Now that the Electoral College has resoundingly certified victory for Joseph Biden in the election, attention now turns to the issues the President-Elect faces next month when he is sworn in on Inauguration Day.
And the eyes of the travel community will be glued to the new administration.
Biden is looking at some big tests when it comes to travel, including a couple of big ones - one of which he hopes will be eliminated before taking office. And that is the passage of a second coronavirus relief package by Congress, which has been stalled for months by bipartisan politics.
The latest proposal is for a $908 billion deal for relief, of which $45 billion is earmarked for airlines and mass transit.
Since the stimulus package would cover so many various elements that would refuel the American economy and prevent mass layoffs, Biden would be thrilled if he didn't have to step in and help broker a deal between what has been, arguably, the most divisive time politically in modern U.S. history.
That wouldn't absolve the new President of any decision-making, however.
Even with the new COVID-19 vaccine now being rolled out worldwide, Biden and his administration face the difficult question of allowing cruise ships back into U.S. waters on March 1 - barely six weeks after his inauguration. Virtually all cruise lines voluntarily agreed to that date to better prepare for the Centers for Disease Control's 'conditional sail order,' in which numerous criteria will have to be met before passengers can embark.
The vaccine, of course, will help. But it will take months before everyone in America who wants one can get one - some say almost to the start of summer 2021 - and in both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccine a second dose is required three weeks after the first. Given what happened earlier this year with some cruises serving as 'superspreaders' of the virus, Biden will have a difficult choice.
Allow cruise lines to sail again, or extend the no-sail order for several more months beyond a March 1 return.
It is not an easy decision.
Cruising is estimated to be a $150 billion global business, and the U.S. is the world's biggest cruise market. Biden is more conservative than current President Donald Trump has been in terms of reopening the economy, and the cruise industry was able to successfully lobby the Trump administration to overrule the CDC in October when the agency wanted to extend a no-sail order but settled for the conditional sail option.
This time, given that Biden is a big proponent of relying on the science of dealing with the pandemic, the CDC might have more say about when and if cruise lines can venture back into American waters.
Certainly, Biden and his staff will have a say in whether a mandate to have all passengers be vaccinated before getting on a ship comes to fruition. It's an idea gaining traction in the industry but also under scrutiny about whether that is even legal.
Under President Biden, there will also be issues about getting international travel and business travel - the airlines' two most important groups of fliers - back to normal. Right now, some businesses simply aren't traveling by choice, and others by restrictions on flying into and out of some destinations in Europe and Asia.
Presidents are many times measured by their first 100 days in office. The Biden administration will be carefully watched for how it handles the myriad issues in the lucrative travel industry.
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