(http://www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The European Commission has published a suite of guidance and recommendations which are meant to facilitate the resumption of tourism and transport across Europe. These are described below and full Details/Guidance papers can be downloaded at the bottom of this article.
EU Tourism and Transport Package to Member States (MS):
- Liquidity crunch
- EU reports revenue losses for cruises and airlines in Europe at 90%.
- Immediate financial support:
i. Temporary State Aid Framework: grants via MS up to €800k;
ii. For SMEs: via the European Investment Fund, the European Investment Bank and via MS using the cohesion funds (Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative – CRII).
- Free movement and lifting internal border control: MS to coordinate through the EU ‘COVID-19 Information Group – Home Affairs. Measures to be lifted based on three criteria:
- Epidemiological situation;
- Necessity for containment measures;
- Proportionality based on economic and social considerations: Tourism and transport could allow to restart where new COVID-19 guidelines, protocols and standards are in place.
- Restoring transport services:
- Ensure protection of transport workers;
- Ensure protection of passengers in hubs and onboard vehicles/vessels/aircrafts, also when interacting with transport workers;
- Cross-cutting recommendations (consider reduced capacity, use of PPE, avoid crowding, proper ventilation, hand-sanitising stations);
- Trade associations (like CLIA), operators and service providers to develop and ensure implementation of adequate measures (protocols);
- On maritime transport:
i. Vessels and length of voyages differ significantly;
ii. Ensure protection of maritime transport workers;
iii. EMSA to facilitate sharing of ‘best practices’; work with IMO to facilitate global-cooperation;
iv. Specific recommendations:
- Ensure distancing requirements can be observed on vessels, including by reducing the number of allowed passengers.
- Limit access to (dis)embarkation quays to passengers with tickets; assign seats to passengers.
- Ports should consider dedicated lanes to separate entry and exit of passengers.
- When conditions allow for it, move as many passengers as possible to open spaces of the vessel.
- In case passengers are recommended or requested to remain in their vehicles on board ferries during short voyages (e.g. less than one hour), such a measure should apply on open decks only, unless additional safety precautions are taken in line with applicable EU rules. Where needed, capacity of decks should be adjusted to ensure safety and personnel trained in fire suppression should be present.
- Cleaning and disinfection of vessels and onshore facilities should follow the ‘Suggested procedures’ 21 of the EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action.
- Cruise ships and, where relevant, ferries should develop dedicated protocols for cleaning and hygiene that minimise the risk of cross-contamination between passenger cabins.
- Protocols should be developed between ship operators and onshore facilities for persons with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, including measures before, during and after the voyage. For this purpose, health screening procedures should be available, rooms for quarantine provided and adequate interaction with the person in quarantine organised.
- Cruise ships should have adequate testing capacity for COVID-19 on board, to be used when a passenger or crew member is suspected of being infected.
- Vouchers as alternative reimbursement to passengers and holiday makers
- Protection against insolvency to be provided by the MS;
- Validity period of 12 months followed by cash reimbursement within 14 days thereafter – if the voucher has not been redeemed;
- Longer validity allowed but the customer maintains the option to cash out the voucher at any point after 12 months from issuance;
- Provisions for maximum flexibility on the use of the voucher and transferability to another passenger for transport services;
- Resumption of tourism based on the following criteria, though it explicitly exempts cruises, unless:
- COVID-19 incident has declined to low levels;
- Sufficient health system capacity is in place;
- Robust surveillance and monitoring is in place;
- Testing capacity is in place;
- Contact tracing is in place;
- Coordination and communication mechanisms are in place.
For full details, click on each document below to download: