PVA Seeks Administration Help As Two Cruise Lines Suspend Operations
The Passenger Vessel Association, which represents inland cruise operators, sent the White House a letter asking that they be included in the administration’s economic relief plans in response to the coronavirus crisis. The plea came shortly after two of the largest and best-known river cruise operators, the American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines, announced that they were suspending all operations through April due to concerns about the coronavirus.
So far, no cases of coronavirus have been reported among any passengers of inland cruising vessels. But blue-water passenger cruise vessels have had widely-reported outbreaks, including one vessel with 70 cases. Some ocean-going cruise vessels have had passengers quarantined for long periods. The PVA’s letter letter urged that restrictive measures designed for large oceangoing vessels not be applied indiscriminately to brown-water vessels.
The PVA’s letter points out that its membership includes 600 companies managing about 1,600 vessels, most of them small businesses that will suffer severe hardship from prolonged closures. It also notes that ferries are an integral part of transportation networks, with commuters in some cities and rural areas relying on them.
The letter, signed by PVA President Colleen Stephens, concludes, “Mr. President, the small passenger vessel industry is an important player in our nation’s travel, tourism and transportation markets. We need your help immediately, and we urge you [to] include our operators in your plans to provide economic assistant to U.S. businesses.”
On its website, the PVA urged its members to report any and all relevant news concerning coronavirus.
The letter can be read at https://files.constantcontact.com/1f129eb3601/3be9dcba-40d8-4fe1-bc95-0bdc464e420b.pdf
Coronavirus stories in the March 23 edition of The Waterways Journal: