Day: November 30, 2020

Adm. Brett Giroir: Unnecessary activity to be avoided for week after Thanksgiving travel

Americans who traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday are encouraged to stop unnecessary activity for a week in order to avoid spreading COVID-19, a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Sunday.

Adm. Brett Giroir of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps told CNN’s “State of the Union” that people shouldn’t avoid necessary appointments but they should avoid unnecessary outings for about one week.

Adm. Giroir also said they could get tested within three to five days of returning home if possible.

In order to stop the spread ahead of a vaccine being available for the public, which experts predict would happen within the next couple of months, Americans should wear masks, maintain social distance and wash their hands, Adm. Giroir said.

“We could really make a difference,” he added.

Dr. Deborah Birx, another member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will begin briefing presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden and his team on Monday, she told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Experts say vaccines should be approved by the Food and Drug Administration shortly after Dec. 10, allowing the manufacturers to start shipping the vaccinations out to be first administered to vulnerable populations, which includes the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.

As of Sunday, the nation has 13.3 million COVID-19 cases and roughly 266,000 Americans have died from the pandemic.

Texas, California and Florida lead the nation in total case count, but New York has had the most deaths.

After New York, Texas and California come in second and third for the number of overall deaths broken down by state.

 

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Thanksgiving Draws Travel to a Pandemic Peak

The weekend after Thanksgiving met expectations that it would be the busiest travel period in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic began, aided by clement weather and lower gas prices that encouraged some to drive rather than fly.

Almost 50 million people were expected to have made a journey during the Thanksgiving holidays, said AAA, despite tightening local clampdowns and warnings from federal health officials. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov. 19 recommended people not travel over Thanksgiving.

The number of travelers from Nov. 25 through Nov. 29 was down more than 10% from a record set last year, according to AAA, which includes flights and road trips of more than 50 miles. Airlines, which boosted capacity earlier in the month only to trim flying when cancellations started to climb in recent weeks, said traveler numbers were in line with their revised expectations.

The Transportation Security Administration said that its workers screened more than 964,000 people on Saturday, down 37% from a year earlier, and more than a million on Nov. 25, the busiest flying day since March. TSA said that it expected screenings on Sunday to be higher than that.

Travel flows were helped by the lack of winter storms that blighted travel last year, triggering thousands of scrubbed flights in the Northeast and on down the East Coast. Only around 200 flights were scrubbed across the country over the weekend, with the total number of flights down by around a half from a year ago.

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Deerfield Recreation Department holding holiday lighting contest

Published: 11/29/2020 9:05:19 PM

DEERFIELD — The Recreation Department is seeking submissions for its holiday lighting contest.

The contest will feature four categories, including “Traditional” — capturing the classic holiday theme; “Clark Griswold” — excessive use of lights and decorations; “Crazy Inflatables” — five or more inflatables “tastefully” displayed; and finally, “Best ‘Deer’field Lighting” — best use of deer in a display.

Entry forms, which are now available at deerfieldma.us/recreation, must be received by Dec. 11. The forms may be mailed or emailed to the Recreation Department (8 Conway St., South Deerfield, MA 01373 or [email protected]) or put in the Town Hall dropbox.

According to a Recreation Department press release, homes will be judged on their curbside appeal, originality, holiday theme and “wow” factor. One winner will be chosen in each category.

Prizes include gift card and cash donations from local businesses, including Antonellis Farm LLC/Ciesluk Farmstand, Scanlon & Associates and Sobieski Financial LLC.

Judging will take place Dec. 14 to 16, with winners announced on Dec. 21. The release states that a list of display addresses will be available on the Deerfield Recreation Department’s Facebook page and the town website.

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Taiwan Top Choice in Asia for Post-Pandemic Travel

TAIPEI, Nov. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Asia Super Team competition, organized by Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs and executed by Taiwan External Trade Development Council, promotes incentive travel in Taiwan by revealing Taiwan’s numerous attractions through a variety of different themes and contests since 2013. At the 2020 championship press conference on November 26, results of the event’s Asia Incentive Tourism Destination in the Post-Pandemic Era Survey were announced, in addition to the champion team — JTB Global Marketing & Travel from Japan, winning an incentive travel package valued at US$50,000.

Asia Incentive Tourism Destination in the Post-Pandemic Era Survey Results

Asia Incentive Tourism Destination in the Post-Pandemic Era Survey Results

The impact of COVID-19’s grounding of cross-border travel in 2020 has caused many companies across the world to cancel their incentive travel plans. MEET TAIWAN surveyed Asian corporate business travelers to gauge their interest for incentive travel in light of the global pandemic. The results of 3,939 valid questionnaire responses showed that once the dust settles after the epidemic, 90% of corporate employees in eight Asian countries look forward to company incentive travel plans, indicating that after the end of the lockdown business traveler demand for incentive travel is stronger than ever before.

Of particular note, more than 80% of Asian business travelers will prioritize the integrity of local disease prevention measures when they participate in future incentive travel, and public security will be a second priority; this shows that the pandemic has prompted companies to focus on safety factors when choosing their next incentive travel destination. Statistically, Taiwan is rated as the top destination for incentive travel among Asian companies and countries due to its rich tourism resources and spectacular disease prevention success. Up to 99% of business travelers expressed confidence in Taiwan’s disease prevention and safety, which will be a boon to the country’s tourism after the epidemic.

With regard to incentive travel itineraries, most survey respondents expressed their preferences for cuisine and local cultural experiences, followed by sights of historical significance. The survey answers will assist Taiwan with future preparation and marketing after the epidemic, in addition to serving as reference for other interested international destination providers. The Asia Super Team competition continues to achieve breakthroughs and innovations. It has attracted multiple target markets through diverse, creative, and integrated marketing. The continued implementation of creative marketing contributes to making Taiwan a prime destination for exhibitions and incentive travel in Asia.

Japanese Team Wins Reach for the Stars Championship

This year saw Asia Super Team held as an exclusively online competition for the first time. Elite corporations from Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam participated in the event, completing the online Reach for the Stars challenge in a week-long contest. The onslaught of COVID-19 was overcome by developing a brand-new format of innovative competition that overturned past approaches, using novel technological elements and digital tools to promote and generate buzz

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Cyber Monday travel deals to cure next year’s wanderlust

One of the best weeks for finding steep discounts and brand loyalty incentives is upon us, and this shopping season may be especially appealing for Seattle travelers.

Though travel is different this year as the pandemic has a hold on our collective lives, daydreaming and planning for better days ahead has avid travelers seeking out the best deals for the new year.

When Cyber Monday arrives this year, don’t get caught in a last-minute panic searching for deals. Scroll down to see some of the best discounted travel packages and deals. Then bookmark your favorites and boost your spirits with these great deals for future travels.

Costa Rica: Tierra Magnifica Luxury Resort


Newly-expanded Tierra Magnifica in Nosara, Costa Rica, is offering an appealing Cyber Monday deal with 25% savings in addition to resort perks. The adults-only boutique property is ideal for surf getaways and romantic retreats equally with a relaxing vibe and panoramic ocean views. Follow nature trails or soul search on a meditation deck, then dip down to the beach for a refreshing splash.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, book direct to receive half-price spa treatments during a discounted stay, available with booking code CYBER2020. This deal applies for travel dates between January 3 through the end of April 2021.

Jackson Hole, WY: Snow King Mountain

Ready to hit the slopes? Get ready to save on a fun family getaway to Snow King Resort, home to world-class downhill skiing, snowmobiling and more outdoor adventure. The deal runs exclusively between November 23-30 this year, offering up to 40% off lodging.

In addition to its location at the base of Snow King Mountain, Snow King Resort is in close proximity to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, making this an outdoor adventurists dream destination. Travel dates for this Cyber Monday deal are valid mid-December through the end of May 2021. If visiting this winter, guests will see the resort light up for the holiday season with a variety of family events taking place like scenic sleigh rides and Santa sightings.

Puerto Vallarta: Casa Kimberly Hotel

Travelers are already returning to Mexico, so visitors should already know what to expect as Puerto Vallarta reopens to guests. This sale season, take advantage of a rare deal to stay at Casa Kimberly, famously known as Elizabeth Taylor’s abode when courting Richard Burton. This former home has blossomed into a boutique hotel in the heart of romantic downtown Puerto Vallarta. Luxury suites, a pool, in-demand restaurant and soothing spa attract guests from around the world.

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Casa Kimberly is offering a 50% discount on suite bookings for stays between December 2020 through the end of May 2021. Use offer code CYBERCK to reserve at this incredible rate.

Saint Lucia: Traveler’s Choice

Why book one great deal when so many great options are available for a decadent Saint Lucia getaway? The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is calling upon visitors to explore and soak in the sunshine with not one,

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Hoboken Cancels Winter Recreation Programs Amid Coronavirus

HOBOKEN, NJ — The city of Hoboken said Sunday that they have decided to “indefinitely postpone” all city-run recreation programs for the winter amid coronavirus.



a sign on the side of a building: Christmas wreaths for sale near Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken on Saturday.


© Caren Lissner/Patch
Christmas wreaths for sale near Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken on Saturday.

“As we continue through the next stage of the second wave, and with cases surging in New Jersey, we have made the difficult decision to indefinitely postpone all city-run recreation programs for the winter, including all indoor sports and flag-football,” wrote Mayor Ravi Bhalla in an update on Sunday. “We have seen some recent COVID-19 cases coming from recreation leagues, and given the expected increase in cases, we feel it would be irresponsible from a health perspective to continue with indoor sports where social distancing is not practical.”

The mayor also announced new testing options citywide, including for the coming week.

“I encourage any resident who gathered over Thanksgiving or the weekend with multiple families outside the household, traveled or received visitors who traveled from outside the tri-state area, or attended a large gathering of any kind, to get tested this week,” he said. “Since the virus has been proven to spread among those who are asymptomatic and the increased chances of transmission in group and indoor settings, I encourage those residents also avoid contact with others and quarantine whenever possible until after receiving test results.”

The Hoboken Health Department recommends a COVID-19 test at least 5-7 days after the latest potential exposure.

On Sunday, ABC News reported that “Some Hoboken bars [were] packed” on Saturday night. They said that in many, social distancing was in effect and “masks were everywhere,” but added, “some Hoboken bars were looking a little too pre-covid” with people sitting close together and windows “fogged up.”

Testing this week:

  • A new testing partner, ivee, is hosting COVID-19 testing this Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand S. Testing is open by appointment to both Hoboken residents and Hoboken business employees. PCR testing is offered, with results anticipated within 48-72 hours. Sign up: https://calendly.com/iveecovid/ivee-x-hoboken-covid-19-testing-clone-1
  • Dr. Islam and the Prompt MD staff are providing testing on Monday, 8 a.m. to 3, Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 605 Jackson St. PCR testing is offered, with results anticipated within 48-72 hours. http://www.hobokennj.gov/promptmd
  • Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt and the Riverside Medical Group staff are continuing to provide COVID-19 testing six days a week, at the new location uptown, by appointment to Hoboken residents only. Rapid testing is offered, with results provided within 15 minutes. See our story and details here and see general testing information below.
  • State of New Jersey: The State Department of Health, in partnership with the City of Hoboken and Hoboken Housing Authority, is providing testing for residents at 221 Jackson St. (community room) on Friday, between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Testing is open to all residents and business employees. No appointment is needed, and testing is available on
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GovGuam still paying for unused hotel rooms for COVID-19 quarantine

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Pacific Daily News

The government of Guam continued to use federal pandemic-related funds to pay for unoccupied rooms in hotels contracted to be quarantine and isolation facilities, at rates of $90 and $120 a day, purchase orders show.

The governor in May said the agreements in facilities were changed so only occupied rooms would be paid for. Purchase orders from May through October note hotels got different amounts for empty rooms.

Unused rooms are paid for to ensure rooms are available and is a protective measure, said Jenna Blas, acting administrator of the Office of Civil Defense.

“Securing the non-congregate shelter as a whole ensures there is availability when needed for COVID-19 positive persons. It is also a protective measure to ensure there are no other members of the community in that facility who are not either COVID-19 positive or assisting with the operations of the isolation facility in order to reduce exposure to others,” Blas said.

Blas also said this also applies to the quarantine facility.

The government of Guam continued to use federal pandemic-related funds to pay for unoccupied rooms in hotels such as The Bayview Hotel Guam and the Dusit Beach Resort. (Photo: Pacific Daily News)

Hotel rates

Dusit Beach Resort Guam is contracted to be the quarantine facility for incoming travelers. Core Tech Resort, which does business as Bayview Hotel Guam, is contracted to be the isolation facility for positive COVID-19 patients.

Dusit Beach Resort’s unoccupied room rate was $120 a day, according to an October purchase order. Bayview’s unoccupied room rate was $90 a day, purchase orders show.

When asked about the reasoning behind the different rates for unused rooms in the current facilities, at the Dusit Beach Resort and the Bayview, Blas said, “They’re two different locations.”

Purchase orders from May to October show $1.9 million was spent and allocated to Dusit Beach Resort, Bayview, Days Inn and Wyndham Garden hotels for quarantine and isolation facilities.

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When Days Inn was the isolation facility, the unoccupied room rate was $90 a day. When Wyndham Garden was the quarantine facility, the unoccupied room rate was $65 a day from May to mid-July and then after mid-July it was $66 a day, according to purchase orders.

GovGuam agreed to a definite use of 300 rooms at Dusit Beach Resort that were unoccupied and occupied with an agreement to use other rooms if necessary. At the Bayview, the purchase order noted 48 to 150 rooms would be needed for isolating COVID-19 positive patients. 

The occupied room rate at the Dusit Beach Resort is $159 a day for one room. At the Bayview, the occupied room rate is $175 a day for one room and $50 for an additional occupant, purchase orders from September and October show.

Blas said the total $175 a day rate is inclusive of three meals.

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