Tag: Holidays

APs, DVC Members Enjoy 10% Discount at Select Holiday Kitchens During EPCOT Festival of the Holidays

As a small bonus for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members, EPCOT is now offering a 10% discount at select Holiday Kitchens. Guests can take advantage of this offer in the evenings starting at 7pm.

What’s Happening:

  • Disney is enticing guests to stay and dine a bit longer at EPCOT during the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
  • From now through the end of the Festival, Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can take advantage of a 10% discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages at select Holiday Kitchens.
  • This discount is valid each evening from 7 pm through park close.
  • Guests must use electronic payment methods.
  • This limited time offering is a great way for guests to enjoy the festival in the evenings and sample delicious seasonal specialities served around the world!
  • Disney has not stated which Holiday Kitchen are participating but guests are sure to find a new favorite treat no matter which location they visit.
  • For more information about the Holiday Kitchens featured during this year’s festival, visit our Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Guide Page.

EPCOT Holiday Magic:

  • Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is running now through December 30, 2020 and includes dining, shopping, and entertainment offerings for the whole family. Highlights include:
Laughing Place recommends MouseFanTravel.com for all your Walt Disney World travel planning



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The CDC says Americans shouldn’t travel for the holidays. Knowing they will anyway, the agency suggests 2 COVID-19 tests.

a group of people standing in a room: Health care worker Elizabeth Cameros, right, administers a deep nasal coronavirus test to traveler Wade Hopkins at a COVID-19 testing station at LAX on Monday, November 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

© Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Health care worker Elizabeth Cameros, right, administers a deep nasal coronavirus test to traveler Wade Hopkins at a COVID-19 testing station at LAX on Monday, November 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

  • The CDC says the safest way to celebrate winter holidays this year is at home.
  • But if you do plan to travel, the CDC recommends getting tested twice, once before and once after, and restricting your outings to only those most essential in the days surrounding your trip.
  • The CDC says travelers should get tested for the virus one to three days before traveling, as well as three to five days afterwards, and make sure both of those tests come back negative.
  • The agency also recommends restricting any “non-essential” outings for at least seven days after traveling.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With the coronavirus still spreading fast across the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the best way for Americans to celebrate winter holidays this December is to stay where they live.

“Cases are rising, hospitalizations are increasing, deaths are increasing, and we need to try to bend the curve,” the CDC’s COVID-19 Incident Manager Dr. Henry Walke said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home.”

Knowing that many people across the US will not heed that advice, the CDC is also offering up some guidance on how to travel more safely if you decide to venture out before 2021 ends.

Test before travel, afterwards, and lay low for a week

a woman holding luggage: Travelers at Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

© David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Travelers at Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The new travel guidance is three-pronged: test, lay low, and test again.

First, the CDC recommends travelers get a coronavirus test one to three days before they travel, and then make sure it comes back negative before they hop in the car, board a flight, or catch a train.

Once travelers arrive at their destination, they should also lay low for a week, restricting outings to only their most essential chores like grocery shopping. They should then take one more test “three to five days after travel,” Walke said. If it’s not possible to procure a second test after traveling, the CDC recommends increasing the period of essential-only outings to 10 days. 

Throughout all of this, travelers should monitor themselves for common symptoms of the virus (fever, cough, fatigue, body aches). They also need to wear a mask and be vigilant about handwashing, social distancing, and ventilation when indoors.

People traveling who’ve tested negative for the virus should still assume they could catch or carry it. Tests are not perfect at picking out every infection, and they can only provide insight into a single moment in

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COVID-19 impact from Thanksgiving travel and gatherings could be ‘precursor’ for upcoming holidays

Fallout from Thanksgiving travel and festivities could intensify challenges Massachusetts will face as it continues to battle the pandemic through the December holidays, when officials will be navigating more uncertain terrain amid soaring numbers of cases.

a person standing in front of a store: A passenger made a purchase Sunday from the PPE vending machine inside Terminal B at Logan Airport.

© Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
A passenger made a purchase Sunday from the PPE vending machine inside Terminal B at Logan Airport.

While more indications emerge that people are chafing under pandemic restrictions, those measures are vital to curb the spread and ease pressure on the state’s health care system, officials said.


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“Until we have a vaccine, we’re the vaccine,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Our behavior, and what we do, can help prevent the spread of this virus in our community.”

In the wake of Thanksgiving, public health officials will be closely monitoring state metrics to see what effect holiday travel and gatherings will have on the state’s COVID-19 levels. They will be looking at new cases, positivity test results, hospitalizations, and the presence of coronavirus in wastewater, which is seen as an early warning system.

Some experts, including Dr. Robert Horsburgh, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University, warn that in order to limit additional cases, Governor Charlie Baker will need to roll back the state’s economic reopening.

“We need to ratchet things down and get on top of things like transmission before hospitals fill up and we’re having the crises we had before,” Horsburgh said. “It’s definitely going in the wrong direction, and we can’t sit pat, because with more infections out there, the risk is increasing.”

Dr. Alessandro Vespignani, director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University, said public health results from those Thanksgiving activities could help officials project how upcoming holidays will affect coronavirus numbers.

“We need to be very careful. What happened during Thanksgiving could be a precursor of all the other many holidays,” Vespignani said. “So if we see a surge after Thanksgiving, then we have to think [about] and factor other possible surges for Christmas, for New Year’s Eve, et cetera.”

On Sunday, the state Department of Public Health reported 2,501 new confirmed coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, which brought the total to 217,163. The state’s death toll from confirmed cases reached 10,487, with 46 new deaths reported Sunday.

The state reported 43,709 people were estimated to have active cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, up 1,160 from 42,549 reported Saturday.

A Baker spokesman said Sunday that the administration “is not considering changes to public health protocols at this time and will continue to monitor COVID-19 data.”

Dr. Mauricio Santillana, who is director of the Machine Intelligence Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and is affiliated with Harvard Medical School, said adherence to some public health recommendations has fallen in Massachusetts.

Santillana was part of a group of researchers who reviewed survey data collected from respondents in the state that included questions on public health matters.

The findings from October showed that since April the number of people taking steps such as frequently washing hands, avoiding

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How to quarantine after travel amid COVID-19 during the holidays

If you traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to go into quarantine.

Specifically, if you went out of state, California has issued a travel advisory recommending that you quarantine for 14 days. If you had prolonged exposure to anyone outside of your household or existing pandemic pod, it’s a good idea to self-quarantine as well.

Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and former director of the division of communicable disease control and prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said people should think of quarantine as the middle position between isolation (what you do when you know you are infected) and “normal” pandemic life (where you might venture outdoors while masked and maintaining social distance).

Sometimes, when you see or hear a word a lot, it starts to lose its meaning. Such is the case with “quarantine.” Here’s a very short FAQ about what you need to be doing to appropriately self-quarantine.

What does it mean to self-quarantine? Stay at home, in your home, without going anywhere else or seeing anyone from outside your household, for 14 days.

The whole point of quarantining is to sequester yourself so that if you are infected, you do not infect anyone else. Take the phrase “stay at home” literally.

What if I need something essential, like food or medicine? If you absolutely need something, have it delivered. To avoid potentially infecting the delivery person, have them leave your package outside your closed front door, wait for them to leave, and wear a mask when you open your door to pick it up. Tip well.

What if I really need to leave the house to do something else? Kim-Farley said remaining on your property still technically counts, so you can take the dog out back for a bathroom break or take out the trash while you’re wearing your mask. Other than that, the only valid reason to leave the premises is for a doctor’s appointment, he said.

The goal here is to avoid any chance of being around other people. That means no visitors, even if they’re just stopping by for a few minutes. No outside exercise beyond your property. No going places, even if you’re just popping by the store for a couple of things or picking up takeout or running a super-quick errand.

What if I have to go to work? There is no such thing as “self-quarantining except for work.” If you are leaving the house and going to your workplace, you are potentially exposing co-workers and customers to the virus. You may be eligible for paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

What if I take a test? Testing does not exempt you from quarantining at any point in those 14 days. A negative test is not a hall pass to do whatever you want. You can test negative for the coronavirus, still be incubating it, and then the next day be contagious. Testing

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How Can I Celebrate the Holidays Without Travel?

For months, the question has loomed: Should we travel for the holidays? Like almost every question this year, the answer has been a resounding “it depends,” but every day the prospect of safe and responsible holiday travel seems to dim. Should we really cram into crowded airports while case numbers continue to climb?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently chimed in, strongly encouraging would-be Thanksgiving travelers to nix their plans. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the CDC’s website reads, and it seems like the pandemic will only worsen through December. In short, the answer is getting clearer: We probably shouldn’t travel for the holidays or host big family gatherings.

So what should we do? Eat the whole pie ourselves? Wrap presents for our cats? Spend even more time with our insufferable …. errr, beloved … household?

Celebrate not traveling

How many years have you dithered about buying a plane ticket home for the holidays, then purchased a too-expensive fare at the last minute because your family guilt-tripped you? Well, guess what? You have an ironclad excuse this year.

In other words, it’s important to focus on the positives. The CDC, bless it, has attempted to offer encouraging alternatives to standard holiday get-togethers, and even released a colorful cartoon PDF, presumably in an attempt to buoy our collective spirits. Check out the uplifting “hard choices” panel.

The problem with the CDC’s guidance, other than the father’s unrealistic hip flexibility, is its focus on how challenging it will be to isolate for the holidays, rather than focusing on the opportunities it opens and the stresses it reduces.

Seriously: Traveling during the holidays is horrible. Coordinating plans with extended family is stressful. We’ve all dreamed of skipping the holiday hullabaloo altogether and keeping it simple. The pandemic has handed us the opportunity to take a break this year without feeling guilty. No matter what our plans entail this year, at least they don’t have to involve flight delays and icy roads.

Go with the flow

Many sources online suggest planning a video chat feast with your extended family. “Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you,” recommends the CDC.

Are you kidding me?

No, seriously, has anyone thought about this even a little bit? The only thing worse than yet another video call with our families is one in which everybody is loudly eating the entire time. This sounds less like a festive treat than a Dantean circle of the underworld.

There’s no use trying to keep things “normal” during abnormal times. Rather, we should try to make the most of the reality in which we find ourselves. Here are some ideas:

  • Themed walks: Taking walks together can be a great way to socially connect. Elevate your walking game: Invite friends and neighbors to themed walks, replete with costumes, gift sharing, hot cocoa, etc. Walking is pretty much all we’ve got, so we better
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Coronavirus: Bali hotel rooms on sale for as little as $14 a night as Australians look to holidays

Bali hotels have slashed prices on rooms in a desperate bid to revive tourism during the coronavirus pandemic, with some lucky Australians soon able to escape their home nation for a break.

The once bustling tourist mecca has become a deserted ghost town, forcing accommodation operators to rethink their survival strategy and send their prices plummeting. 

With the holiday island set to reopen to international visitors at the start of 2021 – just six weeks away – it means incredible bargains have become available to eager holidaymakers. 

Operators in the town of Ubud have slashed normal rates by up to 50 per cent, where a room costs as little as A$14 a night and meals as cheap as 48 cents.

As soon as Bali opens up, Australians can seek government approval to take advantage of the bargain deals if they’re willing to meet strict criteria.

Businesses in Ubud (pictured), popular with Australian tourists, are offering some huge discounts on hotels as they struggle to make ends meet during the pandemic

Businesses in Ubud (pictured), popular with Australian tourists, are offering some huge discounts on hotels as they struggle to make ends meet during the pandemic

Former Australian Bachelorette Anna Heinrich at Finns Beach club in Bali. More than a million Australians travel to Indonesia each year and make up more than a quarter of Bali tourists

Former Australian Bachelorette Anna Heinrich at Finns Beach club in Bali. More than a million Australians travel to Indonesia each year and make up more than a quarter of Bali tourists

Many Bali hotels now rent rooms on a weekly and monthly basis rather than per night, helpfully meeting Australia’s requirement that travellers leave for at least three months.

‘We’re targeting long stay guests, for monthly or even annual rent with a 50 per cent  discount than the normal rate,’ Ubud Homestay Association head Ida Bagus Wiryawan told the Bali Sun. 

A stay at Pillow Inn Ubud cost $58 per night pre-COVID but has since halved to $29, which includes breakfast.  

Luxury resort The Yoga Amertham Retreat & Resort has been forced to rely on Indonesian tourists during tough economic times, and are now offering a one-night stay that once cost $24 per night for just $14.  

‘The meals start from 35 cents per portion and for swimming in our pool we only charge $2 per person,’ Kadek Rudiantara said.

A search of Ubud hotels on booking.com reveals another ten venues with prices under $10 per night.

Flights in early January, when the country has flagged it is likely to open to international tourists, are on offer for as little as $774 return.

Many resorts in the town of Ubud have slashed prices on hotel rooms by 50 per cent (pictured, the Pillow Inn Ubud - which is offering room and breakfast for just $29 a night)

Many resorts in the town of Ubud have slashed prices on hotel rooms by 50 per cent (pictured, the Pillow Inn Ubud – which is offering room and breakfast for just $29 a night)

Travellers can still fly abroad if they prove to the Australian government that they plan to be away for three months or more (pictured, a family in  Melbourne on Monday flying to Sydney)

Travellers can still fly abroad if they prove to the Australian government that they plan to be away for three months or more (pictured, a family in  Melbourne on Monday flying to Sydney)

Indonesia closed its international borders in April which crippled the Balinese economy, normally almost entirely dependent on foreign tourism. 

Bali Governor Wayan Koster recently announced that the reopening of Bali for international tourism would be delayed until the start of next year.

It comes after he originally announced the island

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Portugal to ban domestic travel, close schools around national holidays

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal is to ban domestic travel and close schools around two upcoming holidays in a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus ahead of Christmas, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective mask speaks with a driver of a tram during the coronavirus outbreak in downtown Lisbon, Portugal, October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

Travel between municipalities will be banned from 11 p.m. on Nov. 27 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 2, and then again from 11 p.m. on Dec. 4 to 5 a.m. on Dec. 9, to prevent movement around national holidays on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8.

Schools will close on the Mondays before both holidays, while businesses must close early. Employers are being encouraged to give workers the day off in order to minimise travel activity.

“We continue to have a very high number of cases which is a threat to our health,” Costa told a press conference. “We must persist to not only halt that growth rate but invert it.”

Masks, already mandatory in public and enclosed commercial spaces, are now also mandatory in the workplace, Costa said. Checks will increase to ensure that those who can are working remotely.

A night-time curfew and weekend lockdown after 1 p.m. in 191 municipalities since Nov. 9 will continue in 174 municipalities with particularly high infection rates for a further two weeks.

Portugal reported 62 deaths and 6,472 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, mostly in the north of the country, bringing the total infections to 255,970 cases, with 3,824 deaths.

The number of cases has increased significantly since late September, with average daily rates rising from around 300 in the summer to 6,000 in recent weeks despite testing only increasing approximately three-fold, health ministry data shows.

The country, with around 10 million people, ranks seventh in Europe for the number of cumulative cases per 100,000 people and 14th for the number of new deaths, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control figures.

(This story fixes incorrect advisory line to conform with final paragraph, making clear that Portugal ranks seventh in Europe for cases and 14th for deaths)

Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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Not traveling for the holidays is a necessary sacrifice, medical expert says

Ranit Mishori:

I think the best advice I can give anybody and everybody, including my own family members, is not to travel.

We have made the tough decision for my daughter to not come to our home for this holiday, and for us to be — to not see other family members, and just keep to ourselves. It’s a sacrifice.

But everybody has to make a sacrifice, so that the disease does not spread, And then winter and certainly the Christmas holiday could look much worse.

So, if you decide to travel — and, again, I can’t emphasize enough how much I would recommend not traveling at all — I think you need to consider about — look at the testing protocols for the — in the state that you’re traveling to. Think about your mode of transportation.

Driving is safer than flying, than taking a bus or than taking a train, where you’re cramped together with a lot of people. Of course, you need to think about quarantining before leaving, so to make sure that you don’t have exposures yourself, that you can then develop the disease, and move on and go on to infecting the people that you’re visiting.

And I — and, of course, taking all of the public health measures, wearing a mask at all times, wearing it correctly over your nose and your mouth, washing your hands, and keeping at least six feet apart from anyone else that you’re — you come in contact with.

And that’s very, very important. The distancing is incredibly important.

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California issues travel advisory ahead of holidays as COVID-19 surges

With coronavirus infections continuing to surge in California ahead of Thanksgiving, state officials are urging residents not to travel out of state for the holiday and recommending that those who do quarantine when they return.

a car parked in a parking lot: Los Angeles County residents line up in their cars for coronavirus tests at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

© Provided by The LA Times
Los Angeles County residents line up in their cars for coronavirus tests at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the travel advisory Friday in conjunction with his counterparts in Oregon and Washington.

“California just surpassed a sobering threshold — 1 million COVID-19 cases — with no signs of the virus slowing down,” Newsom said in a statement. “Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians. Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives.”

However, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday that the advisory is just that — “it isn’t a ban; it isn’t a restriction.”

But, he added, “certainly if there’s any indication that the travel advisory needs to be strengthened, we will consider that in the days and weeks to come.”

The state’s advisory encourages residents to stay local and avoid nonessential out-of-state travel. It also asks those who arrive from another state or country to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We’re encouraging Californians to stay close to home, to avoid nonessential travel to other states, other countries and, frankly, across the state if that’s avoidable,” Ghaly said.

Essential travel, as defined by the advisory, is “for work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care and safety and security,” according to Newsom’s office.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines. As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. “If you do not need to travel, you shouldn’t. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home.”

The advisory comes after economic reopenings were rolled back in some parts of the state and it became clear that hard-hit places such as Los Angeles County would not see their restrictions eased for the foreseeable future amid the widespread COVID-19 pandemic.

In L.A. County, officials said this week that more drastic restrictions could be necessary if case rates continue to rise. On Friday afternoon, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said Santa Clara County — Northern California’s most populous — would join San Francisco and order the closure of indoor dining. Other counties in the Bay Area are expected to follow suit.

“Every single action that people take is going to help keep people out of the hospital,” Cody said. “It’s going to keep us from needing to order up morgue

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Celebrate The Holidays With These Hotel Suite Experiences

While the holidays may need to be more intimate in the year of COVID-19, they don’t have to be less festive. Hotels all over the globe are curating inspired in-suite offerings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special occasions. These experiences go beyond anything you could find in ordinary room service — they include having a chef prepare an extraordinary seven-course dinner and having a philharmonic performance just for you, all within the confines of your own suite.

Whether you travel or take a staycation, avoid the crowds all while still having a one-of-a-kind celebration —without any of the work or cleanup — at these Forbes Travel Guide-approved hotels:

Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

The skyscraper is closed through December 2 for London’s lockdown. But before the shutdown, it introduced Dining in the Sky, dinner and dazzling city views from a specially reconfigured guest room with floor-to-ceiling windows. It includes glasses of champagne upon arrival, three courses from British-Asian TÎNG Restaurant and beverages.

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver

Take over the 12th floor of the elegant Denver hotel with family and friends during the holidays. You’ll get a Luxury Suite, a One Bedroom Suite and 12 Deluxe Guest Rooms along with the 2,700-square-foot Club Lounge, which boasts three big-screen TVs, a powder room and lounge spaces. Gather in the Club Lounge for Thanksgiving dinner, partake in the open bar and receive breakfast the next day.

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

A stay in the Chao Phraya Suite grants exclusive access to one of the city’s top French restaurants. Le Normandie will set up a seven-course meal, including caviar and sea urchin floating in potato foam, in your river-facing accommodations. Fans of Lord Jim’s grill can get a similar experience in the one-bedroom suite, or partake in the Bangkok hotel’s famed afternoon tea in the Royal or Ambassador suites.

The Milestone Hotel & Residences, London

Despite London’s second quarantine, this boutique hotel remains open. And you will want to visit for a unique in-suite experience: a live (and socially distanced) private recital from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. RPO’s solo harpists or string trio will come to your accommodations and play your favorite songs.

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas

The all-suite hotel debuted family-style room service meals for four. Order Party Time for Caesar salad, pizza, buffalo wings, vegetables, potato chips and dip, or the Rotisserie Chicken with baba ghanoush and Italian sausage crumble spreads, grilled bread, roasted vegetables, buttery mashed potatoes and bibb lettuce salad. Both options come with a decadent 16-layer chocolate fudge cake for dessert.

The William Vale, Brooklyn

The Vale Garden Residence — the hotel’s

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