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COVID-19 precautions update: 2020 River Quest, Duluth passenger cruise ship visits canceled

Friday, April 24, 2020

DULUTH, Minn. -- Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced yesterday the continuation of distance learning through the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued a similar order last week. Those moves coincide with an earlier decision by the St. Louis River Quest board of directors to cancel the perennial waterfront education event originally scheduled for May 11-14, 2020.

River Quest draws 1,500 sixth-graders annually, providing hands-on learning outside classroom walls. Attendees explore topics specific to the St. Louis River Estuary, the Duluth-Superior harbor and the port's working waterfront. River Quest learning stations at the DECC and aboard the Vista Star align directly with Minnesota and Wisconsin science and social studies standards. More than 25,000 sixth-grade students from throughout the St. Louis River watershed have experienced River Quest since its inception in 1993.

"It's certainly a disappointment to cancel this year's River Quest, but the health and safety of these children and our fellow community members is of greater importance," said Brian Resch, president of the River Quest board of directors. "We'll turn our attention to bringing the event back, bigger and better than ever, in 2021."

Cruise companies cancel 2020 ship excursions to Duluth

In keeping with North American federal agencies' COVID-19 precautionary measures, cruise companies canceled all 2020 passenger cruise ship visits to Duluth.

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises planned two expeditions to Duluth for June 2020, both carrying sold-out manifests of 230 passengers with an itinerary of local shore excursions. These visits, which would have been the first cruise ship arrivals in Duluth since 2013, are canceled.

Cruise companies hope to reinitiate Great Lakes cruising voyages in 2021 and beyond.

"The Port Authority, Visit Duluth, the DECC and the City of Duluth look forward to when cruise ships can once again ply the Great Lakes safely and enjoy America's ‘Fresh Coast,'" said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "But the top priority is passenger and community safety, so postponing these visits for now is clearly prudent. We'll continue working with our community partners and cruising partners on developing future plans."

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Approximately 800 vessels and 35 million short tons of cargo move through the Port of Duluth-Superior each year, making it the Great Lakes' largest tonnage port and one of the nation's top 20. The Port supports 8,000 jobs and contributes $1.4 billion in business revenue to the regional economy. Learn more at DuluthPort.com.

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