CATALINA ISLAND- Oct. 5 will be the first day to welcome back cruise ships to the Avalon Harbor. On Oct. 3, 2020, the CDC issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for cruise ships operating or looking to operate in U.S. waters to resume passenger operations.
The Avalon City council unanimously voted to approve a new policy that limits the number of scheduled cruise ships to three a week for both summer and winter, additional cruise ship vists will have to be authorized by City Manager Denise Radde.
The debate over the city’s approach to allowing cruise ships to visit has been a long-time discussion amongst business owners, representatives of the Catalina Island Company, and Avalon residents. The issues included the number of vessels to be allowed and the process for deciding on the policy. The bulk of the counsel’s two-hour meeting was devoted to the cruise ship discussion.
According to the staff report by Radde, the new policy will preclude cruise ships on weekends during the summer season or special event weekends without the approval of the city manager.
According to the report mentioned above, the recommended policy guidelines also include, “Repositioning, infrequent, or small cruise ship vessels (1,000 passengers or less) may be considered for visitation by the Harbor Master, taking into account the day requested, holidays, event(s), harbor activity(ies), impacts to public safety, etc.”
As well as “The Harbor Master and Finance Director will provide an annual report on cruise ship vessels that includes the number of vessels that visit Avalon, number of passengers, amount of wharfage collected, any safety or security incidents that may have occurred while the ship was in port, as well as projections and scheduling information for the next year.”
The full order can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/CDC-Conditional-Sail-Order_10_30_2020-p.pdf.