Day: November 12, 2020

What Does A Biden Presidency Mean For Travel?

The global pandemic has canceled or delayed most travel plans for 2020. Now that we’re in the waning weeks of the current calendar year, all eyes are looking to 2021. Specifically, many are wondering how a Biden presidency will impact their travel plans and the travel industry.

Stricter Travel Protocols?

Many are watching what Biden’s coronavirus task force comes up with as we enter the cold winter months. Inauguration Day is January 20, 2021, and we can expect several stricter measures to help contain infection rates.

Will There Be A Nationwide Travel Ban?

To a certain extent, disease experts believe infection rates can increase during the colder months. As the Biden administration will move into the White House in January, he will have to address above-average infection rates due to the cooler weather and the lack of preventative measures from the Trump administration.

One recommendation on the table is a national lockdown for at least 4-6 weeks. If a lockdown happens, no unessential travel will occur until the warmer spring weather arrives. The timing can be similar to when most states shut down in early 2020 at the pandemic’s onset.

High infection rates cause states and local cities to discourage non-essential travel. Several states also have mandatory quarantine or require a negative PCR test to waive the self-isolation period.

While it might feel like ancient history with everything going on this year, Europe is not allowing direct entry from the United States. The leading reason is that the United States has an excessive infection rate.

As a result, Americans have few international travel options until the threat of coronavirus dissipates.

Will There Be A National Mask Mandate?

President-elect Biden is advocating for a nationwide mask mandate. As federal law doesn’t give the president the ability to enact a national mandate, Biden states he will work with state leadership.

Approximately 34 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico currently have a mandatory mask mandate to reduce the potential spread. Even in states without mask mandates, many public attractions require wearing masks, such as theme parks and museums.

As more people wear masks, we might see increasing confidence for people to travel.

Will The U.S. Have A Contact Tracing App?

Another virus control strategy is emphasizing contract tracing. We might see a national contact tracing app. While most U.S. citizens can’t travel to Canada, Canada requires all incoming travelers to download the ArriveCAN app.

Contract tracing apps can include this information:

  • Your travel and contact information
  • Quarantine plan
  • Uploaded PCR test results
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessment

Several states already have a contact tracing app that you can download

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Biden Covid Advisor Floats Nationwide Shutdown For 4 To 6 Weeks

You may not want to lock in any travel plans for early 2021.

In an interview yesterday with Yahoo Finance, a key advisor on President-elect Biden’s Covid-19 taskforce floated the idea of a national lockdown for four to six weeks to control the pandemic.

“This is the virus versus us,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “We are entering this period that I call Covid hell.”

We continue to set records for new Covid-19 cases. Yesterday the United States recorded over 144,000 new positive cases, according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins University.

This current surge will be bigger, longer and deadlier than the first two, and is not expected to peak until mid-January, according to the often-cited model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine. By February 1, 2021, the illness will have claimed nearly 400,000 American lives.

When Joe Biden takes office in late January, said Osterholm, the country might need a nationwide circuit breaker to disrupt the spread of the virus. He said it’s possible to control the pandemic in a way that helps the economy instead of hurting it, by coupling a stimulus package with a lockdown.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” said Osterholm.

“If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks. We could drive the numbers down like they’ve done in Asia, like they did in New Zealand and Australia,” he continued. “And then we could really watch ourselves cruising into vaccine availability in the first or second quarter of next year, and bringing back the economy long before that.”

President-elect Biden appointed Osterholm to his 12-member Covid advisory board on Monday. The panel is co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of Yale University. Other key advisors include Dr. Rick Bright, the Trump administration vaccine expert turned whistleblower, and Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery and health policy at Harvard.

In the near term, public health experts and a growing number of state governors are raising red flags that the upcoming Thanksgiving travel weekend is shaping up to be a superspreader event.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for Thanksgiving deems “attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household” to be high risk. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes Covid-19,” according to the CDC. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”


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Hotel association urging lawmakers to pass coronavirus relief before next Congress sworn in

The American Hotel & Lodging Association is urging federal lawmakers to pass new coronavirus relief before the next Congress takes over because of the group’s fear that Americans will not travel for the upcoming holiday season.

AHLA said a survey it commissioned by Morning Consult found that 72% of Americans are unlikely to travel for this month’s Thanksgiving holiday and 69% of respondents said they are unlikely to travel for the Christmas holiday in December.

“Fewer people will be traveling, and business travel remains nearly non-existent. That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass a relief bill now,” Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO, said in a statement. “Millions of Americans are out of work, and thousands of small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. We cannot afford to wait until the next Congress is sworn in for relief. They need help now.”

While promising news about coronavirus vaccine candidates have emerged in recent days, the long-term outlook for the hospitality industry remains dire. The Morning Consult survey for AHLA found 44% of respondents either have no plans to stay in a hotel or their next hotel stay for vacation travel is more than a year away.

Morning Consult’s poll surveyed 2,200 adults from Nov. 2-4 online with a plus or minus margin of error of 2 percentage points. AHLA bills itself as the only national association representing all segments of the lodging industry and has existed for more than 100 years, according to its website.

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Travelers are using fake COVID-19 test results

As coronavirus cases continue to rise and some countries are requiring negative COVID-19 test results in order to gain entry, travelers are buying counterfeit or fake results.

French police arrested seven people last week at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport for selling fake results, The Associated Press reported. The suspects charged $180-$360 for falsified certificates and could face up to five years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

People in Brazil have also been accused of falsifying results. Four tourists were arrested last month for using altered testing results when they arrived in the popular beach area Fernando de Noronha, USA Today reported.

They presented three-day-old test results, which were rejected by officials because the island requires negative results no older than 24 hours, according to the publication. The tourists then presented results with a different date and were arrested after a lab confirmed that they had changed the dates on the tests.

A man in England admitted to The Lancashire Telegraph that he doctored his friend’s test results and used it to travel internationally.

Some states have required travelers to present their test results electronically instead of through in-person forms. Hawaii, which requires negative COVID-19 test results for entry since Oct. 15, mandates that visitors register online before travel and upload their results from a lab within 72 hours of traveling.

Spain is the latest country to require negative test results, announcing Wednesday that starting Nov. 23, travelers from “high-risk” countries will need to submit a negative test within 72 hours of travel, The Associated Press reported.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Summer Lin is a McClatchy Real-Time News Reporter. She graduated from Columbia University School of Journalism and was previously a News and Politics Writer for Bustle News.

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Coyo Taco to open new concepts in Moxy Miami Beach hotel

A rendering of The Upside bar at the Moxy South Beach hotel, which is due to open in January 2021.

A rendering of The Upside bar at the Moxy South Beach hotel, which is due to open in January 2021.

The Moxy South Beach hotel isn’t even open yet, but you can officially start to look forward to eating and drinking there.

Lightstone, the developer of three Moxy Hotels in New York, has just made a deal with the Coyo Taco team to open six eating and drinking spots in the Miami Beach hotel, located on Washington Avenue.

The six new concepts are:

Como Como: a seafood restaurant and raw bar

Mezcalista: a mezcal lounge

Serena: an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar with seasonal dishes (and cocktails)

Los Buenos: a taco stand and bodega in the hotel lobby

Bar Moxy: a lobby bar and contactless check-in area

The Upside: a rooftop bar on the hotel’s eighth floor with views of Miami Beach, exclusively for hotel guests and private events

“This exciting partnership with Moxy South Beach gives us an opportunity to expand our creativity, showcasing our love for Miami’s diverse cultures and exploration of cuisines across regions,” said Alan Drummond, co-founder of Coyo Taco and 1-800-Lucky in a press release. “We pride ourselves in offering menus and experiences that transcend generations and demographics, just like Moxy Hotels, so we couldn’t be more thrilled for this like-minded collaboration to come to life.”

The eight-story Moxy South Beach is due to open early in 2021 with 202 rooms, a 72-foot, cabana-lined pool; an outdoor movie screening room on the roof and an exclusive beach club.

Exterior .jpg
A rendering of the Moxy South Beach hotel on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

Connie Ogle loves wine, books and the Miami Heat. Please don’t make her eat a mango.

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Albany airport first to get GE Aviation’s safe travel technology

COLONIE — Albany International Airport on Thursday will debut an app developed by General Electric Co. that will provide updated information on cleaning routines designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

GE’s Wellness Trace App will read QR barcodes at 45 locations throughout the airport. Travelers can scan the codes with their smartphones to learn how recently each location was sanitized and how frequently. The information is updated each time the area is cleaned.

Lavatories, seating areas, ticket counters and other high-touch areas are among the locations covered by the app developed for the airport by GE Aviation’s Digital Group.

Travelers can obtain the information by using their smartphones to scan the QR barcode.

“Today there’s 45 places at the airport” with QR barcodes travelers can access, said Andrew Coleman, general manager of GE Aviation’s Digital Group, “ranging from lavatories to Chick-fil-A,” one of the airport’s most popular concessions.

One goal is to expand the technology to taxicabs and to services such as Uber and Lyft, and to aircraft and other airports, Coleman said.

“We’re proud to have Albany International as our launch customer,” Coleman said. “The app is helping them closely track Covid-19 cleaning protocols today, with the potential to track other health screening as the industry and regulators navigate safe travel in a post-pandemic world.”

Albany’s airport was a natural place to introduce Wellness Trace App. GE Research in Niskayuna, which worked with GE Aviation on the technology, is a 10-minute ride from the airport, and GE officials are heavy users of the airport. Meanwhile, airport CEO Philip Calderone has been a proponent of using advanced technology to keep travelers safe “from curbside to the boarding gate,” he said in an interview this week. “We’ll be the cleanest and perhaps the smartest airport,” he said, adding that a new airport master plan now being developed seeks to have Albany serve “as an incubator for new smart technologies.”

GE Aviation is a major supplier of jet engines to the world’s airlines, as well as aircraft avionics and electrical power systems, and it hasn’t been immune to the impact the pandemic has had on air travel. The new technology eventually could help airlines seat passengers to minimize the threat of Covid-19 and make them more confident in the safety of air travel.

GE also is looking at ways to minimize the threat anywhere crowds gather, including hotels, conference centers and other venues. The company is working along those lines with Formula One racing in Europe, Coleman said.

Another location where the app can add value to the airport is the area before the security checkpoint, said Amy Linsebigler, a chief scientist at GE Research. GE already has technology to manage patient flow and the use of surgical suites in hospitals, and can apply that to the flow of passengers through security checkpoints, she said.

“We’re working on social distancing and queuing even before they get to the security checkpoint,” said Calderone.

GE researchers plan to use artificial intelligence and

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Keep your gathering small and don’t travel

With the number of coronavirus cases rising in nearly every state, officials have a blunt message about Thanksgiving: Don’t hold large gatherings this year.

a group of people standing around a bag of luggage

© Provided by NBC News

From coast to coast, governors and other officials are imposing restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving and pleading with residents to be cautious of the risk of transmitting Covid-19 in their homes or during their travels.

New York state issues new restrictions as coronavirus cases surge



In New York, a state teetering on the edge of a second wave of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that all gatherings must be capped at 10 people — even in private homes. The limit was imposed after a spike in Covid-19 cases from small indoor gatherings around Halloween, according to Cuomo, and brings New York in line with health measures already in place in other states, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

In neighboring New Jersey, where the coronavirus positivity rate is soaring, Gov. Phil Murphy this week issued restrictions on bars and restaurants, but added that individual residences are behind much of the trend in rising cases.

“As it relates to your private setting, we just have to plead with people to not let your guard down, to keep your gatherings as small as possible and to keep fighting this,” Murphy said Thursday on the “TODAY” show.

“Don’t let your hair down, even when you’re in your own home, even when you’re celebrating holidays with your loved ones,” he added.

‘Everything is going in the wrong direction,’ New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to spend it with your own household, given that even asymptomatic people can spread Covid-19.

If you are spending the holiday at someone else’s house, the CDC suggests bringing your own plates and utensils, avoiding going in and out of areas where food is being prepared and wearing a mask when not eating. The federal health agency encouraged holding a Thanksgiving meal outdoors, setting expectations ahead of time for how to safely celebrate and designating one person to serve the food.

In Texas, the first state in the nation to top more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, the top public health official in the Austin area urged that Thanksgiving plans with extended family be reconsidered.

“The strongest advice is don’t gather with people outside of your household this Thanksgiving,” Dr. Mark Escott said, according to The Austin American-Statesman. “If you choose to do that, despite the very strong advice to not do it, then doing other things to protect yourselves is important.”

And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Department of Public Health last month said singing, chanting or shouting — which increase the release of respiratory droplets and fine aerosols — are discouraged during indoor holiday gatherings.

Because travel increases your chances of getting and spreading

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Southwest report shows rising virus cases are hitting travel

DALLAS — Southwest Airlines cautioned Thursday that the tenuous recovery in air travel could be fading as coronavirus cases spike across the United States.

The nation’s fourth-biggest airline said after a modest rise in leisure-travel bookings from August through October, it now sees a slowdown in what were improving revenue trends for November and December.

Airline stocks surged on Monday after Pfizer reported promising early results from a trial of a coronavirus vaccine. However, the stocks have retreated as new confirmed cases of COVID-19 soared this week, topping 140,000, to set a new record Wednesday.

The report from Dallas carrier added to fears that the spreading virus cases will hurt travel demand heading into Thanksgiving, a key period for airlines.

Southwest said in a regulatory filing that October revenue is down about 65% from a year ago, and that November and December revenue will be off 60% to 65%. It is unclear whether the weakening booking trends is directly related to the surge in virus cases. Other industry officials left little doubt, however.

“Demand is softening, and in the wake of the news, it’s probably not hard to figure out why,” said Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America.

– in the U.S., it’s down about 65% from a year ago. Although that is improvement over April’s 95% decline, Calio told reporters that U.S. airlines are still losing about $180 million a day.

Airlines have added more flights for Thanksgiving, but health officials are warning against big gatherings over the holiday. This week, New York limited private gatherings to 10 people, even for outdoor events.

Travel restrictions designed to stop spreading the virus have upended the airline business. The top nine U.S. carriers have lost $36 billion so far this year, according to Airlines for America. Business travel and international routes have been particularly hard-hit.

Canada, Europe and much of Asia are closed to most Americans. Mexico is a relative bright spot, with travel there from the U.S. down only 41%, to 1.3 million passengers in October. With other nations cut off, the Dominican Republic is now the second-biggest destination for U.S. international travelers, according to the airline trade group.

In midday trading, share of Southwest and United Airlines were down less than 1%, while American and Delta were up less than 1%.

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Thanksgiving travel will look different this year, according to AAA


If you can’t visit family due to the COVID-19 pandemic, host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner instead.


Fewer Americans are planning to travel for Thanksgiving this year, according to AAA and Tripadvisor, with shorter stays and social distance from family and friends.

AAA predicts 50 million people will travel for the holiday this year, down 10% from the 55 million who traveled last year, before the coronavirus pandemic.

As in years past, the vast majority of those are expected to drive to their destinations. AAA projects that 47.8 million Americans will hit the road over the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s a 4.3% decline from last year.

“The decision to travel is a personal one,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure.”

The Thanksgiving forecast is the only holiday travel forecast AAA has issued this year.

AAA predicts that Americans will drive shorter distances this year and not stay as long. According to Tripadvisor, 22% of travelers will stay in a hotel or vacation rental to social distance from their family and friends.

A quarter are planning to take day trips or spending one night at their destination.

“This year, we can expect shorter trips with smaller groups of people for more intimate, close-knit gatherings,” said Christopher Hsi, consumer market research lead analyst for Tripadvisor.

Much bigger declines are expected in other travel modes. AAA predicts 2.4 million Americans will fly over Thanksgiving, down 47.5% from last year. Even fewer will take trains, buses or cruise ships. No cruises have sailed since March in U.S. waters due to coronavirus outbreaks on several ships.

Only 353,000 people are forecast to use those modes, down 76.2% from last year.

Those hitting the road may benefit from lower gas prices. The current average price of $2.12 a gallon is nearly 50 cents lower than it was a year ago, according to AAA.

Tripadvisor forecasts that Wednesday, Nov. 25, will be the busiest departure day, while Friday, Nov. 27, will be the biggest departure day.

Tripadvisor also notes that travelers are booking stays at sun-soaked destinations for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The most popular destinations include Key Largo and Key West, in Florida, and Sedona and Scottsdale, Arizona. Less popular holiday destinations include New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee.


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How to book holiday travel without risk of losing money, full refund

  • Travelers are preparing to take to the skies this holiday season should book their flights carefully to avoid losing money if the pandemic worsens. 
  • Airlines are waiving change and cancellation fees but that doesn’t mean a refund if you have to cancel.
  • Using airline points and miles or travel credits can help ensure maximum flexibility and help get the best deal.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The onset of the pandemic in March saw thousands of travelers rush to cancel flights as the global outbreak decimated the ability to travel. Non-essential travel was discouraged and outright banned internationally as borders swiftly closed, and staying at home became en vogue.

With the public settling into a pandemic entering its eighth month and Thanksgiving fast approaching, many are pondering a return to the skies to visit friends and relatives. The winter holiday season, after all, has historically been the busiest travel time of the year for Americans thanks to the cluster of family-oriented holidays in a three-month span. 

But the pandemic has inflicted an ever-changing new normal and US cities and states that are currently a low-risk could become the next epicenters in a matter of weeks, casting doubt on future travel plans. Airlines realizing this have done away with some change and cancellation fees while providing new tools that are making it easier to hedge travel plans this holiday season, if used properly.

Travelers booking flights should follow a basic principle of avoiding shelling cash – or avoid it as much as possible –since the possibility of a refund is slim for a customer-initiated cancelation. If paying with cash is the only option, flyers should consider a refundable ticket or settle for the fact that they’ll likely only receive a travel credit for future travel.

Cash tickets can also be refunded if an airline initiates a flight cancellation or makes a change to a flight after you’ve booked it. Our guide to schedule changes outlines under which circumstances a flyer can get a refund for a non-refundable ticket.

Here are two ways to protect your wallet during the holiday travel rush. 

Using a travel credit or gift card

Delta Air Lines gift card

A Delta Air Lines gift card.


Flyers who’ve canceled a flight due to the pandemic are likely sitting on a pile of travel credit from the airline with which they booked. It’s like a gift card in that the value can only be used on that one airline. 

Using up these credits for the holiday can help avoid a cash purchase and prevent a loss if the flight needs to be canceled for any reason. Airlines may just issue another credit if the trip ultimately needs to be canceled and no cash will be lost, though that depends on the airline.

Credits also have an expiration date so it’s better to use them now if a trip is guaranteed to be a go. They usually expire after a year from issuance but some airlines are extending those dates as travel

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