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Americans planning holiday travel could add to COVID-19 surge

The Transportation Security Administration screened more people on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year than on any day in the agency’s history. This Thanksgiving weekend won’t be as busy but millions still plan to hit the road. Health experts say those travelers could add to the wave of infections now sweeping the country.



a group of people with luggage at an airport: Travelers at airports as U.S. airline daily traffic falls


© Angus Mordant / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Travelers at airports as U.S. airline daily traffic falls

Millions of Americans planning to travel this holiday amid COVID-19 pandemic

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A.J. Dronkers hasn’t seen his mother in over a year but that’s about to change. He’s among the 56% of Americans planning to travel for Thanksgiving — after he gets a COVID-19 test.

“We decided last minute and I think that was part of weighing out all the risk, all the factors,” Dronkers told CBS News. “I really let my family drive that decision on their comfort level and every time I called, and they said they were perfectly comfortable. Also, the beauty of Southern California, we can eat outside.”

Americans will fly more than 500 additional flights a day as airlines anticipate the busiest stretch of the pandemic, but the number of travelers is expected to be far less than last year, and most will go by car — 76%, according to TripAdvisor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection warns even “small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.” The agency recommends getting a flu shot, hosting small gatherings outside, wearing a mask and staying out of tight spaces like kitchens.

“When people get together indoors, eating, drinking, talking, shouting, singing, that’s unfortunately how to spread a lot of COVID, especially when people are traveling around,” former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. 

“Please be more careful around Thanksgiving so that we can have a merry Christmas, otherwise there’s a real chance that we’re going to see explosive spread of COVID throughout December as a result of the Thanksgiving holidays,” Frieden continued.

Frieden downsized his own family’s Thanksgiving in light of COVID-19’s surge. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, was forced to make the same decision

The CDC is encouraging people to limit gatherings to their own household or a small group of close contacts. The agency is also recommending people to wear masks indoors when they’re not eating, hold events outdoors, or even host a virtual Thanksgiving with family out of state. 

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Millions of Americans planning holiday travel could add to COVID-19 surge, experts warn

The Transportation Security Administration screened more people on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year than on any day in the agency’s history. This Thanksgiving weekend won’t be as busy but millions still plan to hit the road. Health experts say those travelers could add to the wave of infections now sweeping the country.

A.J. Dronkers hasn’t seen his mother in over a year but that’s about to change. He’s among the 56% of Americans planning to travel for Thanksgiving — after he gets a COVID-19 test.

“We decided last minute and I think that was part of weighing out all the risks, all the factors,” Dronkers told CBS News. “I really let my family drive that decision on their comfort level, and every time I called they said that they were perfectly comfortable. Also, the beauty of Southern California, we can eat outside.”

Americans will fly more than 500 additional flights a day as airlines anticipate the busiest stretch of the pandemic, but the number of travelers is expected to be far less than last year, and most will go by car — 76%, according to TripAdvisor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns even “small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.” The agency recommends getting a flu shot, hosting small gatherings outside, wearing a mask and staying out of tight spaces like kitchens.

“When people get together indoors, eating, drinking, talking, shouting, singing, that’s unfortunately how to spread a lot of COVID, especially when people are traveling around,” former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. 

“Please be more careful around Thanksgiving so that we can have a merry Christmas, otherwise there’s a real chance that we’re going to see explosive spread of COVID throughout December as a result of the Thanksgiving holidays,” Frieden continued.

Frieden downsized his own family’s Thanksgiving in light of COVID-19’s surge. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, was forced to make the same decision

The CDC is encouraging people to limit gatherings to their own household or a small group of close contacts. The agency is also recommending people to wear masks indoors when they’re not eating, hold events outdoors, or even host a virtual Thanksgiving with family out of state. 

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Hotel wants to add new rooms

The Norwood House Hotel, Pave Lane, Chetwynd Aston.
The Norwood House Hotel, Pave Lane, Chetwynd Aston.

The Norwood House Hotel near Newport has applied to convert its existing dining and function room, which was built in 2014, into five bedrooms with shared washing and toilet facilities.

A design statement, submitted on behalf of Norwood House Hotel Ltd director John Watson, says the venue, on Pave Lane, Chetwynd Aston, hopes future guests will include business visitors drawn to the area by the nearby Newport Innovation Park.

Chetwynd Aston and Woodcote Parish Council will be consulted about the change-of-use application, and Telford and Wrekin Council’s planning department will make its decision at a later date.

The statement, prepared by Lilleshall-based planning agent John Nickson, says: “The Norwood House Hotel presently is a three-storey brick-construction, roof-tiled building with a cellar for the storage and operation of beer casks with the bars, kitchen, restaurant and toilet facilities at ground level and hotel accommodation at first- and second-floor levels.”

Five guest rooms are currently available, a number that “does not satisfy the levels of enquiries we get for B&B requests in the area,” Mr Nickson adds.

The Norwood House Hotel has had to divert customers to other accommodation, “losing business and trade through our lack of room capacity”.

The proposed change would add “five one-bed budget rooms” with a “communal shower room with toilet and wash hand basin facilities”, he adds.

Blueprints submitted to the council show four of the bedrooms and the bathroom in a row along the back wall of the hotel, with the fifth in front, next to the reception.

“There is also a significant new development 1.2 miles from Norwood House, in the form of the NI Park, and we would like to be able to provide local accommodations and food facilities for those businesses,” Mr Nickson writes.

The statement adds that new facilities are also planned, including complimentary bicycles for guests’ use and a twice-daily minibus service, also open for use by local residents.

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United Airlines (UAL) to Add 8 New Routes for Winter Travel

As leisure-travel demand continues to improve, United Airlines Holdings, Inc. UAL plans to introduce eight new routes and increase services to 19 destinations (in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America) for the winter travel period.

As part of its expansion initiative, United Airlines aims to begin new non-stop services connecting Denver with Belize City, Belize and San Jose, Costa Rica from December. From Dec 19, United Airlines is going to launch new Saturday service between Los Angeles and San Jose, Costa Rica which expands to daily service on Jan 5, 2021. Moreover, the airline is also set to begin services connecting Los Angeles with San Pedro Sula, Honduras and Liberia, Costa Rica on Dec 17 and Jan 8, respectively. The flights will operate thrice a week.

Apart from launching these services, the carrier also plans to increase frequency for few routes. The airline plans to increase flights connecting Los Angeles with Guatemala City (10 times per week), Liberia, Costa Rica (three times) and San Salvador, El Salvador (11 times).  Some of the other routes where the carrier will expand services for winter travel are between Washington Dulles and Cancun; San Francisco and Cancun.

Through this move, United Airlines aims to generate revenues and boost flying opportunities. It is expected to boost the top line in the near term amid severe coronavirus-induced crisis.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

United Airlines carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. JBHT , Werner Enterprises, Inc. WERN and Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc KNX. While J.B. Hunt carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), Werner and Knight-Swift sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term expected earnings per share (three to five years) growth rate for J.B. Hunt, Werner and Knight-Swift is pegged at 15%, 8.5% and 15%, respectively.

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