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2 cruise ships to arrive in Vancouver, 1 with COVID-19 cases onboard

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Two more cruise ships are set to arrive in Vancouver, but it's not entirely good news for local businesses as one has been labelled with an "orange status" COVID-19 alert.

Both the Norwegian Bliss and Celebrity Eclipse are expected to arrive in downtown Vancouver Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have assigned orange status to the Norwegian Bliss. 

Orange status means there are enough confirmed COVID-19 cases on the vessel to meet the threshold for an investigation. The threshold requires at least 0.3 per cent of passengers and crew aboard the ship to test positive for the disease, according to the CDC.

The CDC started an investigation and the ship remains under observation.

The ship, however, is classified as "highly vaccinated, meaning that at least 95 per cent of the people on board are fully vaccinated." 

The CDC says cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission so public health measures, including mask use and testing will continue to play a role in reducing the spread of the disease.

The cruise industry is worth $4 billion and Vancouver businesses play a big role in making sure ships are ready to depart - from supplying flowers to stocking up kitchens.

Tourism officials say the shutdown of cruise ships had a significant impact on local businesses, impacting thousands of local jobs.

More than 300 ships are expected in Vancouver this season, which is an eight per cent jump from pre-COVID travel.

Even with a busy season expected ahead, it won't necessarily be business as usual as cruises won't be at full capacity and vaccines and a pre-boarding test is required. 

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