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The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Trump offers support for cruise lines during coronavirus outbreak — while asking them to stop sailing

(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post; iStock)

President Trump on Friday praised the battered cruise industry — and shut it down in the United States for a month.

In a tweet Friday, he said major operators Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC had agreed to his request that they halt outbound sailings from the United States for 30 days, effective at midnight Friday night.

President Trump voices his support of the cruise industry and commends Vice president Pence for how he handled the Grand Princess in Northern California. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The Cruise Lines International Association confirmed the tweet soon after, saying oceangoing lines would be “voluntarily and temporarily suspending cruise ship operations from and to U.S. ports of call.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Trump spoke in support of the cruise industry, whose largest three companies are headquartered in the Miami area but incorporated in other countries.

“As far as the cruise line business, we’re with them all the way,” he said during a news conference. “It’s a great business. It’s a great U.S. business.”

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Trump also hinted that the federal government could offer a bailout to some hard-hit travel companies.

“I can tell you it’s an industry that was very badly impacted by what’s going on with the virus, and it’s a great industry, it’s a very important industry,” he said. “And we will be helping them and we will be helping the airline industry if we have to, assuming we have to.”

Last week, cruise executives from the four lines the president named in his tweet met with Vice President Pence in Port Everglades in Florida. Officials gave the industry leaders three days to come up with a plan to address the coronavirus threat, which has forced hundreds of passengers into quarantine.

Among the proposed solutions are requiring anyone 70 or older to have a doctor’s note to board, taking the temperature of all passengers before they get on a ship, adding coronavirus test kits and staffers to monitor for the virus and conducting daily temperature checks on crew members, according to a synopsis of the plan.

Read more:

Multiple cruise lines halt all sailings temporarily in response to coronavirus

Coronavirus pandemic tests clout of cruise industry and its long-standing ties to Trump

Cruise industry, an economic engine in Florida, could be hit hard by coronavirus advisories

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