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‘It’s a suicide mission’: Fla. couple quarantined on cruise ship reacts to CDC lifting no-sail ban

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa Bay couple who was quarantined on a cruise ship is now warning others about the dangers of sailing during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, the CDC announced it will allow its no-sail ban to expire on Oct. 31.

RELATED: CDC offers framework for cruise lines to start sailing again

It sets in motion the potential for cruise lines to resume operations on U.S. waters.

“I mean, we love to cruise but we’re not going volunteer for a suicide mission,” said Gay Courter.

Gay and Phil Courter spent two weeks quarantined on the Diamond Princess earlier this year after the virus hit the cruise ship.

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They spent nearly one month trying to get home to Crystal River.

“They’re talking about very short cruises so if you do get sick you’ll be off the boat by the time you’re sick. I mean, it sounds crazy,” said Phil Courter.

Despite lifting its ban, the CDC is still urging travelers to “defer all cruise travel worldwide.”

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New requirements to resume cruises include conducting mock voyages with volunteers who will play the role of passengers. There will also be regular testing for all passengers and crew members.

The CDC is calling this a phased-in approach as multiple cruise lines that dock in Port Tampa Bay have already canceled trips until at least next year.

ABC Action News received the following statement from Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson:

“We have taken extra precautions to keep our cruise terminals clean and disinfected by sanitizing them with an EPA-approved chemical, as well as adding extra hand sanitizing stations. We will also create social distancing measures throughout the terminals and add more time in the schedule for embarkation and debarkation.

Port Tampa Bay is working closely with our cruise line partners to follow the updated CDC guidelines for the conditional sailing order and we are prepared to welcome them back when they are ready. Port Tampa Bay is ready to serve our cruise line partners and passengers and do our part to ensure their safety and follow all protocols in place for a safe return of cruising.”

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