Day: November 13, 2020

California, Oregon and Washington issue Covid travel advisory urging 14-day quarantine

  • The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint coronavirus travel advisory on Friday urging people arriving to their states to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • The West Coast states also advised people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that traveling can increase someone’s chance of spreading and becoming infected with the coronavirus.

a person sitting in a car: A masked passenger is seen seated on a flight from San Francisco, California to Newark, New Jersey on October 27, 2020.

© Provided by CNBC
A masked passenger is seen seated on a flight from San Francisco, California to Newark, New Jersey on October 27, 2020.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued a joint coronavirus travel advisory on Friday urging people arriving to their states to self-quarantine for 14 days and asking residents to avoid all non-essential out-of-state trips.

The Pacific Northwest states said essential travel includes people who are traveling for “work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security,” according to a statement.

The Democratic governors also recommended that travelers limit their interactions with only people in their households.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

The travel advisory is voluntary, according to Newsom’s office, which sent out a statement saying the best enforcement is “encouraging others to be respectable and be responsible by taking action. Asking people to do the right thing is the most powerful enforcement tool we have.”

Friday’s travel warning comes as families across the country modify their holiday plans and university students plan their return trips home amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in nearly every corner of the U.S.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on a call late last week that the state would ramp up enforcement at its airports during the holiday season to ensure arriving travelers follow quarantine and testing requirements.

Cuomo said he plans to send in more National Guard to help enforce the state’s travel advisory, adding that he spoke with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about increasing the New York City Police Department’s presence as well.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that traveling can increase someone’s chance of spreading and becoming infected with the coronavirus. The safest option is to stay home, the CDC’s guidance says.

When it comes to traveling by air, people should be aware that the risk isn’t limited to sitting on the plane alone, said Keri Althoff, an associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, during a media call Thursday.

Althoff cautioned that standing in line, especially if travelers are less than 6 feet away

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Saving Weasel: Walla Walla animal control officer comes to rescue while on vacation in Gig Harbor | News

Toni Froehling and his wife, Sara Tidd, are unlikely to forget Walla Walla anytime soon.

Especially the city’s animal control officer, Sallie McCullough, whose actions and knowledge of animals prevented a tragedy for the Yelm, Washington, couple last month.

It was late October when Froehling and a friend took a boat into the Puget Sound waters off Gig Harbor with Froehling’s three dogs while his wife was on a camping trip with friends.

Tidd is retired, and Froehling is wrapping up a 45-year legal career. The two have been together three years, and life mostly revolves around their dogs, they said.

“And our cat, ‘Jeffrey Dahmer,’” Froehling said with a laugh.

Family pooches Louie, Farley and Weasel are all good sailors, he said, and are comfortable with being on the couple’s 50-foot boat.

The plan was to sail the harbor that Saturday, get some lunch at a dockside restaurant on the other side and return home.

When Froehling started back toward home, however, the weather turned bad about 4 miles from shore.

“By now the wind was driving 3-to-4-foot waves,” he recalled.

Not a problem for a boat that size, Froehling explained, “but the dogs were not happy. It was bouncing around inside the boat pretty good.”

Louie, a poodle, sat watching. Farley, the Australian shepherd, flattened out on the floor.

Weasel, a blue heeler, first jumped onto the boat’s dashboard, then zoomed down into the cabin.

That’s Weasel’s way in rough seas — she jumps into the bed and hides until the boat is safely moored.

Froehling assumed that was the case this time. But when he called the dog’s name after docking, no Weasel appeared.

The men searched the boat. When it became clear Weasel had jumped or fallen overboard, they headed back out to look in the harbor.

“If you had seen the water, the whitecaps, it was rough. We just felt like there was no hope. We both felt just sick,” Froehling said, his voice still laden with the agony of that moment.

There was nothing to do but call Tidd and deliver the bad news, he added.

“I cried through the night, and Sara was a disaster.”

In another part of Gig Harbor, Sallie McCullough was vacationing with friends at Sunrise Beach Park.

The community is tiny, she said, and their rental was part of a tightly packed row of tiny houses next to a tiny beach, separated from the water by a 15-foot high rock wall and a few feet of gravelly sand.

Just to reach the house requires parking up top a hill and traversing a winding path that then weaves around the cottages and along the retaining wall.

McCullough and the others were walking there when the 18-year-old in their group spotted what first appeared to be a deer ahead on the path.

Deer freely roam the area and munch on lawns, McCullough said, and she advised the young man to proceed slowly so as not to scare the animal.

In a

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Layoffs hit Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s nonprofit partner

The nonprofit that supports the Golden Gate National Recreation Area says it will lay off more than a quarter of its staff, or about 108 employees, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Like much of the tourism sector, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy has been forced to scale back operations, which include running tours and visitor centers at such popular spots as Alcatraz, Muir Woods and the Marin Headlands. The reductions have cut deep into the organization’s budget.

As a result, the organization is facing hard decisions about what programs, from education to ecological restoration to facility improvements, it can afford to continue across the recreation area’s 84,000 acres of Bay Area lands. About a third of the staff was temporarily cut over the summer, and now the conservancy says many of those furloughs will become permanent, effective Dec. 31.

“This year has been tough for everyone, there’s no way around it,” Christine Lehnertz, the organization’s president and CEO, said in an emailed statement to The Chronicle.

The 400-person conservancy been a partner with the National Park Service since 1981. Last year alone, the group estimates that it rallied thousands of volunteers and contributed $47 million worth of services to GGNRA.

The recreation area, which consists of a constellation of park sites from San Mateo County to Marin County, is one of the busiest properties in the National Park Service. In 2019, the area counted 15 million visits.

The conservancy operates the GGNRA’s visitor centers and shops, and conducts a wide range of programs in the park, from building trails in the Presidio to bringing school groups to Hawk Hill to restoring habitat for coho salmon in Muir Woods.

One of the group’s most lucrative services is providing self-guided audio tours at Alcatraz, which have ceased since the cellhouse closed with the pandemic. Along with sales of merchandise, the tours account for nearly 60% of the conservancy’s revenues.

The organization estimates that its annual operating budget of about $55 million will be less than half that next fiscal year.

The Presidio Trust, which manages most of the GGNRA’s Presidio, has also been hit hard by the pandemic. Earlier this year, the agency laid off about 20% of its 350 employees. The trust is financially dependent on leases with housing and businesses in the Presidio, including restaurants and inns, which have struggled this year.

Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @kurtisalexander

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New Magical Vacation Planner joins the chamber | Local Business News

New Magical Vacation Planner joins the chamber

Debbie King cuts the ribbon at a ceremony Thursday at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce celebrating her joining the chamber with her new business, Magical Vacation Planner. She is surrounded by family and chamber ambassadors.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Magical Vacation Planner Debbie King celebrated joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at the chamber office.

She was joined by family and chamber ambassadors.

King joins more than a thousand agents around the country who are Magical Vacation Planners. She is the third in Florence.

King said the company was started in 2006, but she became an agent in January.

She said they plan vacations at all Disney resorts, Adventures Disney, inclusive resorts and major cruise line cruises. King said she plans honeymoon destinations, destination weddings and other special occasions.

She said her services are free to the vacationer. Her fees are paid by the vendor.

“I work out of my home,” King said.

King said she and her family have taken lots of Disney vacations over past 20 years, and she has first-hand knowledge of locations and sights.

King said planning a vacation can be time-consuming and stressful. It can take time away from your family, she said. She said selecting a Magical Vacation Planner is the best way to make sure you get the most out of your vacation.

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Coroner: Washington man shot at Boise hotel, died at hospital

The Ada County Coroner’s Office has identified a man shot and killed last month in Boise.

Gamaliel Nava Garzon, 42, of Kennewick, Washington, died in the emergency room of the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center after he was shot inside a La Quinta Inn and Suites in Boise, according to a news release from the coroner’s office.

Police were called to the hotel in the 7000 block of Emerald Street and found Garzon before taking him to the hospital.

Hospital staffers attempted life-saving measures, but Garzon was pronounced dead about 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 30. He died from a single gunshot wound, and the death was ruled a homicide.

After Garzon’s death, Idaho police arrested Eava June-McCarthy, 18, of Nampa, on accusations of second-degree murder and destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Boise detectives believe that June-McCarthy and Garzon knew each other.

June-McCarthy’s preliminary court hearing is set for Nov. 20 in Boise. She has yet to enter a plea to either of her charges.

As of Friday, June-McCarthy was still in the custody of the Ada County jail on $2 million bail.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

Jacob Scholl is a breaking news reporter for the Idaho Statesman. Before starting at the Statesman in March 2020, Jacob worked for newspapers in Missouri and Utah. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri.

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A grand New York hotel with an intimate feel

a group of people walking in front of a building

© Provided by The Independent

In a nutshell: A grand hotel experience with an intimacy that feels like staying at your (very) rich best friend’s mansion

Price point: ££££

The neighbourhood

The Mark is a single block from Central Park, even less distance to some of New York’s most prestigious stores, and right at the centre of the city’s most upscale and affluent neighborhood; the Upper East side is the spot to be in for low-key luxury while still being able to get anywhere worth going pretty quickly. Cabs and Ubers are going to get you to midtown in minutes, your legs will get you to the park in seconds.

The look

An imposing building on the Upper East Side for almost 200 years, the entire place was renovated and re-imagined in 2009 by French designer Jacques Grange. You enter to black and white geometric decor slashed with bright orange accents and a grand staircase, yet for a hotel of its size the reception area feels surprisingly cosy and intimate.

It feels sexy and swish, but also bold and exciting. Hiding behind it all is a restaurant and bar, gently lit by warm, floor-to-ceiling red-orange lamps, that feels like an oasis of calm in the centre of one of the busiest cities on earth.

The vibe

It’s a big hotel with a boutique feel – a bit like staying at your (very) rich best-friend’s mansion. It feels like the perfect spot for a weekend staycation for New Yorkers, or a really special base from which to explore the city for those visiting from further afield. You enter the hotel past well-dressed outdoor diners poised to see and be seen, alongside an eye-catching flower stand and boutique hot dog cart. Check-in was fast, polite, with plenty of helpful tips on how to get the most out of our stay.

In this era of Covid, The Mark felt on-the-ball, with a temperature check at the door, and boxes of tissues in the elevator with which to press the floor buttons, along with a trash can to instantly dispose of them.

Bed and bath

We stayed in the Seventy Seven King room with views out over its namesake street to the city skyline beyond. The room takes up 500-square-feet with a long, wide foyer corridor, huge bedroom area, and spacious bathroom. Furnishings are a mix of ebony, nickel and sycamore with fine Italian linens and bedding. The TV is fairly easy to connect to a mobile device for custom viewing.

a bedroom with a large bed in a room: The bedrooms are airy, high-ceilinged, with premium viewsThe Mark hotel

© Provided by The Independent

The bedrooms are airy, high-ceilinged, with premium views

The Mark hotel

In the black and white marble bathroom, there’s a deep-soaking tub and separate shower with an immensely powerful, invigorating water jet, all with smart nickel fixtures and fittings. There’s a mirrored flat-screen television set which I was unable to figure out how to work, and Italian toiletries packaged under The Mark’s own branding.

The minibar was one of the best-stocked I’ve seen, with a vast array of

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Which airlines are blocking middle seats for Thanksgiving travel: Southwest, Delta

  • Five US airlines are blocking middle seats or limiting capacity for the Thanksgiving holidays.
  • Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and JetBlue Airways have all committed to blocking seats through turkey day but not all will keep the policy much longer.
  • After Thanksgiving, only two airlines have committed to blocking seats for the Christmas and New Year holidays. 

US airlines are facing a crossroads this holiday season as to whether they should block middle seats or open them booking as a travel-hungry populace ponders a return to the skies to visit family, friends, and relatives.

With the start of the holiday season less than a month away, consumers are looking now to book flights for the Thanksgiving-New Year’s travel period. October saw airlines solidify their plans for turkey day and beyond with some announcing definitive ends to their seat blocking policies. 

Coming off a third-quarter in which some airlines saw billion-dollar losses, opening the seats will allow for much-needed revenue during what is normal the busiest travel season of the year. October 18 saw the first day since March that the US had over one million daily passengers, indicating a willingness for the country to get back in the air.

Those airlines choosing not to extend their middle seat policies are pointing to new scientific findings that show limited signs of spread among passengers that wear masks and low transmission rates among some of the most frequent flyers, flight attendants. High-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters for short, are largely to thank as air is refreshed every few minutes.

Read More: Airline workers have lower rates of COVID-19 than the general population — and airline CEOs say it’s proof that flying is safe

Critics, however, are skeptical that the studies on which the airlines are basing their decisions, some of which were performed in partnership with United Airlines and Boeing, are reliable, as Business Insider’s David Slotnick reported. The studies, critics say, didn’t account for smaller narrow-body aircraft and passengers taking off their masks to eat and drink. 

Here’s which airlines are keeping the dreaded middle seat blocked this Thanksgiving.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Sky Club Terminal 4 JFK Airport

A Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-400ER as seen from the Delta Sky Club at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Thomas Pallini/Business Insider

Delta was the first airline to announce it would be blocking middle seats – and some aisle seats on planes without middle seats – into 2021 with the current policy extended until January 6, 2021. Groups of two sitting in a three-seat row will be assigned and aisle and window seat with the middle kept open while groups of three or more can have the entire row. 

The policy won’t likely last forever, or even until the end of 2021. CEO Ed Bastian said that the airline expects to discontinue the policy by mid-2021 as demand increases and Delta hopes to breakeven on its daily operations. 

Business Insider recently toured Delta’s operation at John F. Kennedy International Airport to

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An American man was jailed after leaving a negative review of a Thai hotel, and TripAdvisor has now issued a warning on the resort’s page

a large body of water: Koh Chang in Thailand. Getty/Chakarin Wattanamongkol

© Getty/Chakarin Wattanamongkol
Koh Chang in Thailand. Getty/Chakarin Wattanamongkol

  • TripAdvisor has placed a warning message on the page of a Thai hotel that arrested a guest on defamation charges after he wrote negative reviews.
  • Sea View Resort claims American Wesley Barnes wrote “a series of harassment reviews” which led to its legal action.
  • Barnes was arrested and spent two nights in prison, facing a potential two-year sentence.
  • TripAdvisor paid Barnes’ legal fees and all three parties reportedly reached a deal that would see charges dropped and the review deleted, but the hotel claims the travel site went back on its agreement not to add a warning message.
  • In a statement, TripAdvisor said it “strongly opposes any action where a business, like the Sea View Hotel & Spa in Koh Chang, uses local law to send someone to jail for expressing their opinion.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

TripAdvisor has placed a warning message on the page of a hotel in Thailand after one of its guests was accused of defamation for writing a negative review.

American Wesley Barnes was facing up to two years in prison and spent two nights in a Thai jail after Sea View Resort in Koh Chang had him arrested over a negative TripAdvisor review, as Insider’s Kelly McLaughlin previously reported.

Sea View Resort’s Tripadvisor page now has a red message at the top warning potential guests, which reads:

“This hotel or individuals associated with this hotel filed criminal charges against a TripAdvisor user in relation to the traveler writing and posting online reviews. The reviewer spent time in jail as a result. TripAdvisor serves its users best when travelers are free to share their opinions and experiences on our platform – both positive and negative. The hotel may have been exercising its legal rights under local law, however, it is our role to inform you so you may take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.”

graphical user interface, text, application, email: The red warning badge on the Sea View Resort Tripadvisor page. Tripadvisor

© Tripadvisor
The red warning badge on the Sea View Resort Tripadvisor page. Tripadvisor

TripAdvisor said in a statement that it “strongly opposes” establishments using local laws to punish travelers for expressing their opinion.

However, Sea View Resort told Insider that Tripadvisor “went back on their word,” claiming all parties had reached an agreement that would not involve any message being placed on the website.

Wesley Barnes, who lives in Thailand, visited the island resort in June 2020 and has been accused of posting multiple negative reviews.

He left a one-star review of the property, titled: “Unfriendly staff and horrible restaurant manager.”

Barnes wrote: “Unfriendly staff, no one ever smiles. They act like they don’t want anyone there. The restaurant manager was the worst. He is from the Czech Republic. He is extremely rude and impolite to guests. Find another place. There are plenty with nicer staff that are happy you are staying with them.”

However, Barnes had also posted another now-deleted review, which accused Sea View Resort of “modern slavery,” according to the hotel.

Sea View

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Inside Singapore’s first ‘cruise to nowhere,’ where vacation-starved guests took turns using the pool and carried contact tracing devices everywhere they went

Sophie-Claire Hoeller

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Major Data Breach On Travel Sites; Mastercard Looks Beyond Cards

Credit Card Info of Millions of Guests Leaked in Travel Site Data Breach

If you’ve traveled any time since 2013, it might be time to check your bank accounts. Three of the web’s biggest travel sites have leaked personal and financial data for millions of users, including payment card details. Prestige Software is a Spanish developer that owns reservation software called Cloud Hospitality. It’s designed to help automate hotel listings on websites like and for online booking. Security researchers from Website Planet found that Cloud Hospitality stored information from more than 10 million travelers on an unsecured database with no password protection. []

Mastercard’s Next CEO Sees Big World Beyond Cards After Latest Real-Time Payments Deal

Mastercard next chief executive sees a big opportunity beyond credit cards as the company pushes deeper into real-time payments that run independent of the traditional card rails. Michael Miebach said the company wants to have the ability to connect any payer to payees, regardless of whether the parties are using cards, bank accounts, mobile wallets or other forms of payments. [MarketWatch]

CA Unemployment: Why is Bank of America Draining EDD Bank Accounts?

California’s Employment Development Department is fighting rampant fraud. But in the process, many unemployed workers say their accounts are frozen and their money is suddenly gone. Bank of America has been draining money out of countless EDD accounts, leaving many workers bewildered and without money. [KABC]

Wells Fargo Seeks Bidders For Private-Label Credit Card Unit

Wells Fargo is seeking to sell its private-label credit card and point-of-sale financing unit as part of an ongoing strategic review of its businesses. The banking group has started reaching out to possible bidders, but still hasn’t made a definitive decision as to whether it will actually sell the unit, which specializes in store-branded credit cards. Selling the private-label credit card unit would be a business reversal for the financial services group. [PYMNTS]

Consumers Prefer Mobile Pay

Over 74% of Americans used their phone to order and pay for food and merchandise at least once a week, with nearly 48% using their phones for purchases several times a week or more. More than half of Americans (54.8%) used their phone for online retail purchases (i.e.: Amazon
) and 9.3% used their phone for in-store purchase, such as “tap to pay” at checkout. But 55% of consumers still prefer using credit cards. [Mobile Payments Today]

Citi Sees Quick Results from True Name Cards for Trans, Nonbinary Consumers

When Citi last month announced that transgender customers could use their preferred name on their credit cards, the bank was unsure of what to expect. The response exceeded expectations, with more than 1,600 Citi customers requesting a name-change on their cards within the first few weeks of the program. To build on that momentum, Citi is putting marketing weight behind the initiative. [Payments Source]

Chase Launches New Bonus Offer Worth Up to 70,000 Miles on the United Explorer

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