruise if the CDC doesn’t lift its ban by the fall. “I haven’t booked anything yet as I’m waiting to see what happens, but if the only way to go this year is from the Caribbean, then I’ll probably do it.”

    Experts from the CDC and White House staff met with cruise line executives and industry leaders to discuss the details of the Conditional Sailing Order.

    The objective of the meetings was “to mutually review the top priority issues of the cruise industry to work out implementation details of the CSO, including the impact of vaccines and other scientific developments since the CSO was issued in October 2020,” the agency said in a statement. “This goal aligns with the desire for the resumption of passenger operations in the United States by midsummer, expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers.” Meantime, cruise lines are focusing on launching summer sailings in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. MSC Cruises, the industry’s fourth-largest operator, recently announced that it would cancel all U.S. cruises through June 30 and instead plans to have at least 10 ships sailing out of Europe and the Mediterranean by August. Royal Caribbean, the second largest by passenger count, is sailing out of the Bahamas and Bermuda, among other places, and is requiring vaccinations for all crew and passengers.

    Before vaccines were being widely distributed, cruise lines operating in Europe reported some COVID infections on board but say that the cases were brought under control using stringent health and safety protocols, which prevented any larger outbreaks.

    The CDC’s advisory regarding cruise travel remains at a Level 4, the highest, and the agency recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide.

    That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships,” the warning says.


    Battle of the seas: Cruise lines vs. the CDC

    In the United States, flights are filling up, hotels are getting booked, vacation rentals are selling out and car rental companies are facing a shortage because of spiking demand.

    But one sector remains stalled: the cruise industry.

    Cruise ships sailing out of U.S. ports have been docked for more than a year following a series of outbreaks of the coronavirus onboard vessels at the start of the pandemic. Now cruise companies can restart operations only by following rules laid out by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October.

    This month, the CDC published a set of technical guidelines to help cruise companies prepare their ships to start sailing again in line with those rules, which were set out in the agency’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. But the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry’s trade group, called the instructions “so burdensome and ambiguous that no clear path forward or timetable can be discerned.”

    Cruise companies have asked the agency to revise its guidelines to factor in the speedy rollout of vaccinations and allow for U.S. sailings to restart in July. But the CDC has not yet provided a firm date, and under the current rules, cruise ships must follow a monthslong process that includes simulation voyages to test out their health and safety protocols, followed by a review period.

    “The cruise industry as a whole is very frustrated,” said Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry analyst and CEO of the news site cruiseguy.com. “Travel is resuming at a very high level. Airplanes and hotels are packed, and no industry is better suited to restart than cruising. The lines are prepared, safety protocols are in place, and, now, with the high level of vaccine distribution, they feel it’s a good time to resume operations.”

    In response to the CDC’s delay of U.S. sailings, some cruise lines are moving their ships abroad to launch summer cruises from foreign ports, including from the Caribbean and Europe, where they are permitted to sail. Many of the voyages require adult passengers and crew members to be vaccinated.

    Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, has warned that it might also look outside the United States if the CDC continues to prevent cruises from sailing domestically.

    CLIA paints the CDC as targeting the industry unfairly and points to the global economic impact of the initial suspension of cruise operations from mid-March to September of last year, the latest period for which it has statistics. The group says there was a loss of $50 billion in economic activity, 334,000 jobs and $15 billion in wages.

    “The cruise industry as a whole is very frustrated. Travel is resuming at a very high level. Airplanes and hotels are packed, and no industry is better suited to restart than cruising. The lines are prepared, safety protocols are in place, and, now, with the high level of vaccine distribution, they feel it's a good time to resume operations."

    But health experts note the number and severity of outbreaks on ships last year when, for example, more than 700 people became infected with the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and 14 people died. “The CDC wants to prevent people from getting sick, and the cruise lines want to go back to business and start making money,” said Tara Kirk Sell, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “So there’s going to be a central disconnect and tension there as we sort our way through this pandemic, which isn’t over yet, and we are still trying to figure out.”

    Florida joins the fight

    Florida is home to PortMiami, the world’s busiest cruise port, and it probably has the most to lose if cruise companies shift more sailings to the nearby Caribbean.

    Earlier this month, Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida (both Republicans), along with Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska (also a Republican), introduced the Cruise Act bill that, if passed, would revoke the agency’s Conditional Sailing Order and require it to issue new guidance to restart U.S. sailings. (Because of a quirk of maritime law, several major cruise lines have canceled all 2021 sailings to Alaska.)

    “With the way this is going, it seems that the CDC doesn’t want the cruise industry to be in business because they are not setting the rules in a manner that the cruise industry feels they can comply and safely return to work,” Scott said in a telephone interview.

    “Cruise lines clearly want their passengers and employees to be safe,” he continued. “They have been working all year to prepare their ships, but the CDC has been very difficult to work with, and if they don’t want to help then we’ll make sure they do it because we are going to pass this legislation.”

    Florida has sued the federal government to demand cruise ships be allowed to start sailing immediately.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, has maintained that the cruise ban has had a disproportionate impact on the state’s economy cruises usually generate billions of dollars from the millions of passengers who pass through Florida each year. “People are going to cruise one way or another. The question is are we going to do it out of Florida, which is the No. 1 place to do it in the world, or are they going to be doing it out of the Bahamas or other locations?” DeSantis said, speaking at a recent news conference at PortMiami.

    Sell said she thinks the CDC’s phased approach, in which safety protocols are tested out before passengers are allowed back on board, is the right one.

    “I'm really excited to get back on a cruise, but I don't think I could fully relax and enjoy it if everyone on board wasn't vaccinated. It would be a great shame if we had to travel to other U.S. ports to get on a ship. Florida is the cruising capital of the world."

    “Cruises have for a long time had a potential to superspread diseases that include COVID because people are often in close quarters,” she said. “I’m not saying that you could never do cruises again but that it just needs to be something where you sort through all the requirements.”

    Battle over vaccinations

    Sell and other health experts say that requiring everyone onboard to be vaccinated against the coronavirus is one of the best ways to prevent outbreaks. Several cruise lines have made vaccinations a requirement for smaller U.S. river cruises and foreign sailings.

    But while DeSantis is arguing for cruises to restart, he has also issued an executive order banning Florida businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from people seeking to use their services. The governor’s office said the order prohibits all cruise lines from requiring vaccine certificates for their Florida operations.

    The CDC recommended vaccinations in its latest technical guidance but stopped short of making them a requirement, avoiding a conflict with Florida. Requiring vaccinations appeals to at least some would-be cruisers. “I’m really excited to get back on a cruise, but I don’t think I could fully relax and enjoy it if everyone on board wasn’t vaccinated,” said Molly Osborne, an avid cruiser based in South Florida. “It would be a great shame if we had to travel to other U.S. ports to get on a ship. Florida is the cruising capital of the world.”

    Still, Osborne said she is open to traveling abroad to get on a cruise if the CDC doesn’t lift its ban by the fall. “I haven’t booked anything yet as I’m waiting to see what happens, but if the only way to go this year is from the Caribbean, then I’ll probably do it.”

    Experts from the CDC and White House staff met with cruise line executives and industry leaders to discuss the details of the Conditional Sailing Order.

    The objective of the meetings was “to mutually review the top priority issues of the cruise industry to work out implementation details of the CSO, including the impact of vaccines and other scientific developments since the CSO was issued in October 2020,” the agency said in a statement. “This goal aligns with the desire for the resumption of passenger operations in the United States by midsummer, expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers.” Meantime, cruise lines are focusing on launching summer sailings in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. MSC Cruises, the industry’s fourth-largest operator, recently announced that it would cancel all U.S. cruises through June 30 and instead plans to have at least 10 ships sailing out of Europe and the Mediterranean by August. Royal Caribbean, the second largest by passenger count, is sailing out of the Bahamas and Bermuda, among other places, and is requiring vaccinations for all crew and passengers.

    Before vaccines were being widely distributed, cruise lines operating in Europe reported some COVID infections on board but say that the cases were brought under control using stringent health and safety protocols, which prevented any larger outbreaks.

    The CDC’s advisory regarding cruise travel remains at a Level 4, the highest, and the agency recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide.

    That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships,” the warning says.