Category: travel

Massachusetts imposes new travel restrictions on Vermont

Vermont is no longer considered a lower-risk state for contacting COVID-19, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Effective Saturday morning, individuals traveling to or returning from Vermont must now fill out a travel form and quarantine upon arrival in Massachusetts, unless they are able to produce a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before arriving in the state.

The news comes as Vermont’s daily coronavirus cases averaged 18 cases per 100,000 residents with a positive test rate of 24 percent, according to the COVID-19 tracking website. Metrics must stay below 10 cases per 100,000 residents with a positive test rate below 5 percent, both measure on a 7-day rolling average, in order to be considered low risk. New Hampshire and Vermont were removed from the low-risk list last week. Hawaii is the only remaining US state to be considered low-risk.

Hawaii is the only state considered low risk.
Hawaii is the only state considered low risk.Mass.gov

Exemptions to the state’s travel order include commuters who cross state lines for work, those arriving for medical treatment, military personnel, and those who are traveling for work or essential services. The state also exempts certain short, same-day trips across the border and back that are designated as “critical life activities.” Those activities can include grocery shopping, visits to pharmacies, dentist and doctors’ appointments, and required appearances at official proceedings.

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

Prior to this month, Vermont held the coronavirus at bay, even as infections spread at breakneck pace beyond the state’s borders. On Nov. 13, Governor Phil Scott announced new COVID-19 restrictions that are believed to be among the toughest in the nation. Restrictions include a ban on households visiting each other, both inside and outside, in public and in private, hospitals barring visitors with only a few exceptions, and strict quarantine rules. Visitors to Vermont must quarantine for 14-days, regardless of where they are arriving from. Vermont’s health department even strongly advises against non-essential travel within the state.

Positive COVID-19 cases surpassed 13 million across the US on Friday, after a Thanksgiving upended by the pandemic and amid a Black Friday hampered by virus fears and capacity limits on stores.


Brittany Bowker can be reached at [email protected] Follower her on Twitter @brittbowker.

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Massachusetts takes Vermont off ‘lower-risk’ coronavirus travel list

Massachusetts is taking Vermont off its “lower-risk” travel list after midnight on Saturday — effectively expanding the Bay State’s travel restrictions to all of New England.



a group of people walking down the street: BOSTON, MA. NOVEMBER 22: A few travelers in the open section of Terminal A Sunday, November 22, 2020, in a sparsely occupied Logan Airport in Boston. (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)


© Provided by Boston Herald
BOSTON, MA. NOVEMBER 22: A few travelers in the open section of Terminal A Sunday, November 22, 2020, in a sparsely occupied Logan Airport in Boston. (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Travelers to and from Vermont — including Bay State residents — will now have to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours of their arrival here. Those who don’t comply could face a fine of $500 per day.

Vermont was the last New England state to be exempt from Massachusetts’ travel restrictions after Maine and New Hampshire were taken off the lower-risk list last week by the state Department of Public Health.

The only state still designated as lower-risk is Hawaii.

Exemptions to the travel restrictions include people crossing state lines for work or school, those seeking or receiving medical treatment, military personnel, those providing “critical infrastructure services” and people merely passing through Massachusetts en route to other places.

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New storm system to travel across South this weekend

After a relatively quiet Thanksgiving across much of the U.S., the weather pattern is about to turn quite turbulent over the coming days.



graphical user interface, website, calendar: A woman walks by a shop window with discount signs posted in New York on Thanksgiving ahead of Black Friday on November 26, 2020.


© Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images
A woman walks by a shop window with discount signs posted in New York on Thanksgiving ahead of Black Friday on November 26, 2020.

A storm system is going to develop this weekend and track across the southern and eastern U.S., possibly creating multiple hazards, including heavy rain, strong thunderstorms, damaging winds and some snow.

The first impacts of the storm are expected on Friday, with areas of heavy rain affecting parts of the western Gulf Coast, from Texas into southern Louisiana. This is forecast to continue for 24 hours.

On Saturday, the storm will start to get more organized with heavy rain, moving onshore to southern Texas and New Orleans, where localized flooding is possible.



map: On Sunday, the storm will be moving through the Gulf States and heavy rain will spread over much of the South from Louisiana to the Carolinas.


© ABC News
On Sunday, the storm will be moving through the Gulf States and heavy rain will spread over much of the South from Louisiana to the Carolinas.

On Sunday, the storm will be moving through the northern Gulf Coast, and heavy rain will spread over much of the South, from Louisiana to Florida. It will then push north, across several southeastern states, bringing heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding.

On Monday, as the storm travels up the eastern U.S., it will be invigorated by a shot of cold air coming in across the Midwest.



a close up of some grass: On Monday, as the storm travels up the eastern U.S., it will be invigorated by a cold shot of air coming in from the Midwest and the storm will strengthen somewhere over the Appalachians.


© ABC News
On Monday, as the storm travels up the eastern U.S., it will be invigorated by a cold shot of air coming in from the Midwest and the storm will strengthen somewhere over the Appalachians.

The result on the milder eastern side of the storm will be widespread, with very heavy rainfall likely in the mid-Atlantic. Additionally, some very strong winds will have the potential to mix down from aloft, especially across New England, which could result in some potential for damaging wind gusts, including power outages.

On the colder side of the storm, snow likely will be falling, somewhere from Ohio into Michigan. It’s too early to determine the precise location of the heaviest snow.

The main global forecast models are indicating that the storm will be a little slow to move out of the region as it moves into southern Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the storm should weaken during this time period.

The storm should help pull a shot of cold air across much of the central and eastern U.S., with wind chills in the teens expected from Minnesota possibly into parts of Tennessee, Texas and Georgia by Tuesday morning.

The most notable part of this cold blast is how far south the cold air will reach — it’s looking like parts of northern Florida will be seeing low 30s on Tuesday morning.



text: The gusty winds and the dry air could cause rapid fire spread through the region possibly causing critical fire conditions today.


© ABC News
The gusty winds and the dry air could cause rapid fire spread through the region possibly causing critical fire conditions today.

Meanwhile in the Southwest,

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New road and rail plans for Christmas travel spike



a person standing in front of a building


© Getty Images


Road and rail networks are facing changes as the government prepares for a spike in travel when Covid restrictions are eased over Christmas.

Across the UK, up to three households will be allowed to stay together in a “Christmas bubble” from 23-27 December.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said 500 miles of roadworks have been cleared on motorways and A-roads to ease any congestion.

And, he added, there are plans to run longer trains on the rail network.

Mr Shapps said that rules may also be eased to allow more types of coaches to run.

“We recognise that people will want to be with their friends and family over Christmas,” he said. “For those that choose to form a Christmas bubble, we’re lifting travel restrictions across the UK for five days.”

Further details will be published next week, once the picture on passenger demand is clearer.

The government will be monitoring demand for road and rail travel using ticket booking websites and journey planning services such as Google Maps to try to get a grasp on the public’s travel plans ahead of time and increase capacity accordingly.

The expectation is that the start and end of the five-day travel window will be very busy.

Earlier this week, the transport secretary urged people to book tickets well in advance where possible, and prepare for restrictions on passenger numbers.

Referring to domestic travel during the festive period, Mr Shapps urged those travelling on public transport to pre-book tickets as the capacity of services remains reduced to allow for social distancing and as a result of staff self-isolating.

Some advance fares, such as for Avanti West Coast, which operates trains on the West Coast Main Line, go on sale on Tuesday.

These cheaper tickets are usually available 12 weeks in advance, but their release has been delayed during the pandemic due to short-notice timetable changes.

Mr Shapps also highlighted Network Rail’s plans for a series of upgrades and routine maintenance across Britain between 23 December to 4 January.

He told the BBC: “I would appeal to people to think very carefully about their travel plans and consider where they are going to travel and look at the various alternatives available.”

People who live in areas placed in the highest tier of restrictions in England, tier three, should avoid leaving their region entirely, he said.

The majority of the network has also been cleared of engineering works in a bid to avoid disruption.

Those that are scheduled for the festive period will be reviewed if passenger demand is high. But government sources say it is unlikely that the major works on the East Coast Main Line and London King’s Cross will be altered.

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Day before Thanksgiving travel hits highest peak since March

Many Americans flouted holiday travel warnings from public health officials this week, as travel rates on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving reaching its highest level since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March.



a group of people sitting at a table: Day before Thanksgiving travel hits highest peak since March


© Greg Nash
Day before Thanksgiving travel hits highest peak since March

The Transportation Security Administration reported 1,070,967 people crossed TSA checkpoints Wednesday, NBC News reported.

The nearly 1.1 million travelers on the day before Thanksgiving, one of the year’s busiest travel days, were the most passengers screened by the TSA since March 16, when the administration reported 1.25 million passengers at the time.

The data also showed over 1 million people passing through security checkpoints on Nov. 20 and 22.

On Nov. 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning telling Americans to avoid travel for the holiday, citing an “exponential growth” in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Numerous experts have said that ignoring the warnings would lead to an additional uptick in cases leading into December. However, the virus’s extended incubation period likely won’t reflect such results in data for around two weeks.

The flight-tracking service FlightRadar24 reported more airplanes in the skies at noon Eastern time the Tuesday before Thanksgiving than there were on the same Tuesday in 2018, and eight percent fewer than in 2019.

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Georgia runoff election: Trump says he travel to suuport Loeffler, Perdue

“Speaking of Georgia, I’ll be going there,” the President said after his Thanksgiving video teleconference call with US service members, as he baselessly railed against the integrity of the state’s election results.

White House press secretary Judd Deere said the President’s visit is scheduled for Saturday, December 5.

“Maybe I’ll go twice,” Trump said at one point, noting that he’d love to do it in a stadium, “But you can’t, because of Covid.”

Georgia is holding runoff elections for both of its US Senate seats. If either of the incumbent Republicans, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, hold onto their seats, the party will maintain its majority control in the chamber.

If Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock both prevail, however, Democrats would gain control of the Senate thanks to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

“Don’t be disappointed yet,” Trump said, “cause this race is far from over.”

Trump responded to a Newsmax report that his supporters were considering boycotting the runoff election. Despite those worries, he wrote on Twitter Friday that his supporters “must get out” to vote.

The President also continued to heap baseless claims of widespread fraud on the election in Georgia Friday morning, telling reporters that the state’s Republican secretary of state was an “enemy of the people.”

“Well, I told (Loeffler and Perdue) today, I think you’re dealing in a very fraudulent system. I’m very worried about that,” Trump said when asked about confidence in the upcoming Georgia election, calling the candidates “tremendous people.”

The President’s comments Thursday punctuated a rambling news conference in which he pushed more unfounded voter fraud conspiracy theories and continued to deny his election loss. The spectacle came directly after his call with troops — an event US Presidents traditionally use to boost morale of service members stationed abroad during the holidays and remind the country of their service.

“Many of you are very far from home, but today, we hope you know that millions of American families are praying with gratitude for the sacrifices you make and the incredible, absolutely incredible, job you do,” Trump said as he began the call.”

The country, he added, “is doing very well. It’s the highest honor of my life to serve as your commander in chief.”

Trump spoke with six units representing each US military branch, including the Space Force, which he said holds a “special place in my heart.”

“Thank you all, have a great Thanksgiving, and don’t eat too much turkey,” he said as he concluded the call.

President-elect Joe Biden tweeted that he spent the afternoon on video calls with frontline workers.

“Jill and I were honored today to talk to some of the heroes on the front lines of this crisis,” Biden said. “We’re thankful today and every day for the nurses and firefighters who sacrifice so much to keep our communities safe. We see the very best of America in your courage and selflessness.”

In 2017 and 2018, Trump held his Thanksgiving call with troops
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The best Black Friday deals on binoculars for travel, skywatching and nature

There’s nothing quite like getting up close to Earth’s incredible wildlife and this Black Friday we’ve scanned retailers to help you find the very best deal on your next binocular — whether you’re wanting to observe birds up close, scour the surface of the moon (or a bit of both!), you can get a great discount today.



Celestron Nature DX 8x42 Binocular


© Provided by Live Science
Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binocular

With unbeatable offers on Celestron’s Outland X 10×50 and Celestron’s range of SkyMaster Binocular — both of which offer a mix of stunning terrestrial views — we’ve rounded up the very best pieces of kit that exude performance and high quality. And for a fraction of the cost.

Some binoculars in our Black Friday deals come with accessories, including lens caps and a handy carry case to ensure that the optics are always protected during tours of land and sky. What’s more, all binoculars are robust and can withstand bumps and knocks, making them the perfect choice for young observers and the most adventurous members of the family.

The all-arounder Celestron Nature DX 8×42 binocular is our editor’s choice and comes at an unbelievable 46% off at Amazon. With their lightweight design, you can switch from observing the local wildlife to the surface of the moon within moments: thanks to a combination of coated lenses, BaK-4 prisms and nitrogen purging, views are spectacularly clear for unbelievable observations.

More great Black Friday deals on binoculars from top brand Celestron



a pair of telescope


© Provided by Space


Celestron SkyMaster Pro 20×80 Binocular: $259.95 $179.00 at Amazon

With its fantastic optics, which includes fully multicoated optics and BaK-4 prisms, the SkyMaster Pro 20×80 allow the skywatcher to observe at great distances, picking out those faint fuzzies and achieving high-definition views of the moon and planets. View Deal



a close up of a device


© Provided by Space


Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binocular: $103.95 $69.00 at Amazon

The Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binocular comes with a carry case to protect its superb multicoated optics. The 25x magnification and large 2.76-inch (70 mm) objective lens allow the observer to get close to everything from wildlife to bright galaxies. View Deal

Be sure to check out Live Science’s best binoculars for kids 2020 as well as Space.com’s best binoculars 2020.  

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She canceled a trip because of COVID-19. It took 9 months to get a travel insurance refund.

Maribeth Flatley of Elizabeth was looking forward to a trip that was supposed to happen in May.

It was a 21-day tour of Scandinavia, starting off in Copenhagen, Denmark, then weaving through Sweden and Finland, and ending up in Oslo, Norway.

“I always wanted to visit this part of the world,” she said.

Flatley, 71, who uses a cane and an inhaler, took travel insurance to cover the nearly $10,000 trip, and she put the charge on her Wells Fargo credit card.

Then the coronavirus pandemic happened.

“Due to ill health, my doctor said I could not travel,” Flatley said. “I canceled the trip.”

Fortunately, Flatley had purchased travel insurance. The tour company ultimately canceled the trip, but Flatley would have gotten a credit for future travel, not a refund.

On March 26, she sent a cancelation notice to Aon, the travel insurance company. The company sent back a form for Flatley’s doctor to complete.

She gave it to her doctor, and then she waited.

When nothing happened by June, she asked Wells Fargo about the charge. Wells decided to put the charge in dispute, but when a credit showed on her statement, Flatley thought it was a refund through Aon.

But that was incorrect. Flatley didn’t realize it at the time, but the money showing in the account was a provisional credit from Wells Fargo as it investigated the dispute.

Later that month, Aon asked for another doctor’s letter, she said. They sent it in.

Over the next several months, Flatley stayed in touch with Wells Fargo about the money. No one gave her answers.

On Aug. 19, Flatley said, a representative from Wells Fargo said the case was escalated.

“He said this has gone on too long,” Flatley said.

But nothing was escalated except for the red tape.

In September, Aon asked once again for additional medical information from Flatley’s doctor.

“The doctor said he sent them information three times,” she said.

In October, the charge remained in dispute, but no one could from Wells could give Flatley an update, she said.

On Oct. 7, I spoke to a manager at the Wells Fargo, who spent an hour-and-a-half on the phone trying to help me, Flatley said. He said I would get a letter in three days. It never happened,” she added.

A week later, the manager suggested she call the number on the credit card, she said.

So she did. She was transferred to several people and was finally told an “advocate” would call her back.

That didn’t happen, either.

The phone calls continued, and finally, in October, Flatley received an email from a Wells Fargo representative who said she needed two weeks to do further research.

Tired of waiting, Flatley asked Bamboozled for help.

PAYING UP

We reviewed Flatley’s timeline, credit card statements and other documents, and we reached out to Wells Fargo and Aon for help.

Wells Fargo said it would review the case, but it didn’t report any updates back to us.

But Aon

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Travel down over 70 percent at airports across New England during Thanksgiving week

“Around the holidays people tend to travel more, so we expect numbers to increase during those weekends,” said Daniel Velez, a TSA spokesman. Travel numbers are predicted to remain lower than those in 2019 due to the pandemic, he said.

The highest number of single-day travelers during Thanksgiving week in New England so far — 27,761 people — was seen on Saturday, Nov. 21, according to the TSA. Last year, Friday, Nov. 22, was the busiest travel day with just under 93,000 people.

At Logan International Airport, the number of passengers has consistently been down about 80 percent “for several months now,” according to Jennifer Mehigan, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Before the pandemic, the airport regularly saw between 120,000 and 140,000 total travelers a day. Because there have been fewer passengers throughout the year, the airport staff was ready for the influx in passengers during Thanksgiving week, Mehigan said.

“Typically, the Thanksgiving holiday does tend to be a busy time at the airport, though nothing has been normal in this pandemic,” she said.

Data on the number of travelers during the holiday week at specific airports was not provided.

The risk of being on a plane isn’t what worries health experts, according to Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center.

Compared to the number of flights since the pandemic, there have been “relatively few” transmission events, she said.

“It’s the fact that people are moving around the country,” Doron said.

With different rates of infection in communities across the United States, Doron’s primary concern is that people who travel to areas where the virus is more prevalent may contract it and bring it back.

The same goes for people from Massachusetts who travel to areas where the virus is less prevalent, such as Vermont, putting those communities at risk.

“To me, that’s the main reason not to travel,” Doron said.

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, Doron said she was concerned to see long lines at testing facilities — “longer than we’ve ever seen before” — suggesting that people may be getting tested to meet travel restrictions or attend gatherings.

“Right now, we are looking at the real possibility of a second wave that could overwhelm our healthcare system,” Doron said.

Unlike the first wave of the virus in March and April, when many hospitals struggled to provide care for the surge in coronavirus patients, a second larger wave could prove too much for hospitals to handle.

“At this time, travel is not advised,” she said, emphasizing that travel outside of the state is discouraged “because we just don’t want to move that virus around more than we have to.”

Despite higher travel volumes during the holiday season, the overall decline in travel was expected among transportation officials, Velez said.

As predicted, however, Thanksgiving week proved to be the busiest of the year nationwide — by far.

“We have hit the 1 million passenger mark three times within the

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The Companies Bringing Travel Home To You This Winter

While we are all still grounded, and travel is limited for most of us for the foreseeable future, all we can do is dream about far-flung adventures yet to come. Those working in the hospitality sector have had to think fast on their feet to keep surviving, and we can only applaud the efforts of many brands who have pivoted to offer something new, in order to keep their names fresh in the minds of would-be guests and travellers.

One of the UK’s ultimate wintery destinations – Gleneagles, near Auchterarder, Scotland – may have had to close its doors for a while, but the grand-dame hotel is keeping its ‘spirit’ alive this year by opening its own online shop. On offer is its own range of fine foods, devised by its chefs and local suppliers, and festive hampers, focusing on Scottish treats and locally-sourced items. It means you can feast on preserves, inspired by the flavours of Perthshire, for instance, or drizzle on gourmet oils and dressings, produced on a farm near to the hotel. The hotel is renowned for its outdoor pursuits and swish, cosy interiors, and this ambiance can also be conjured up at home by cocooning under one of the pure wool blankets woven by Lovat Mill in the Scottish Borders and usually given to guests to take out on excursions.

Devold – a Norwegian knitwear brand – is under the same ownership of  62ºNORD, an experiential travel company offering personalised adventures and timeless hotels on the north-west coast of Norway. Its Svalbard wool sweater is usually only available at three of the company’s properties – Hotel Brosundet, Storfjord Hotel and Hotel Union Oye – but is now available online. It’s the ideal way to imagine yourself on an Nordic adventure, that is until you get the chance to check-in in person.

One of the sweet little moments to be had at the legendary Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, an Oetker Collection hotel, is browsing the eclectic Eden Being Boutique. To celebrate its 150 years of glam French Riviera hospitality, it has now introduced some landmark products to purchase online. You can pick up an inflatable lifebuoy –perfect to dream that you are floating on the aquamarine waters of the Med, or, why not light one of the Bamford x Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc candles? Your home will be scented with bergamot, lemon and grapefruit – just like the ocean-fronted property. If money is no object, you could splash out on a limited-edition Hublot x Eden Rock St Barths watch, for £16,379. 

Inspired by the expert craftsmen who built The Domaine des Etangs – a converted 13th-century chateau in the heart of the Charente, close to Bordeaux

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