Day: November 14, 2020

West Coast states issue travel advisory ahead of Thanksgiving

West Coast states are jointly asking anyone who arrives from out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days.



a airplane that is flying in the sky: West Coast states issue travel advisory ahead of Thanksgiving


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West Coast states issue travel advisory ahead of Thanksgiving

The new advisories in California, Washington and Oregon are meant to discourage nonessential travel and apply to both residents and nonresidents.

The travel advisories recommend individuals limit their interactions to their immediate household, defining essential travel as travel for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security.

The advisories reflect the reality that the coronavirus is spreading uncontrollably across the country, and are meant to dissuade large gatherings of people ahead of Thanksgiving.

But unlike some other states, quarantine is not mandated.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said in a statement. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

California on Thursday became the second state to hit 1 million cases, and its positivity rate has climbed to 4.2 percent in recent weeks.

Several cities in the state have imposed new restrictions amid rising case numbers, including San Francisco, which has prohibited indoor dining and reduced capacities in gyms and movie theaters. It has also frozen plans for schools to return to in-person classes.

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CA health officials issue COVID-19 travel advisory

If you were planning to travel for Thanksgiving, the State of California is asking you not to do so.

But if you must, the state Department of Public Health has issued a travel advisory urging travelers to the state to observe a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival.

The advisory, which applies to California, Oregon and Washington, states that people traveling should limit their interactions to just those within their immediate household. The recommendation does not apply to those engaging in essential travel, such as those traveling for work, critical infrastructure support or for immediate medical care.

With coronavirus cases surging, the advisory encourages Californians to stay home or in their home region and to avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries.

“We’re encouraging Californians to stay close to home,to avoid non-essential travel to other states, and frankly, across the state, if that’s avoidable,“ said Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly during a Friday press conference.

The state is recommending that families engage in virtual gatherings as much as possible.

The state travel advisory, which is a recommendation and not mandatory, differs from the approach taken by the state of New York, which has issued a mandatory two-week quarantine period for all non-essential travelers from non-bordering states.

Ghaly stressed that the advisory was just that.

“It isn’t a ban. It isn’t a restriction. It’s an advisory,” Ghaly said. “(Yet) we certainly hope that the fact that it’s an advisory doesn’t lessen the voice and the emphasis on how important it is.”

Ghaly said that the state opted for a voluntary approach, instead of something more restrictive, in part because of Californians’ exhaustion with coronavirus lockdown orders. He has begun using the term “COVID resentment” to describe what some are experiencing.

He said state officials still hope that other measures they recommend, including wearing masks and avoiding mixing with members of multiple households, will avoid more restrictions that could hurt California businesses.

Ghaly said it would be difficult to police a state of 40 million people, and that the preferred approach is to work in partnership with Californians on voluntary measures.

“We are not looking today at a statewide stay-at-home order. We know many Californians are fatigued and tired,” Ghaly said. “All of that said, this is a quickly, rapidly evolving situation. Certainly these rates of rise are very concerning.”

Ghaly said self-quarantine means people should only have contact with immediate family members with whom they have regularly had contact. People in quarantine should not have in-person contact with others outside of their household, he said.

“This isn’t the time to put our guard down,” Ghaly said.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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D.C., New York and Washington state added to Massachusetts COVID high-risk list for out-of-state travel

Massachusetts added three more regions to its list of high-risk states for COVID-19.

Starting Saturday, people traveling to-and-from the District of Columbia, New York and Washington state will need to quarantine or get tested for coronavirus.

There are 44 states included on the high-risk list as of Saturday.

Gov. Charlie Baker enacted a travel order on August 1 mandating all visitors and residents entering Massachusetts following a high-risk area quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts.

Visitors are urged to obtain a negative result before traveling to Massachusetts.

Failure to comply with the order could result in a $500 fine per day.

Exemptions are allowed for travelers from lower-risk states, people commuting for work or school and patients seeking specialized medical care.

The current list of lower-risk states includes:

  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont

Massachusetts residents are urged to limit any out-of-state travel only to states designated as COVID-19 lower-risk areas.

Anyone arriving from an international destination must fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and must quarantine for 14 days or meet the 72-hour testing rule.

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West Coast states recommend 2-week travel quarantine

Three West Coast states issued a travel advisory Friday urging against nonessential travel and recommending quarantines for those who do travel between states and internationally.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee recommend travelers to their states and residents who leave and then return home self-quarantine for 14 days.

This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state borders for essential travel, which includes travel for work, study, critical infrastructure support, economic services, health, immediate medical care and safety.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold — one million COVID-19 cases — with no signs of the virus slowing down,” 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.”

Brown said in a video posted on Twitter on Thursday, “If we do not act immediately, we will soon reach a breaking point.”

Inslee sounded a similar warning.


“We have to rethink spending time with people from outside our households right now, including Thanksgiving and the December holidays,” he wrote on social media. “This is temporary. We will get back to normal. But right now, it is just too dangerous to gather.”

This news comes after 10 counties and one city in the greater Bay Area issued a similar travel advisory Monday. Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma, as well as the city of Berkeley, urged residents to stay local and asked those who do travel to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Brevard’s hotel tax revenue in pandemic wound up better than anticipated

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Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Peter Cranis (Photo: PROVIDED PHOTO)

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Collections from Brevard County’s tourist development tax on hotel rooms topped $13 million for the budget year that ended Sept. 30.

While down nearly $3 million from the previous budget year, the total was higher than what Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Peter Cranis feared it might be after the coronavirus pandemic hit and tourism took a nosedive.

“I can’t say that I’m pleased with these final results,” Cranis said in releasing the numbers. “Any time you turn in a performance that is in the negative, it is difficult to be happy. But, considering everything we’ve been through, I’d say I’m a bit relieved that we did as well as we did.”

The county’s 5% tourist development tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals raised $13.07 million in the 2019-20 budget year, an 18.4% decline from the $16.02 million collected in the 2018-19 budget year. The hotel tax revenue is a widely followed economic indicator of how the tourism sector is performing.

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More: Brevard County commissioners narrowly approve 40 arts, cultural grants

Those figures indicate that hotels, motels and other short-term rental accommodations like recreational-vehicle parks, campgrounds and condos had $261.4 million in revenue from their accommodations in the 2019-20 budget year. That’s down from $320.4 million in the 2018-19 budget year. Those figures do not include revenue from food, beverage and retail sales at hotels, which are not assessed the tourist development tax.

Revenue from the tax pays for the operations and programs of the Space Coast Office of Tourism.

The largest share of the hotel tax money — 47% — is targeted for promotion and advertising of Space Coast tourism in an effort to attract more tourists.

The rest of the money is allocated this way: 25% for beach improvement, 14% for capital facilities, 5% for the Brevard Zoo, 4% for cultural events, 3% for Space Coast Stadium and 2% for visitor information centers.

The final tax revenue numbers wound up about $2 million better than Cranis feared in March, when tourism was shut down by COVID-19. Around that time, Cranis lowered his estimate for the 2019-20 hotel tax collections from the pre-pandemic estimate of $16.6 million to $11 million before gradually raising his estimates as tourism started to recover.

“Other destinations like Orange and Osceola counties are hurting much more than us,” Cranis said.

Business travel to the Space Coast — including by government contractors and people connected with the space program — are helping local hotels fill their rooms, Cranis said.

But the continued shutdown of the cruise industry, including at Port Canaveral, has hurt, especially for hotels in the Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach area. Hotels in that area in 2018-19 represented 39.9% of all hotel tax collections. That figure fell to 36.6% in 2019-20, indicating

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West Coast governors urge COVID quarantine after travel

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging people entering or returning to their states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus as infections spike across the U.S.

The advisories stopped short of stricter rules imposed by other governors and instead said people should avoid non-essential out-of-state travel and quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” California Gov. 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.”

The effort two weeks before Thanksgiving — traditionally the busiest travel period of the year in the U.S. — coincides with warnings for people to rethink their holiday traditions and not gather in large groups or beyond their immediate families in settings where the virus could easily spread.

The West Coast states have some of the lowest number of cases per 100,000 residents. But they have also seen a troubling rise in transmissions in November, though not nearly as severe as North Dakota and South Dakota, which have the highest rates per capita.

Oregon for the first time on Thursday surpassed 1,000 positive cases in a day. Gov. Kate Brown announced a two-week “freeze” Friday that will limit restaurants to offering only take-out food and close gyms.

“If we do not act immediately, we will soon reach a breaking point,” Brown said in a social media video.

She said if cases remain at the current level, the travel advisory will likely become a requirement.

California on Thursday became the second state — behind Texas — to surpass 1 million cases of the virus since the outbreak began, though it ranks 40th for cases per capita.

Eleven California counties were forced to impose stricter limits on businesses this week after cases rose above thresholds established by the state. Three Northern California counties on Friday said they would voluntarily join nearby San Francisco in halting indoor dining to help control the virus.

California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state chose not to ban travel or restrict flying and instead appeal to Californians’ sense of personal responsibility.

Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine, said the voluntary element makes sense because the state can’t police whether people follow quarantine rules. If word got out that the state wasn’t enforcing restrictions, people would ignore it and “the whole thing becomes a farce,” he said.

“I think it sets the right tone that these states are taking it seriously and that we have a bunch of hot spots in the USA,” Noymer said. “Nobody wants to become North Dakota.”

The travel advisory is not as strict as rules implemented in June by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Those three states require travelers to quarantine for 14 days and submit forms

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3 Reasons Not to Travel This Holiday Season

Young woman wearing face mask pulling luggage and walking through the airport.

Image source: Getty Images.

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Many people look forward to seeing family during the holidays, and often, that means boarding a plane home in late November or December. If you normally travel during the holiday season, you may be inclined to do the same this year. But here are a few good reasons to rethink your plans and stay home instead.

1. You’re already in debt 

For many people, holiday travel is only made possible with the use of a credit card. But if you’re in debt already, the last thing you need is more debt to add to your personal pile. The longer it takes you to shed your debt, the more money you’ll lose to interest. Plus, carrying debt is bad for your credit score, and when that number declines, it can be impossible to borrow money affordably in a pinch. 

Even if traveling for the holidays won’t push you into more debt — say, you got a bonus at work and can cover your flight using cash — it still pays to stay home and use that money to pay off your existing balance. It’s a good way to start off the new year with a little less stress. 

2. You have no savings 

We all need money in an emergency fund for a rainy day. And during the pandemic, having a healthy savings account balance is crucial because you never know when you might lose your job due to the greater economic crisis. If you don’t have money in savings, then frankly, you really shouldn’t be spending what limited funds you do have to travel this year. Instead, tuck that money away in the bank so it’s there for you if a true emergency strikes.

3. You have health concerns

When it comes to the spread of COVID-19, airplanes get mixed reviews. While the air that gets circulated on a plane is said to be well-filtered, you’re still crammed onto a small vessel with what could be well over 100 people — and potentially for many hours at a time. Plus, don’t forget about the people you’ll come into contact with outside of an airplane. You might get stuck waiting in a long security line at the airport, and if you need a rental car, that could put you on yet another crowded line when you reach your destination. 

If you’re at all concerned about the health implications of traveling this holiday season, don’t do it. Similarly, if you’re worried about picking up COVID-19 and transmitting it to a family member — perhaps someone older or with preexisting health issues — then it’s really not worth the risk this year. Sure, it’s a bummer to miss out on the holidays with family, but you could always get creative and enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner over Zoom, and

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Atlanta School Principal And Wife Drown During Puerto Rican Vacation | National

An Atlanta-area high school principal and his college professor wife reportedly drown during their vacation to Puerto Rico.

Jamar Robinson, the principal of Westlake High School in South Fulton, and his wife AnnMari Robinson, an assistant professor at Georgia State University, have been identified as the drowning victims. They reportedly died last Sunday (November 8) in San Juan and leave behind their two sons, ages 14 and 15. One of the boys has special needs and is now staying with relatives.

Puerto Rico Headline News reports that the Robinsons traveled to Puerto Rico last weekend and were staying at the Conrad hotel.

Sunday afternoon, the couple were swimming behind the La Concha hotel when a strong current took AnnMari out to sea.

RELATED: Georgia Family Demands Answers After 19-Year-Old Drowns At Crowded Memorial Day Pool Party

Jamar then attempted to swim out and save his wife, but tragically they were both pulled under. Subsequently, several people who arrived on scene attempted to rescue the Robinsons, but they were unsuccessful. 

Westlake’s head football coach Booby May confirmed Robinsons’ passing on Twitter and paid tribute to them.

“Our hearts are broken for the family of Mr. Robinson and Mrs. Robinson and the entire Westlake community,” May wrote. “We will always remember Mr. Robinson as the principal who worked tirelessly, was always upbeat, passionate, never missed a game or event and LOVED his students with a heart that was unmatched.”

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Fulton County school system released an official statement addressing the tragic deaths.

“Robinson was an inspirational leader who brought joy with his passion for education and his students,” officials stated. “We join the community in remembering him and expressing our condolences to his family.”

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Caribbean villas for social distancing: Jamaica, Bahamas, Aruba, more

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Are you flying for the first time since the pandemic began? Here are a few steps you can take in advance to ensure you don’t get stuck at the airport.

USA TODAY

The beach is just the beginning at a dazzling array of you-deserve-it villas in the Caribbean.

With social distancing and other safety protocols the new vacation norm amid the coronavirus pandemic, a holiday getaway in a private villa could just fit the bill. So why not toss the budget to the breeze and live the dream in your very own secluded retreat under the tropical sun over the holidays?

These Caribbean locales don’t currently require visitors to quarantine upon arrival unless otherwise noted, but be sure to check travel requirements before planning a trip amid the pandemic as they may have changed. 

Jamaica   

Entry requirements: A negative test taken within 10 days of travel and approved travel authorization are required (Details: https://www.visitjamaica.com)

Smartly designed by Ralph Lauren, Round Hill Hotel and Villas west of Montego Bay has long hosted discerning guests like John F. Kennedy, who wrote his famous 1961 “ask-not-what-you-can-do-for-your-country” inauguration address in Villa 25. Nightly rates for a 2-Bedroom Deluxe Villa booked in the Villa Retreat package start at $1,849 including meals and non-motorized watersports.

From basketball courts, private pools and tee time on the 18-hole golf course, a stay in one of 74 perfectly posh villas at The Tryall Club ticks all the boxes. Weekly rates for the 7-bedroom Dragonfly Villa with chef-prepared meals and butler service start at $22,500.

Jamaica: Fleming Villa at GoldenEye is where Ian Fleming penned all 14 James Bond spy thrillers. Villa guests have access to the Field Spa and four restaurants at the storied resort, located 20 minutes east of Ocho Rios. (Photo: Peter Brown/IslandOutpost)

On the north coast, hip beds for heads at GoldenEye include the storied Fleming Villa      where British author Ian Fleming penned all 14 James Bond spy thrillers and where his original writing desk still stands. Guilty pleasures include a pool, private beach, garden showers and claw foot tubs. Nightly rates for the 5-bedroom villa start at $6,365. 

Sint Maarten / St. Martin   

Entry requirements: Negative test taken within five days and a health declaration completed in advance are required. (Details:https://stmaartenehas.com)

French St. Martin: The 4-bedroom Villa Mirabelle on the Simpson Bay Lagoon is a private luxury retreat with access to a boat dock and petite beach. Weekly stays start at $7,000. (Photo: Blue Ocean Villas)

Steps from the sand, villas at the Coral Beach Club in Dutch Sint Maarten are crowd-free standalone havens of rejuvenation. Weekly rates for a 4-bedroom Beachfront Villa with a private pool start at $9,286.

In French St. Martin, there’s a lot of panache in the salty air at Villa Mirabelle with four bedrooms and access to a boat dock and petite beach.  Weekly rates start at $7,000.    

Turks and Caicos Islands  

Entry Requirements: Negative test and advance travel authorization required. Note that there is also

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West Coast states issue travel advisory ahead of Thanksgiving week


An agent works at the counter May 28 in the Delta Air Lines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

An agent works at the counter May 28 in the Delta Air Lines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

Updated


California, Oregon and Washington on Friday issued a joint travel advisory discouraging nonessential travel and urging visitors and residents returning from other states to quarantine for 14 days.

Essential travel under the advisory includes “work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security,” according to a Friday press release.

While other states such as Connecticut have mandated quarantine upon arrival for residents of high-risk states, California’s advisory falls short of a requirement. New York recently revised its quarantine order to exempt those from contiguous states and those who test negative at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

The California advisory applies to all out-of-state travel and visitors, including those from Oregon and Washington.

Context: The advisory comes as Covid-19 cases are increasing across California and the country. California just hit 1 million cases, and its positivity rate has climbed to 4.2 percent in recent weeks — a level not seen since early September, according to state Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly.

The Bay Area began considering a 14-day quarantine last week, Ghaly said in his Nov. 4 briefing. In the days since, nine counties have regressed to more restrictive reopening tiers, including two — Sacramento and San Diego — that entered the most restrictive purple tier. More than half of California residents are now living in purple-tier areas.

Los Angeles County, which remains in the purple tier, recommended Thursday that residents not travel out of state for the holidays and quarantine for 14 days upon their return if they do.

What’s next: Ghaly said during a press briefing on Monday that if the trends continue through the next week, more than half of California’s 58 counties will be moved into a stricter tier.

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