SACRAMENTO March 8, 2020 – The State of California has been working in partnership with the federal government to aid in the safe return of passengers from the Grand Princess. The entire mission is centered around protecting the health of the passengers, and ensuring that when the passengers disembark, the public health of the United States, the State of California, and partner communities is protected.
Together, the United States Government and the State of California asked the City of Oakland and the Port of Oakland to partner in this mission. The mission will be a joint federal and state effort, with local support. The federal government and its contractors are already preparing the site for disembarkment. As soon as tomorrow, the ship will begin disembarking passengers at the Port of Oakland. The ship will only be docked during the duration of the disembarkment.
These passengers will not be released into the general public. Passengers who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization will be transported to health care facilities in California. If passengers do not require acute medical care following health screenings, those who are California residents will go to a federally run isolation facility within California for testing and isolation, while non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states. The crew will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship, but importantly, the ship will only stay in Port of Oakland for the duration of disembarkment. This ship will depart Oakland as soon as possible and will remain elsewhere for the duration of the crew’s quarantine.
Almost 1000 of the ship’s passengers are Californians. They have been through a great deal of stress and were potentially exposed to this virus through no fault of their own. After careful review of all options, the Port of Oakland was selected as the best site for the ship to disembark. There are limited docks that will be able to dock a ship of that size, and the Port of Oakland location was the easiest to seal off, securely move passengers toward their isolation destinations and protect the safety of the public.
“The City of Oakland, Alameda County and the Port of Oakland are stepping up in a major way, and their residents deserve universal praise. They are showing the world what makes our state great – coming to the rescue of thousands of people trapped aboard this ship and helping tackle a national emergency,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Oakland’s role in this operation is to support our state and federal authorities as they conduct a critical public health mission to help those impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “I appreciate Governor Newsom’s leadership and have been assured no one will be quarantined in Oakland, nor will any passengers be released into the general public. True to our community values, Oakland is a safe harbor for all.”
“The Port will provide assistance as necessary for the safe disembarkation of the passengers,” said Danny Wan, Director of the Port of Oakland. “There has been close coordination to assure that port operations, port workers and the community are not impacted.”
“The health of our Bay Area community is our top concern, and we’ve been working across federal and state agencies to protect it,” said Colleen Chawla, Alameda County Public Health Officer.
“With a thousand California residents on the ship, it only makes sense that we all work together to help those in this crisis and ensure that they are quarantined, tested and make their way home when it is safe to do so,” said Senator Nancy Skinner.
“California values mean protecting the public and helping those in a crisis. We’re doing both. We are committed to supporting our federal and local health officials to help our fellow Californians get tested and be healthy, and to prevent any exposure to the general public,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta.