Tag: Isnt

Hong Kong-Singapore Travel Bubble Isn’t Happening in 2020

(Bloomberg) — A resurgence of the virus is scuppering hopes of a return to normalcy in Hong Kong.



a group of people sitting at a train station: Changi International Airport in Singapore.


© Photographer: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP
Changi International Airport in Singapore.

A key travel bubble with Singapore was delayed for a second time on Tuesday, some international banks ordered their staff to resume working from home and Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said even parties at sea are off limits.

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It’s a sobering reminder of how quickly circumstances can change. After a long lull with just a handful of cases a day, the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong prompted the government to impose tighter social-distancing rules and to close schools again. The city reported 82 new infections on Tuesday.

While Hong Kong’s resurgent outbreak is far less intense than in the U.S. and Europe, where cases in some places are still hitting daily records, it’s been enough to usher in a raft of new restrictions. With nightclubs and karaoke parlors closed, a hotline for residents to report parties aboard yachts and rented party boats has been set up, Lam told a weekly news briefing Tuesday.

“The reporting hotline newly set up is there because we see that, after party rooms and karaoke parlors have been made to close, there are a number of people who organize events at sea,” Lam said. “We want to target such a breach.”

Bank Staff

While Hong Kong is poised to limit public gatherings to two people, the government hasn’t capped the number of people who can meet in private. A police representative declined to elaborate on the rules on whether the measure would have any effect on private parties hosted by yacht owners, referring only to the earlier Facebook post.

Meanwhile, global banks in the financial hub from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Standard Chartered Plc are urging more staff to work from home again.

Goldman Sachs will go back to a full work-from-home approach in Hong Kong starting Wednesday except for staff that have to be in the office to perform their roles, according to a staff memo that was confirmed by a bank spokesman.

Standard Chartered has applied a hard split-team arrangement for functions that require work in the office, and shortened branch hours last Friday, according to a spokeswoman. “In view of Covid wave 4, we strongly encourage our staff to work from home where possible,” she said.

But perhaps Tuesday’s biggest setback was the delay until 2021 of the keenly anticipated travel corridor between Hong Kong and Singapore. That’s a blow for the region’s airlines and tourism businesses seeking to start a recovery from the almost year-long pandemic.

The travel bubble that would have involved rigorous Covid testing will be delayed beyond 2020, and the cities said Tuesday they will review the arrangement for 2021 toward late December. The pact, which would have allowed passengers to travel between the centers without a quarantine, was already postponed by two weeks on Nov. 21, a day before flights were due to start.

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Hawaii’s hotel industry is still struggling despite tourism reopening, and isn’t expected to break even in 2021

More than a year from now, Hawaii’s hotel industry won’t have stopped bleeding.

A new annual Hawaii hotel forecast prepared by STR for the Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates that by the end of 2021, statewide occupancy will have hit only 46.3%, still short of the 50% to 60% occupancy that the industry needs to break even.

Many of Hawaii’s hotels temporarily closed during the pandemic as government restrictions and fear of COVID-19 significantly reduced travel demand. Quite a number were open by Oct. 15, the start of the state’s pre-
arrival testing program under Safe Travels
Hawaii. But so far, Hawaii’s formal welcome-
back to travelers hasn’t filled hotel rooms to the degree that many had hoped.

About 75% of Hawaii hotels are operating again. Still, only about 1,000 out of 8,000 Unite Here Local 5 hotel members are back to work. Some 5,000 of them already have lost their health insurance, and most are facing the loss of other support programs just after Christmas.

Local 5 spokesman Bryant de Venecia said, “Most of our workers have lost health insurance. They really want to go back to work, but that’s really out of our control. We can’t control how many tourists will
occupy our hotels.”

“If we are going to recap 2020, we barely left square one. Our members are still struggling, still dealing with how to pay for rent and food and health care,” de Venecia said. “It’s just heartbreaking, especially right before Christmas. People need help now.”

Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging &Tourism Association, said Hawaii hoteliers are languishing, too.

Hannemann cited a recent survey of American Hotel &Lodging Association members that estimated 7 in
10 hoteliers (71%) wouldn’t make it another six months without further federal assistance given current and projected travel demand, and 77% of hotels report they will be forced to lay off more workers.

“I don’t know if Hawaii is quite at 71%. We’ve got a number of foreign hotel owners who might be able to survive beyond that period. Still, I would reckon a good number of our properties are in dire straits,” Hannemann said.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, said in
a statement that Congress must move quickly to pass additional relief for U.S.
hotels.

“Every hour Congress doesn’t act, hotels lose
400 jobs. As devastated industries like ours desperately wait for Congress to come together to pass another round of COVID-19
relief legislation, hotels continue to face record devastation,” Rogers said. “Without action from Congress, half of U.S. hotels could close with massive layoffs in the next six months.”

Rogers said U.S. hotels
already are expecting to face a difficult winter, characterized by a significant drop in travel demand — some 7 out of 10 Americans are not expected to travel over the holidays.

According to STR, U.S. weekly hotel occupancy has slipped further from previous weeks.

“After ranging between 48% and 50% occupancy from mid-July into the later portion of October, the last three

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Top-Performing Fund Isn’t Swayed by Travel, Stay-at-Home Trends

(Bloomberg) — A high-performing equity fund manager isn’t buying into Covid-19 thematics like the so-called stay-at-home or reopening trades that are sensitive to virus developments.

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Instead, Castle Point Funds Management Ltd.’s Richard Stubbs said he’s targeting companies with strong fundamentals that he expects can withstand such short-term market gyrations. Focusing on near-term earnings, election outcomes and other uncontrollable factors can often prove unproductive in times of volatility, said the Auckland-based fund manager, who invests in Australian and New Zealand shares.

News about a possible vaccine breakthrough earlier this week prompted a global shift among equity investors from fast-growing companies into parts of the market that have struggled with lockdowns and economic pain. That transition has since tempered on the realization that a return to normalcy is still a ways off.

“Trying to predict what sectors are going to do better than others in this period of extreme uncertainty is unlikely to be successful,” said Stubbs. His Castle Point Ranger Fund has returned about 22% this year, beating 92% of peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Vaccine Hopes Boost Asia Travel Stocks as Stay-at-Home Falters



chart, line chart: Travel shares rose while tech stocks fell on vaccine developments


© Bloomberg
Travel shares rose while tech stocks fell on vaccine developments

Stubbs’s bets on some of his top holdings, such as Corporate Travel Management Ltd. and online marketplace Redbubble Ltd., have been driven by their long-term fundamentals. He also owns shares in engineering contractor Macmahon Holdings Ltd. and Auckland-based Fletcher Building Ltd.

Corporate Travel rallied on the vaccine news while Redbubble slumped. Stubbs didn’t make significant changes to his NZ$154.3 million ($105.9 million) fund, but used the rotation out of technology stocks to increase his position in Redbubble.

Equity derivatives along with cash and debt have helped protect the fund during unexpected downturns, Stubbs said. Derivatives make up about 1% of the fund, while cash and debt instruments account for almost 19%, according to the fund’s latest performance report.

The fund used to hold Afterpay Ltd., one of Asia-Pacific’s hottest technology shares this year. Stubbs offloaded the stock in February as the payment company’s market capitalization approached what he considered to be the firm’s potential value.

“We exited, in hindsight, obviously way too early,” he said. “But you just never know how exuberant the market can get.”

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British Airways Owner Cuts Schedules Again, Warning That the Travel Slump Isn’t Over

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IAG, which runs airlines including British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus, previously cut its flight schedules in September.


Agence France-Presse/Getty Images


British Airways

owner

IAG

cut its flight schedule for the remainder of 2020, as it flew to a loss and warned that the coronavirus-related travel slump had deepened more than expected.

Shares in the airline fell nearly 2% in London trading.

The back story. IAG, which runs airlines including British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus, previously cut its flight schedules in September. At the time, the FTSE 100 constituent said it expected to fly at 40% of last year’s capacity in the fourth quarter, down from a previous guidance of 54%.

Airlines have been among the companies worst-hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In September, IAG launched a rights issue at a heavy discount and raised €2.74 billion ($3.24 billion) from shareholders in a bid to bolster its balance sheet.

Plus:Ryanair Cuts Winter Schedule, But It’s in Better Shape Than Most Airlines

What’s new. IAG said on Thursday that it would slash its flight schedule in the fourth quarter to no more than 30% of last year’s capacity. The airline said that the decision comes as overall bookings haven’t improved as expected, blaming additional government restrictions on travel amid a second wave of Covid-19 infections in Europe.

The company revealed that as a result of the new cut to capacity, it no longer expects to break even next quarter in terms of net cash flows from operating activities.

Releasing preliminary third-quarter results in an unscheduled update, IAG said that its total revenue declined to €1.2 billion from €7.3 billion in the same period last year—an 83% slump. The airline nosedived from an operating profit of €1.4 billion in the third quarter of 2019 to a €1.3 billion loss in 2020.

Also:EasyJet Is Cutting Flights Over Quarantine Rules. It’s More Bad News For Airlines.

Looking ahead. IAG’s decision to cut flight schedules follows that of other carriers, like

EasyJet

and

Ryanair,

so a further reduction was on the cards. But the fact that the company won’t break even next quarter—a measure closely watched by the market—is particularly bad news.

The airline continues to burn cash but its balance sheet remains relatively strong. At the end of September it reported a total liquidity of €6.6 billion, and the €2.74 billion it received this month from the rights issue will help the company stay airborne.

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Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley Explains Why She Is Returning for Season 4 and Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi Isn’t

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi said she was done with Jersey Shore: Family Vacation before season 3 even aired. As for season 4, Jenni “JWoww” Farley will return to the show without her best friend. Polizzi had a hard time with what transpired at Angelina Pivarnick’s wedding. But now, Farley has given fans more clarity as to why Polizzi decided she couldn’t return to the reality series. 

Jenni 'JWoww' Farley and Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi
Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley & Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi | Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic

After season 3, many fans thought Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley was done with ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’  

The drama at Pivarnick’s wedding divided the Jersey Shore roommates — especially the women. 

As the wedding episode aired, Farley took to Twitter to share her feelings. One tweet had many fans convinced she would not return for season 4 of the show, which wasn’t confirmed at the time. 

“I am way to ride or die to see you leave,” Farley tweeted, quoting Polizzi’s tweet about the finale. “If you’re done, I’m done. There’s no Jwoww without my Snooki.” 

Jenni ‘Jwoww’ Farley will be part of ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’ Season 4

Farley shared the exciting news of her return to Jersey Shore: Family Vacation on her website, Miss Domesticated. 

“Aside from the re-launch of my site, I will be working on a few new projects that I’m very excited about,” Farley said. “YES, I will be getting ready to film another season of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. Despite the rumors, I’ve made the decision to stick with the show and reunite once again with my second family.” 

Jenni ‘JWoww’ Farley had trouble watching season 4 of ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’ 

Farley recently posted a video on YouTube where she answered questions from Jersey Shore fans. One fan asked if Polizzi would return for season 4 of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, to which Farley said she had been praying to the “tan gods above” that Polizzi would change her mind. 

“We make jokes all the time about her coming back,” she said. “As ride or die as we are, I still hear that she is not coming back and that’s devastating to me.” 

RELATED: ‘Jersey Shore’: Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi’s Favorite Moments From the Show

“I couldn’t really watch the last season,” Farley admitted. “I did catch the very end because I wanted to make sure [it] played out accurately. All I asked from producers for myself to move forward is play it how it was. Don’t edit the speech. Don’t edit reactions. Just play it as it was because I have been living through seven months of hell. And they did.”

Sadly, showing the events of Pivarnick’s wedding as they happened wasn’t enough to make Polizzi want to return.

‘JWoww’ says ‘Snooki’ won’t return because of the way ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’ Season 3 played out 

For Farley, having fans get to see how Pivarnick’s wedding played out was enough for her to want to return to the show.

“I don’t think it was enough

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Schools cutting back on April vacation, beer pong isn’t social distancing

Schools around the state are diverging on what to do about April vacation, which is scheduled for the end of the month.

In Concord, April vacation will occur as scheduled, according to Interim Superintendent Frank Bass.

“Teachers, students and parents all need a break!” Bass wrote in an email to families.

Other districts have curtailed or canceled vacation to keep momentum going with online learning since schools remain closed.

The Kearsarge School District scaled back its vacation to give students and teachers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off, but will resume classes on Thursday April 30.

School officials said they tried to balance consistency with ongoing remote instruction and giving teachers, students and parents a chance to “step back and find some respite.”

Districts in Amherst and Merrimack won’t interrupt classes at all after surveying parents who overwhelmingly favored canceling the vacation, NHPR reported.

State officials say it’s up to local districts to decide to modify their school schedules.

The numbers

New Hampshire has experienced about 200 more COVID-19 cases than Vermont, but infection rates remain far higher in the Green Mountain state, which has about half as many people.

As of Friday, Vermont had detected 679 COVID-19 cases with 24 deaths. About one tenth of one percent of the state’s overall population of 623,989 have been infected.

New Hampshire has identified 885 cases with 22 deaths. Based on New Hampshire’s population of 1.3 million people, that means about .07 % of residents have been affected.

Between 25% and 30% of New Hampshire cases are among health care workers, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

Beer pong isn’t social distancing

Despite requests from Dartmouth College and Hanover officials to not return to town after spring break, some Dartmouth students have come back to live off-campus.

In the past few weeks, Deputy Fire Chief Michael Hinsley has been responding to complaints about people neglecting to follow social distancing practices and has been “actively interacting” with students off-campus.

Earlier this week, police responded to a house on Maple Street where a group of Dartmouth students were playing beer pong, according to Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin.

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said his department hasn’t responded to many complaints in the past few weeks, but when they do, they try to educate residents on best social distancing practices.

Police who see people disobeying the stay-at-home order can issue a civil fine or cite them for a misdemeanor violation, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, but Dennis said he hopes it won’t come to that.

“We are not looking to issue any citations,” he said.

Education funding

Gov. Chris Sununu announced plans for $82 million in federal funding coming into the state to support education. The money will be used to support the shift to remote learning, as well as cleaning schools, school meals and social and emotional support.

He said $9 million will go out in the form of “discretionary grants” to schools that have been

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A Pandemic Isn’t Stopping New York City’s Vacation Set

Over the weekend, Donald Trump suggested that the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut could be placed under quarantine before taking a milder route and asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue an advisory for the area to “refrain from non-essential domestic travel” for the next two weeks. For New York City’s wealthy part-time residents with the means to flee, that could leave a question open: Even if the federal government hasn’t formally imposed an unenforceable travel ban that prevents you from leaving the city, should you?

To read the comments on a Saturday Instagram post from influencer Naomi Davis, the wisdom of the crowd is a resounding no. Davis, who posts under the nickname Taza, said she, her husband, and their five kids had packed up their RV on Friday to head west, writing, “Hopefully a little change of apartment scenery will be just what we need.”

“I’m so scared that this decision will influence your followers to do the same,” one commenter wrote.

The impulse to broadcast one’s distance from the fray has crossed multiple strata of the moneyed, from those rich enough to leave their family-sized city homes behind to those who can wait out the pandemic in ocean isolation. While one enduring image of the pandemic will be the health care workers doing their best with a dangerous shortage of supplies, another may be David Geffen recording his contentment aboard his yacht on Saturday. “Sunset last night,” he wrote on Instagram. “Isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I’m hoping everybody is staying safe.” (Maybe the tides are changing ever so slightly: Geffen went private after the inevitable blowback, and he now appears to have deactivated or deleted his account.)

By this stage of the pandemic, it’s a familiar discussion. Reports have surfaced from the Catskills, Hamptons, and Nantucket about the brewing backlash to the New York vacation set departing the American crisis’s epicenter. Meanwhile, back at home, a surreal scene continues to unfold as tents are built in Central Park to house COVID-19 patients. And as the New York Post reported over the weekend, two of Mount Sinai Hospital’s top executives, Kenneth Davis and Arthur Klein, are managing the health care network from Florida vacation homes. “As a front line healthcare worker who has rearranged my family for their safety,” the doctor Dara Kass tweeted on Sunday morning, “I think @MountSinaiNYC should have to answer why their leadership has retreated to #Miami rather than stand in solidarity with their employees in #NYC during #COVID19.” (Davis, who told the Post that he had been in Florida “before this started,” said his doctor told him not to return to New York because of his age.)

If New York City serves as a preview of what could happen across the country as the virus spreads, it might be in this regard too. On Friday, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced that all cars with New York plates would be stopped on their

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