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Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that while it recommends all staff and travelers aboard cruise ships be vaccinated for COVID-19, cruise companies do not need to mandate vaccines in order to resume travel safely.

Why it matters: Cruise ships were some of the first super-spreader sites for the coronavirus in 2020 and have been docked ever since.

  • The industry has been eager to get back to business, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has threatened to sue the federal government if the CDC does not allow cruises to restart by the summer.
  • CDC guidance will still mandate that masks be worn on board by staff and passengers, as well as at "all U.S. transportation hubs, including seaports and ferry terminals."

The new CDC guidance will allow cruise ships to begin trial runs of their operations — and then to apply for a permit to operate regularly, per the New York Times.

Between the lines: Making vaccines a recommendation rather than a requirement also avoids conflict with port-bearing states that have or may ban the use of vaccine passports — including Florida.

  • Vaccine mandates for some cruises' destinations may still apply.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Biden backs Gaza ceasefire for first time in call with Netanyahu

Biden with Netanyahu in 2010. Photo: Debbi Hill/Pool/ Getty Images

President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call on Thursday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.

Why it matters: This is the first time since the beginning of the crisis last Monday that Biden or anyone in his administration has publicly backed a ceasefire. It will increase pressure on Israel to seek an end to the conflict, which Netanyahu has insisted will continue until Hamas' ability to attack Israel is further degraded.

3 hours ago - World

Schumer: "I want to see a ceasefire"

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Monday he wants to "see a ceasefire reach quickly and mourn the loss of life."

Why it matters: Schumer is a staunch defender of Israel and has maintained that Israel should be able to defend itself.

6 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad

Photo: Ole Spata/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

President Biden will send an additional 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to other countries by the end of June, including shots authorized by the FDA for use in the U.S., White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Why it matters: It will be the first time the U.S. has sent Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses abroad. The administration previously announced plans to export 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been authorized domestically.