Month: December 2020

Hotel Northampton closed until February

NORTHAMPTON — The Hotel Northampton has shut down until February — laying off most of its 30 or so remaining staffers — due to COVID-19 and the continuing punishment it’s inflicting on the travel industry.

The 106-room hotel, which opened in 1927, will be quiet at a time of year when it normally would have been booked for holiday parties, as well as during the generally slow month of January. But all those events, as well as most holiday travel, fell victim to the pandemic.

“COVID has taken a toll on every business,” said general manger Jeffrey Hoess-Brooks on Monday as he supervised the hotel’s shutdown process. “Just try to look at every angle as two where you can cut any expense during this closure time.”

When fully operating, the hotel has 75 to 80 employees.

The hotel, which announced its decision to the public on Monday, is referring potential guests to the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Conz Street, also owned by Mansour Ghalibaf.

Hoess-Brooks said the plan is to reopen in February. By then, he hopes, the coronavirus pandemic will have eased as well as the travel restrictions. Also, the Five Colleges will be, he hopes, reopening then bring families to the area.

Smith College, located just a few blocks away, plans to welcome as many as 1,830 students to campus for the spring semester which begins Feb. 15.

Hotel Northampton also has events – weddings, banquets, and the like, — booked in 2021, Hoess-Brooks said. Opening in February means the hotel will be able to host those events, many of which were already been rescheduled from pandemic-ravaged 2020 into 2021.

“It’s very hard But we are doing this so we can come back in February. Strong as ever,” Hoess-Brooks said.

Besides the 106 guest rooms, the hotel has two restaurants — Wiggins Tavern and the Coolidge Park Café – a banquet hall that seats as many as 200 people. It has other smaller, function room as well.

Hoess-Brooks said there will be some staff at the hotel 24 hours a day and seven days a week to care for the property.

The hotel is traditionally the site of the midnight ball drop on New Year’s Eve for First Night Northampton. That will be a virtual event this year due to the 10 p.m. state imposed COVID curfew.

The hotel shut down for more than a month in the spring, when the state first started imposing shutdowns aimed at arresting the spread of the virus, Hoess-Brooks said.

Nationally, 71% of hotel operators said in November they won’t make it another six months without further federal assistance given current and projected travel demand, and 77% of hotels report they will be forced to lay off more workers. That is according to a survey released by American Hotel & Lodging Association.

“Without further government assistance (i.e. second PPP loan, expansion of Main Street Lending Program), nearly half (47%) of respondents indicated they would be forced to close hotels,” the organization

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How bad is the coronavirus pandemic about to get? Thanksgiving travel numbers look grim

Coronavirus infections are already reaching unprecedented levels throughout the U.S. Now with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas and New Year’s just around the curve, the question is: Just how much worse is the pandemic going to get?

The latest travel data out Monday suggest that things are looking grim. Between 800,000 and 1.1 million people flew in the days leading up to and after the holiday, according to data released by the Transportation Safety Administration. Though those numbers are a fraction of typical Thanksgiving travel patterns, they are far higher than public health officials and epidemiologists hoped to see.

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that Americans who traveled this past week should “assume that you were exposed and you became infected.” She urged those that traveled to get tested within the next week.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 200,000 for the first time Friday. There have been more than 265,000 deaths. Last Wednesday, as millions had already begun their holiday travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast as many as 21,400 new deaths due to the virus over the next four weeks.

Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, said he suspects those numbers are not high enough.

“Every time I look at the data, it’s worse,” he said.

Jha says he expects the number of new deaths to be more in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 in the Thanksgiving aftermath.

“Things are going to be so bad over the next month,” Jha said.

Exactly how bad it will get is difficult to say. Americans not only flew, but also drove to Thanksgiving celebrations. Before the holiday, the American Automobile Association predicted significant declines in bus, train and cruise travel, but only a slight drop in car travel. AAA said it would not have travel figures for the holiday anytime soon.

Car travel was projected to fall 4.3% from last year’s pre-pandemic level, to 47.8 million travelers. With less travel this year by public transportation, AAA estimates driving will account for 95% of all holiday travel. On Monday, AAA said travel may have been less than initially forecast because of climbing infection rates and public health warnings. U.S. gasoline demand decreased 7.3% in seven days ending Nov. 28, according to GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app.

Even with a surge in online sales, some Americans still hit the road to shop. Chains with lines out the door included Lululemon Athletica Inc., Bath & Body Works and Urban Outfitters. Shoppers camped overnight in some locations of GameStop Corp., one of the few retailers to do brick-and-mortar releases of new video game consoles.

“This does have the potential to turn into another superspreader event,” Doug Stephens, founder of consulting firm Retail Prophet, said of the shopping weekend.

The Trump administration had been sending out widely varying guidance on holiday travel in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and only in the final week did the

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Couple becomes seriously ill with COVID-19 during vacation to southern Mexico

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A Chula Vista woman is keeping vigil after her parents holiday vacation turned into nightmare, when both become sick with COVID-19.

Jose and Gloria Arellano had a dilemma. Their daughter Joselyn says they had airfare credits from a postponed trip to southern Mexico but the deadline to use the credits was about the run out.

“They had their trip postpone the trip two or three times. They didn’t want to lose the money, so they decided to go this time.

On November 11, they flew out from Tijuana to Oaxaca for a two-week vacation. Apprehensive about rising COVID-19 rates, they went prepared with goggles and masks. Gloria also had a face shield. Once there, they did a little sightseeing. When they were near anybody, they wore masks.

“Their main thing is to try food. They were mostly at restaurants. They were also at the beach a lot,” said Joselyn.

About six days into their trip, Jose, 66, became sick.

“For him, it was coughing. He has asthma, and it just got into his lungs,” said Joselyn.

A few days later, Gloria, 64, also became ill. They went to a local hospital, received COVID-19 tests, and tested positive. Jose got sicker and the family contracted at air ambulance to fly him back to San Diego two days before Thanksgiving.

Jose, a former investigator with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and former Navy, is being treated at the VA Medical Center in La Jolla.

“He’s been stabile, on a ventilator and taking antibiotics,” said Joselyn.

Joselyn calls her father’s situation a helpless waiting game. Her mother ended up in a hospital in Oaxaca, intubated for several days, before being released Monday. Right now, she’s quarantining at an Airbnb in Oaxaca.

“It’s a vacation, for them, they’ll regret forever,” said Joselyn.

Joselyn is trying to stay optimistic with so much uncertainty about her father. She is certain about one thing. There will be no vacations in her family’s near future.

“It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the risk,” said Joselyn.

Joselyn’s brother flew to Oaxaca to help their mother. He also tested positive and is now in quarantine with her.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up the help the family with medical expenses.

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State promotes VTR as tourist spot in vacation | Patna News

PATNA: With Covid-19 pandemic spoiling vacation plans to sea beach or abroad, Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) offers a choice with spots like Manguraha, Valmiki Nagar and Govardhana having tourist facilities and scenic beauty, environment, forest and climate change department additional chief secretary Dipak Kumar Singh said on Monday.
“These places have some unique features and the department is ensuring the safety of tourists,” he said.
One such holiday spot is Manguraha with an option of animal sightseeing, natural beauty and safari ride crossing the river. It is a part of VTR and tourists have been allowed since November 10.
Manguraha range DFO Ambarish Mall said the campus where tourists could stay was inaugurated in September this year. After the reopening in November, the rooms are keeping full to their capacity, especially on weekends, he said. Mall said tourists revealed how pandemic made them opt for a nearby place for vacation. “We are taking all precautions. For instance, earlier six people were allowed for a safari ride, which has been reduced to four now,” he added.
Gaurav Ojha, the DFO at VTR, said children below 10 and those above 65 years are not allowed for safety reasons. “We have closed down cultural activities, which included folk dance by the local tribe, and documentaries because such activities involve gathering,” said Ojha. However, he said safari is allowed.
Ojha said all the rooms and vehicles are sanitized regularly and temperature is checked. He further said the footfall is no less when compared to previous years. “Over 15 safari rides take place in the VTR daily,” said Ojha, adding the footfall has been increasing with each passing year.

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Westlake resident plans “micro” events for hotel customers during the pandemic

WESTLAKE, Ohio – Everyone has had to make adjustments in their lives during the pandemic. Some of the adjustments have been big such as unemployment. Other adjustments have been smaller such as getting used to wearing a mask.

But then other adjustments can now be termed “micro” and a Westlake resident seems to have become the queen of making those adjustments work for many people.

Nicole Bakker calls her efforts “micro event experiences.” Don’t call her an event planner.

She works for both the Kimpton Schofield Hotel at the corner of East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland as well as their restaurant, Betts, that is open on the ground floor of the hotel.

“I work for both the restaurant and the hotel. I am the only employee working for both, not just catering, but involving all departments and employees–and their guests,” she said.

Bakker noted she has an extensive background in hospitality.

“I have been in hospitality pretty much my whole life. I have worked from the kitchen to the front of the house to event planning, to marketing to social media to weddings to corporate and even to in-home—doing personal or corporate events in backyards for anywhere from five to 3500 people.

Her mission is clear and certainly takes a lot of planning and creativity but she said people are beginning to come back now to celebrate the times of their lives.

“I have some interaction with every person coming through the door and they are all celebrating something,” she said. “Now the people are re-scheduling and they just want to celebrate and make it happen. The picture from earlier in the year is gone. Everyone who walks into the hotel is really excited to be here. It’s gotten a lot more lively and people are more thankful to be celebrating.”

What, specifically, is important to them now?

“Quality,” she said. “That makes all the difference now. Due to the pandemic, people know what they want.”

But there has been one big change and that’s what Bakker does best.

“All things are much more intimate now, smaller, more personal, with groups up to only about 50 people,” she said.

Are they disappointed to not have more?

“No, they were disappointed in March but now they are grateful they can get out and celebrate. They have more appreciation for more intimate events and the purpose of the event. I hear it all the time. ‘It’s only going to be our closest friends and family,’ and they are happy about it. They are grateful to just be out.”

Bakker said it is not 60 people for brunch now, but only 10, “With people they really want to celebrate with.” This is the definition of micro events.

It doesn’t seem those planning an event in this unusual time could go wrong at the Kimpton Schofield/Betts Restaurant. Experience, understanding and enthusiasm are their outstanding calling card.

For more information on the hotel and/or the restaurant visit https://www.theschofieldhotel.com/ or call (216)

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Have Rings, Will Travel | FOX Sports

By Melissa Rohlin
FOX Sports NBA reporter

Danny Green always thought this could happen. 

So when Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka let him know they were going to trade him and the No. 28 pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Dennis Schroder earlier this month, Green wasn’t taken aback. 

“I wasn’t shocked,” Green told FOX Sports. “I was just seeing where I was going. I was like, OK. Obviously, everybody is getting better. And I knew even when I signed (in LA), the contract that I signed for was going to be hard to maintain, was going to be hard to stabilize, especially with the pieces.”

The Lakers signed Green to a two-year, $30 million deal last July, wanting to add a veteran sharp-shooter with championship experience and defensive grit to a roster built around superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.  

Green, who the Thunder went on to deal to the Philadelphia 76ers, acknowledged he was hoping to return to the Lakers after helping them win their first NBA championship in a decade at Walt Disney World in Florida in October. 

Danny Green joins Colin Cowherd in the video above to discuss winning his third NBA championship with his third different team.

“Of course, any time you get a chance to win with a team, you want to try to run it back with that team,” said Green, who also won championships in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors and 2014 with San Antonio Spurs. “You make a home with the organization, the team, the players, the roster and within the city. Obviously, it’s up and down with the city and the fans and things like that.

“But I built a home and I loved the area where I was living. Nobody likes to move. I think anybody would want to go back, especially with winning and a great city like that. But at the same time, I’m not mad about it. … I know exactly what I signed up for before I got here.”

For Pelinka, it was a move that was a long time in the making. He had tried to pursue the 27-year-old Schroder before, knowing he’d give the Lakers another elite playmaker to ease the load on the team’s stars.

“We never want to just settle and I think this was an opportunity to get better,” Pelinka said Nov. 19. “It’s hard to lose a player like Danny. He was an ultimate professional and really filled a great role for us and played well. But overall, we just feel like this addition of a younger player to our core and for the future was something that we couldn’t pass on.”

The 33-year-old Green gets it.

He was appreciative of the time he spent with the Lakers and the investment they made in him. 

“There’s no love lost at all,” Green said. “You know, they gave me a contract that I never dreamed that I would ever get, and playing in a city I never

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