Tag: Americans

Which countries can Americans visit?



a view of a mountain: Visitors are dwarfed by the mountaintop site of Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo taken in 2011. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)


© (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Visitors are dwarfed by the mountaintop site of Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo taken in 2011. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Dozens of countries in Europe and Asia remain off-limits for American travelers as the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. Other countries do remain open, with and without quarantine, to Americans who can meet certain conditions.

Many, such as Albania, are off the beaten path for most Americans. Others, such as Mexico, are more familiar. At least two of those nations, Aruba and Costa Rica, have different policies depending on which U.S. state you are from.

Unfortunately, you won’t find Canada on the open list. Canada has banned most foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, from entering its territory. There are exceptions for some students and people with Canadian family, but otherwise, the ban on nonessential travel is firm.

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The U.S.’ other neighbor, Mexico, requires no test and no quarantine for those traveling by air. Under a pact the two countries have been renewing monthly, U.S. travelers are forbidden from traveling by land across the border for nonessential reasons, but no such ban applies to those who fly. That large loophole, by the way, is often unacknowledged in Department of Homeland Security communications.

Regarding those European nations: If you aren’t familiar with the term “Schengen countries,” you should be. The term refers to 26 European Union nations that are acting collectively when it comes to allowing travelers to safely cross their borders without spreading COVID-19. Many have been tightening internal restrictions in recent days in hopes of thwarting a new surge of cases. Americans currently are not allowed in; residents of Canada, New Zealand and Japan are. The list is reviewed every two weeks.

In the Asia-Pacific region, too, many doors are also closed. American tourists are not allowed to visit Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. The same goes for Australia and New Zealand.

What to consider before you go

Before you make plans for going abroad, bear in mind that travel increases your risk of infection and the chance that you might unknowing pass infection to others, worsening a catastrophe that has already claimed 1 million lives . Since March, local, state and national health officials have all urged Americans to stay close to home — preferably within their neighborhoods — and defer any nonessential travel.



Masked passengers fill a Southwest Airlines flight from Burbank to Las Vegas on June 3, with middle seats left open. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)


© (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Masked passengers fill a Southwest Airlines flight from Burbank to Las Vegas on June 3, with middle seats left open. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

The U.S. State Department has detailed nation-by-nation information on COVID-19 conditions abroad. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have information on COVID-19 cases and deaths (with countries assessed four levels of risk), and the World Health Organization maintains an updated dashboard. For another perspective, you can also check which countries the British government believes are safe to visit. (As of late October, more than 50 countries

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Wingate Hotel in Montana accused of racism against Native Americans

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Racist policies have led to COVID-19 being more dangerous and deadly for Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous Americans than for white Americans.

USA TODAY

When Kevin Kickingwoman, a teacher who lives in Browning, Montana, checked in to the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Great Falls, Montana, Tuesday evening, an employee at the desk allegedly told him the hotel does not serve people from Browning due to the Blackfeet Nation’s stay-at-home directive due to coronavirus. 

Kevin planned to get back surgery in Great Falls, which is two hours from Browning, early Wednesday, and his daughter and her mother, who live in Missoula, Montana, which is close to three hours from Great Falls, met him at the hotel.

Kevin’s daughter, Sharen, 26, took to Twitter after the incident.

“How come they will still serve people from Missoula? We have high covid numbers, (expletive) every where across the state has high numbers at this point. Sounds like some racist picking and choosing.. is this your policy, Wingate Hotels?” she tweeted Tuesday evening. 

Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Great Falls (Photo: NORA MABIE/TRIBUNE PHOTO)

Larry Gooldy, general manager of the hotel, said the hotel does not accept guests from any state that has a COVID-19 lockdown. The Blackfeet Nation’s stay-at-home order, which was recently extended through Nov. 8, exempts certain activities, including leaving the reservation to obtain medical services and groceries, and nowhere in the order does the tribe ask businesses located off the reservation to enforce its directive. 

Gooldy told the Great Falls Tribune, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, if guests are from Browning, which is the headquarters for the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, they must present either a verified doctor’s note, with their name and date of visit, or a document from the Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command, saying the person is allowed to leave the reservation. 

Gooldy said guests have shown him such travel permits, but the tribe’s public information officer Jim McNeely said that is untrue and those forms do not exist. 

The Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command (Photo: BLACKFEET COVID-19 INCIDENT COMMAND)

“The Blackfeet Tribe is currently looking into this matter and will keep the public updated,” McNeely said in a statement Wednesday. 

Gooldy said his policy applies to all states with COVID-19 quarantine orders. 

“Anytime that there’s a lockdown in the United States from any location, we post it up here, and they don’t get a stay,” Gooldy said. “Like we had California guests in here when their state was in lockdown initially. And they didn’t get to stay here at the Wingate in Great Falls. But I wasn’t called a racist either.”

When the Kickingwoman family explained Kevin was getting surgery the next day, Sharen said the employee asked for proof, so Kevin emailed the manager a doctor’s note. Gooldy said the doctor’s note did not have the patient’s name or time of visit, but that his employee alerted him of the situation and checked them in.

The family checked in to the hotel for about

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Growing Majority Of Americans Unlikely To Travel, Eat Out, And Other Bad News As Case Counts Surge

It’s going to be a while before the majority of Americans feel comfortable engaging in leisure activities that were once basic parts of our everyday lifestyles thanks to the pandemic.

That’s according to a new weekly COVID-19 poll produced by intelligence data start-up Morning Consult called the Comfort Tracker. According to the firm’s most recent survey (Oct. 23-25) of 2200 adults released yesterday, Americans’ overall “comfort” level with nine activities—including going on vacation, eating out, heading to the movies, working out at the gym, or traveling abroad, among others—is beginning to stagnate and/or decrease after a week of record highs as the coronavirus’s second wave grips most the U.S.

This represents a worrisome reversal from this summer, when Americans’ comfort levels with the poll’s activities largely remained steady—and in some instances increased—as state and local lockdowns eased, warmer weather arrived, and case counts and hospitalizations decreased with better compliance with public health guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks.

Per Morning Consult, a majority of Americans still aren’t comfortable engaging in any of the poll’s activities, even as confidence levels with eating out hit an all-time high of 42%. Fewer than 18% of Americans polled said they’d feel comfortable attending a concert. Even less—15%—said they’d be confident traveling abroad, a figure that could have dire consequences for resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, many of which generate most of their annual revenue between November and April as Americans head south between Thanksgiving and Spring Break.

For travel and hospitality overall, including already struggling restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues, the poll’s general downturn in consumer confidence could spell further pain and disaster heading into winter as case counts spike further and temporary stopgap measures like Paycheck Protection Program loans and furloughs run out.

Morning Consult launched its first Comfort Tracker poll in early April 2020 as the pandemic began raging to deliver businesses critical intelligence on how COVID-19 is transforming consumer preferences, which they correctly deduced at the time would be essential to navigating the eventual “new normal”.

“At the start of the pandemic, people kept asking us how COVID would change consumer behavior,” says Alyssa Meyers, Brands Reporter at Morning Consult. “CMOs and other executives can’t do their jobs well without understanding this, and we knew that tracking comfort levels specifically across a range of activities would be critical for other industries as well.”

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Governors Are Urging Americans Not To Travel For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend is normally one of the busiest travel periods of the year. But with Covid-19 infections increasing at a record-setting pace across the country, a growing number of governors are urging residents to nix their Thanksgiving travel plans.

“This might be a good year not to travel,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker during a press conference yesterday. Baker added that most states have travel restrictions in place because travel “shows up quite a bit in a lot of the contact tracing.”

“The numbers aren’t good,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo yesterday in her weekly briefing. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it.” Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to scale back their Thanksgiving holiday plans by avoiding out-of-state travel and limiting gatherings to family members who live within the same household. “This is the best way to avoid spreading the virus to our loved and for us, as a state, to avoid having major problems in the weeks after Thanksgiving.”

Last week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that people should not travel or invite out-of-state family to New Jersey. “Sadly, we are seeing more and more family gatherings as the sparks for these outbreaks,” said the governor. “We urge you to not gather around the dining room table with anyone outside your immediate household. And if you do, to limit that reach to only a limited number of close relatives.”

Murphy has joined New Governor Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in a statement urging “all of our residents to avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel between states at this time.”

And, at a press briefing last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine encouraged families to re-think their Thanksgiving plans in the name of safety, saying, “If you are going to do it safely you are not going to do it like last year.”

MORE FROM FORBESTravel Alert: America’s Covid-19 Surge Won’t End Until 2021

Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest set of restrictions on gatherings makes it virtually impossible for Californians to host anything but a small Thanksgiving with immediate family.

“Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases,” reads one of 19 bullet points. “People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least six feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.”

Those restrictions may sound draconian. But they are largely in line with the recently issued detailed guidance for Thanksgiving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which deems “attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household” to be high risk.

“Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes Covid-19,” according to the guidance. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

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Americans torn between taking a vacation and avoiding the coronavirus, surveys find – News – Wicked Local

Americans would love to go on vacation. They’re just not sure they should actually go.

That’s the finding of two surveys that both found many travelers are expressing hesitation due to the coronavirus pandemic about taking a trip.

Some 67% of those responding to an AAA Travel survey released Thursday say they are uncertain about whether to take a vacation.

And online travel booking site Travelocity found 57% of Americans say they won’t travel for the year-end holidays this year.

The findings are in line with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which offers a world map that indicates the coronavirus is a threat in just about every country, including the U.S.

The AAA survey points to a trend that has become a theme of fall travel since the pandemic started causing broad shutdowns in March – more trips by car often to outdoor destinations and planned days or a week, not months, ahead of time.

About 80% of vacation trips will be by car, and places “known for outdoor recreation and socially distanced fun” will be particularly popular, AAA said.

As if to prove the point, two new outdoor-oriented destinations show up on AAA’s list of most popular driving vacation destinations. Keystone, South Dakota, gateway to Mount Rushmore, now takes sixth place. Colorado, the Rocky Mountain State, adds Colorado Springs in 10th place.

The Top 10 are:

Denver

Las Vegas

Los Angeles

San Diego

Seattle

Keystone

Portland, Oregon

Phoenix

Colorado Springs

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“Trips that allow people to take advantage of the great outdoors are particularly appealing this fall,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

Families are open to vacations at the end of the year, but are wary of the coronavirus. Most of those who take a trip will go by car. Here’s how it was done 70 years ago when families loaded up the station wagon.

She cited state and national parks, beaches and gardens as the kind of COVID-19-safe attractions that are popular.

The Travelocity survey found 25% of respondents surveyed in mid-September had planned to take a vacation by the end of the year.

Despite the general trend toward booking trips on short notice, Travelocity found about 60% of both those planning Thanksgiving or December holiday trips had planned to book by the end of September. Those planning travel said they have already made travel arrangements for Thanksgiving or December trips.

“It’s going to be a nontraditional holiday season this year, so families are gearing up to make the most of it by planning a holiday away from home and using their vacation days to travel,” says Katie Junod, Travelocity’s general manager, in a statement.

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Surveys find Americans want to go, fear COVID-19

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If you can’t get out of the city, try camping in your own backyard.

USA TODAY

Americans would love to go on vacation. They’re just not sure they should actually go. 

That’s the finding of two surveys that both found many travelers are expressing hesitation due to the coronavirus pandemic about taking a trip.

Some 67% of those responding to an AAA Travel survey released Thursday say they are uncertain about whether to take a vacation.

And online travel booking site Travelocity found 57% of Americans say they won’t travel for the year-end holidays this year.

The findings are in line with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which offers a world map that indicates the coronavirus is a threat in just about every country, including the U.S.

The AAA survey points to a trend that has become a theme of fall travel since the pandemic started causing broad shutdowns in March – more trips by car often to outdoor destinations and planned days or a week, not months, ahead of time. 

About 80% of vacation trips will be by car, and places “known for outdoor recreation and socially distanced fun” will be particularly popular, AAA said. 

As if to prove the point, two new outdoor-oriented destinations show up on AAA’s list of most popular driving vacation destinations. Keystone, South Dakota, gateway to Mount Rushmore, now takes sixth place. Colorado, the Rocky Mountain State, adds Colorado Springs in 10th place. 

The Top 10 are:

  1. Denver
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Los Angeles
  4. San Diego
  5. Seattle
  6. Keystone
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Phoenix
  9. Colorado Springs
  10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“Trips that allow people to take advantage of the great outdoors are particularly appealing this fall,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.

She cited state and national parks, beaches and gardens as the kind of COVID-19-safe attractions that are popular.

The Travelocity survey found 25% of respondents surveyed in mid-September had planned to take a vacation by the end of the year.

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With the coronavirus pandemic, it is harder to go on vacation. Here are some ways to feel like you’re on vacation by continuing to sit on your couch.

USA TODAY

Despite the general trend toward booking trips on short notice, Travelocity found about 60% of both those planning Thanksgiving or December holiday trips had planned to book by the end of September. Those planning travel said they have already made travel arrangements for Thanksgiving or December trips.

“It’s going to be a nontraditional holiday season this year, so families are gearing up to make the most of it by planning a holiday away from home and using their vacation days to travel,” says Katie Junod, Travelocity’s general manager, in

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Americans Turn Hardline: 67% Want to Ban Interstate Travel, 68% Want Fines for Rule Breakers

Although America has a reputation for being rather libertarian with regards to personal rights and one’s freedom of movement, a new opinion poll by Rasmussen Reports shows that Americans are turning hardline in the face of the new and deadly Chinese coronavirus. Two out of three want to ban interstate travel and fine those who violate social distancing guidelines.

To be precise, 67% of likely U.S. voters say they want to ban all out-of-state travelers from entering their state — except for emergencies. A mere 21% are opposed, 12% are undecided. As for fining those who break social distancing guidelines: 68% support such a measure, while 20% oppose it and, again, 12% are not sure.

That’s all incredibly fascinating. But what’s even more interesting is this tidbit from the survey:

[T]here is virtually no difference of opinion on either question among Democrats, Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party.

So, yes, this opinion is widely held. Conservatives, liberals, ‘moderates’… They all agree that strict measures have to be taken.

The question now is: will more cities and even governors do what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has done? In New York, police have been ordered to levy fines against rule-breakers, from $250 to $500. If Rasmussen is to be believed, a large majority of Americans want the see the same thing happen in their city (and state).

Of course, some will call on President Trump to do this, but America doesn’t have a top-down system. It’s bottom-up, not the other way around. This means that it’s up to local and state officials to make sure that their people are protected against this invisible killer. The federal government may have to get involved at a late date, but only and truly as a last resort, when the individual states can’t handle it.

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The sad reason half of Americans don’t take all their paid vacation

Millions of Americans are giving their vacation days back to their employer.

The average U.S. employee who receives paid vacation has only taken about half (54%) of those days n the past 12 months, a new survey of over 2,200 workers by careers website Glassdoor found. This is relatively consistent with how much vacation time employees reported taking in 2014 (51%), when Glassdoor first conducted this survey. If an average worker who receives two weeks vacation leaves five days on the table, they’re effectively giving hundreds of dollars back to the company.

This is similar to previous studies on the subject. Last year, more than half (54%) of Americans didn’t take all their vacation days, up from 42% in 2013, according to a separate study released by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off. These workers gave up 658 million unused vacation days and 222 million of those days cannot be rolled over or exchanged for money. (Over 5,600 full-time workers were surveyed, including 1,184 managers.)

Why don’t they take what’s due? “Fear,” says Scott Dobroski, career trends analyst at Glassdoor. “That’s the underscoring theme.” They fear getting behind on their work (34%), believe no one else at their company can do the work while they’re out (30%), they are completely dedicated to their company (22%), and they feel they can never be disconnected (21%). As workers shoulder a heavier work-load post-recession, he says others are afraid of not meeting goals.

Most U.S. companies have an “employment-at-will” policy, meaning they can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, unless they have a written contract, they’re in a labor union that has other rules relating to conditions of employment or they’re fired because of some kind of discrimination.

“We have almost no job security in the U.S., no legal requirement for severance pay and, with very few exceptions, can be laid off without notice,” John Schmitt, research director for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, D.C. focusing on economic inequality and public policy.

Also see: Americans are stuck in a financial groundhog day

The other study released last year by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications and the U.S. Travel Association — which obviously has a vested interest in workers using up all their paid vacation time — also found that people were fearful that they would return to a mountain of work (37%) and that no one else can do the job (30%). Others said it’s harder to take time off when they have a more senior position (28%), while others (22%) said they want to show complete dedication to their job.

But there was one thing that most people agreed upon: Some 80% of employees said if they felt fully supported and encouraged by their boss, they would take more time off.

The vacation situation is mixed overseas. Workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days a year — and 25 or even 30

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Why Americans Aren’t Taking Half Of Their Vacation Days

Only 23% of employees are taking all of their eligible time off, according to a recent survey by job site Glassdoor. In fact, the average employee takes about half (54%) of his or her vacation time—a number that hasn’t changed much since Glassdoor asked the question in 2014.

And when people do take their vacation days, they aren’t 100% vacationing. Two-thirds (66%) report working when they take vacation, which is higher than the number in 2014 (61%).

The folks at Glassdoor weren’t surprised by the first number, which has remained fairly consistent. But the second number raised some red flags. “More employees are doing work and thinking about work while on vacation,” says Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor community expert. “Technology is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it can allow parents to take off at 3 p.m. and see their child’s soccer game during the week. But it’s a curse because you can take off for vacation time and be sitting on a beautiful beach and log into your inbox.”

With all that technology available, it might seem like it would be easier than ever to take time off. After all, if you’re always reachable, aren’t you reachable from anywhere?

“When we look at the top reasons why people are not taking vacation time, it boils down to fear,” Dobroski says. “The number one reason is that people fear getting behind, or that no one else at their company can do the work, or they feel they can never be disconnected.”

Fear is a factor for Mitch, who is a white collar technical worker. “Even with the economy going well, I still fear a layoff,” says Mitch, 49, who lives in Phoenix. “I want to have all my vacation in the bank so I can get a payout to help cushion the job loss.”

For Jake Tully, who heads up his company’s creative department, vacation brings significant feelings of guilt. “I would feel bad leaving my post for too long and opening the possibility of my team feeling lost or overwhelmed,” says Tully, 25, who lives in Woodland Hills, CA. “I feel incredibly lucky to lead excellent and competent groups of people, but I don’t ever want to put those I manage in a position where my prolonged absence hinders their day-to-day or makes their lives more difficult.”

For others, vacation is a source of income. “Some companies offer their employees the opportunity to cash out their unused vacation days at year end, especially if there is a cap on how many—if any—can be carried over to the next year,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “For my clients who prefer the money, and don’t see time off as essential, this is a nice incentive.”

It can also be tricky to take a vacation at a firm where the culture doesn’t push workers to take a break. “Two-thirds of employees say they hear very little about vacation time from

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International Travel Issues for Americans

Do you travel by plane within the U.S. or abroad, or drive or walk across the border into Canada or Mexico? You can skip the long security and customs lines at the airport or border crossing by enrolling in a “Trusted Traveler” program from the Department of Homeland Security.

Five programs serve different travel routes and needs. They use streamlined procedures with reserved lanes and kiosks to get pre-approved travelers on their way quickly.

Each program has a different enrollment fee but all come with a five-year membership. To enroll, apply online, then attend an appointment at an enrollment center. Visit dhs.gov/trusted-traveler-programs for current prices and to learn more.

For travel within the U.S. and U.S. territories by air

Program: TSA PreCheck

What makes it faster: Dedicated fast lanes for airport security screening. No need to remove shoes, belt, light jacket, laptop, or liquids at airport security.

Eligibility: U.S. citizens and permanent residents

For travel into the U.S. from abroad

Program: Global Entry

What makes it faster: Use a kiosk to clear customs, immigration, and agricultural processing. No paperwork

Other benefits: Dedicated fast lanes for vehicles and walkers entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. Includes TSA PreCheck

Eligibility: U.S. citizens and permanent residents, citizens of certain other countries

For travel into the U.S. from Mexico by land

Program: SENTRI

What makes it faster: Dedicated fast lanes for vehicles and walkers

Other benefits: Faster entry into the U.S. for U.S. citizens and permanent residents following an international flight. Includes TSA PreCheck.

Eligibility: Citizens of any country who have the required documentation or visas to enter the U.S.

For travel between the U.S. and Canada

Program: NEXUS

What makes it faster: Use a kiosk to clear customs at U.S. and Canadian airports. Dedicated fast lanes for vehicles and walkers at northern border crossings

Other benefits: Faster processing for marine traffic entering the U.S. from Canada. Includes TSA PreCheck

Eligibility: U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents

For travel into the U.S. from Canada or Mexico by commercial carrier

Program: FAST (North or South)

What makes it faster: Designated FAST lanes for commercial truck drivers transporting goods

Eligibility: U.S. and Canadian citizens and permanent residents; Mexican nationals

 

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