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Mask exemption policy


popsaw
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I have an MSC cruise booked from Southampton in October. There is no mention or guidance on their website for the mask exempt.  Is anybody aware of current MSC policy in this regard? I realize October is some time away but just planning for worse.

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I’m not surprised that MSC does not mention ‘exemptions’ of any kind.  Currently, it’s all about strictly following rules and protocols.  I’d suggest you contact MSC directly and be prepared to cancel if there is a mask mandate you feel you can’t fulfill (for any reason you may have).  Of course it all may change by October but you may have all sorts of other related arrangement (i.e. flights and hotels) that are somewhat time sensitive that you need to consider.  I understand this doesn’t directly respond to your question; I just don’t think you’re going to get what you want on these boards.

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2 hours ago, popsaw said:

I have an MSC cruise booked from Southampton in October. There is no mention or guidance on their website for the mask exempt.  Is anybody aware of current MSC policy in this regard? I realize October is some time away but just planning for worse.

I would ask my travel agent or MSC direct and if they say not necessary get it in writing

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1 hour ago, emmas gran said:

I would ask my travel agent or MSC direct and if they say not necessary get it in writing

I'm going through MSC not an agent. I have asked MSC for clarification and they wrote 2 "We can certainly look into this for you with our head office, please can you provide us with proof of this medical exemption i.e doctors note."

In reply  asked for a copy of any policy they may have and I sent proof of my exemption.so hopefully I'll hear back.

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3 hours ago, d9704011 said:

I’m not surprised that MSC does not mention ‘exemptions’ of any kind.  Currently, it’s all about strictly following rules and protocols.  I’d suggest you contact MSC directly and be prepared to cancel if there is a mask mandate you feel you can’t fulfill (for any reason you may have).  Of course it all may change by October but you may have all sorts of other related arrangement (i.e. flights and hotels) that are somewhat time sensitive that you need to consider.  I understand this doesn’t directly respond to your question; I just don’t think you’re going to get what you want on these boards.

I have  just received  this reply from MSC "I can confirm we will require a Doctor's note confirming you're exempt from wearing a mask as this will need to be escalated accordingly." 

I still don't know what status I will be escalated to. It would be helpful for cruise lines to set out their exemption policies as this will be a deal breaker for some though not for myself.

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1 minute ago, Roger88 said:

If you dont take a mask with you on board, trust me, they will give it to you and they will make you wear it. Otherwise they wont serve you on board and you will have to basically starve there

The O.P is talking about October 21 when masks may no longer be required, Cruise lines will have to update their policies to reflect changes needed for those who require an exemption. Having a blanket wear a mask or no cruise will do them no favours.

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3 hours ago, popsaw said:

I have  just received  this reply from MSC "I can confirm we will require a Doctor's note confirming you're exempt from wearing a mask as this will need to be escalated accordingly." 

I still don't know what status I will be escalated to. It would be helpful for cruise lines to set out their exemption policies as this will be a deal breaker for some though not for myself.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes back.  Evidently, there isn’t currently much guidance in place to manage exemption requests and this sort of thing will be somewhat ad-hoc for a period of time.  I’m sure that by March or April the situation will be much better defined.  Good luck.

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3 hours ago, popsaw said:

I have  just received  this reply from MSC "I can confirm we will require a Doctor's note confirming you're exempt from wearing a mask as this will need to be escalated accordingly." 

I still don't know what status I will be escalated to. It would be helpful for cruise lines to set out their exemption policies as this will be a deal breaker for some though not for myself.

 

Good to know that if they decline your medical exemption for wearing a mask during a pandemic, it won’t be a deal breaker for you to still cruise knowing you may be required to wear one. 

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Remember that wearing a mask is to protect everyone from you not so much to protect you.   If you cannot wear a mask a cruise or any mode of public transportation will not be able to accept you as a passenger.   I certainly would not want to be near anyone without a mask in an interior space.   If everyone has been vaccinated by Oct 21 you may be allowed to sail.

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28 minutes ago, sfaaa said:

Good point. There should be a vaccine available by then. 

That doesn't mean that everyone wants it, after all many of the testing protocols are being waved and the makers indemnified against Liability!

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Mask exemptions are a sensitive topic.  While there are certainly some folks who cannot wear a mask for various reasons (some medical and some psychological) I do not see any reason why a cruise line should accept any exemption.  Yes, it is true that this means some folks would not be able to cruise because they cannot wear a mask.  But if you accept that a mask does reduce the COVID risk to everyone then refusing exemptions is for the greater good.  We will likely see a similar situation when cruise lines (and airlines) require mandatory COVID vaccinations.  There will be some who will not be able to get a vaccination but, again, it would be for the common good that there should be zero exceptions.  

 

Accommodations are an accepted part of many societies.  But when we are dealing with a highly communicative disease the greater good must prevail.  Imagine a ship with 6000 passengers that grants 5 exemptions.  1 of those passengers comes down with COVID on the cruise.  At that point the cruise would end,  the quarantine of the entire vessel might well be required,  and thousands of folks would suffer because of those exemptions.  And if those exempted folks had gone ashore at a few ports this could cause a ripple effect in those ports.  There are plenty of times that health issues trump other considerations.  Consider a person with a bad heart who has a pilots license.  He/she will no longer be able to pilot a plane (perhaps forever) because of that single issue.  This is for the common good (and the good of the individual).

 

Hank 

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Mask exemptions are a sensitive topic.  I don't see any reason why a cruise line would reject an exemption.   Yes, it is true that this means that some folks would choose not to cruise because others around them would be exempt from wearing a mask.   If you don't accept that a mask cannot be worn by certain people, then you don't have to cruise.  We are likely in a similar situation when cruise line will provide an exception to COVID vaccinations.  There will be some who will choose not to get a vaccination but, again, it would an exception to the vaccination would be allowed, there should be no exception to the vaccination exemption.

Edited by Geobugs
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At the moment I think a doctors note should be required, but hopefully the person exempt would have a vaccine by October 21.

As a note of caution I have read that a charity shop has exemption cards and they are being sold for profit by unscrupulous people on Ebay 

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I'm not sure what will happen in December 2020, let alone October 2021.  There is a reasonable chance we will still need masks throughout next year to protect the elderly from dying of COVID-19, but of course things are developing very fast so I hope things are more normal.

 

Luckily in continental Europe, masks are not the big political issue they are in the US with just a very small percentage of people considering them a "problem".  If you cannot wear a mask a doctors note is the minimum required, with some places (e.g. airlines) also requiring a negative COVID-19 test from the last 72 hours.  Different rules apply in different countries and cities, with different exceptions possible - especially if you are doing a European cruise Spain, Italy and Greece require masks to be worn outside when in cities.  

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UPDATE :

I asked  "Thank you for quick the reply. I will provide the doctors note nearer the cruise date just in case the mask mandate ends before then. I do intend to complete the cruise regardless and will wear a mask if forced but as stated in my previous email I  would like to know whether MSC have a specific (written) policy in place regarding mask exemption  and if so could you provide me with a copy?"

Their reply ...

 

I can confirm we will need to require a Doctor's noted confirming you're exempt from wearing a mask.
We have new Health and Safety measures in place, you can read these measures using the link below.
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UPDATE. Latest email  from MSC. (which contradicts the doctors note requirement email,)
 
"I called this morning to discuss further with you your original query regarding mask exemptions on-board, after discussing this further with my supervisors it has come to light that there are no exceptions for not wearing a mask on-board for any passenger or crew members.
We understand your medical needs however you will be required to wear a mask when social distancing isn't possible in public sears, for example in places such as lifts, theatre however do not need to be worn in cabins, restaurants, bars and lounges. This is very vital as our Health and Safety protocols in place are to keep all passengers and crew members safe."
 
Kind Regards,
Sophie
Booking Management
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4 minutes ago, hamrag said:

Thank you MSC, that makes absolute sense.

It would make even more sense to include the information on their new health and safety measures document since some may wrongly assume their mask exemption will be accommodated. It could be done in a couple of sentences just as it was in the email I received.

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As vaccines begin to be distributed and administered, which in the USA could be as early as mid-December, I will be interested to see how the pro-vaccine vs anti-vaccine debate plays out. There are legitimate civil liberty concerns, in my opinion, about how much "the common good" outweighs people's personal rights and bodily autonomy. Imagine a scenario in which people aren't allowed to go out in public, to the grocery store, school, job site, shopping mall, etc., to say nothing of airplanes or cruise ships, without proof they've been vaccinated. That's a massive slippery slope, if you ask me. One suggestion of a COVID passport for tourists has already been struck down in Germany over concerns it would create a two-tiered society. Speaking for myself, I have no problems with vaccines, but I know many people who do, and I promise you that taking a stance of "get vaccinated or be shunned" is not going to fly, legally speaking.

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