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Norwell seeks input at forum for Open Space and Recreation Plan

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 |  Wicked Local

The town of Norwell is updating its Open Space and Recreation Plan and will seek the continued participation of residents in the final OSRP virtual public forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19.

The 2020 OSRP update will set the goals and priorities that will guide the town’s actions in maintaining, protecting and improving its open spaces, parks and recreational resources and make the town eligible for state funds to acquire and improve conservation and recreation land.

Hundreds of residents have made contributions to the 2020 OSRP update by completing the town wide survey and attending the first virtual public forum in October. A working draft of the 2020 Open Space and Recreation Plan will be posted on the project website at https://bit.ly/3eSETfj.

The forum will consist of a presentation, interactive exercises and small group discussions. Live virtual attendance and participation through Zoom is strongly encouraged. Participants must RSVP in advance at https://bit.ly/36hhbFn. Participants will receive a link that they can use to join the forum.

Participants that are unable to attend the meeting with a computer, tablet or smartphone through Zoom can also call in to the forum with the number 646 876 9923. The ID number is 955 3114 5040. The passcode is 024147.

To learn more about the Open Space and Recreation Plan process, visit https://bit.ly/301E51f or contact Marynel Wahl, conservation commission chair, at 617-592-5632.

The OSRP Committee is also seeking photographs that highlight the town of Norwell’s existing open space, conservation and recreation areas. These photographs will be considered for inclusion in the final 2020 Open Space and Recreation Plan. To submit any high-resolution photos, email Marynel Wahl at [email protected] Submitters should include their name, contact information and additional details regarding the photo.

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What’s Open? The Latest November 2020 Travel Restrictions

It’s mid-November, and Thanksgiving is almost here. Before you hit the road, it’s a good idea to check the weather and the latest coronavirus travel restrictions. States across the country are clamping down, but escaping to a warmer climate is still possible.

New York Travel Restrictions

New York State continues to have some of the strictest restrictions in the mainland United States. In addition to completing a Traveler Health Form upon arrival, incoming travelers will need to take a mandatory test or quarantine for 14 days.

If traveling from a noncontiguous state, you must complete these steps:

  • Obtain a negative PCR test three days before arrival to New York State
  • Quarantine for three days upon arrival
  • On day 4 of quarantine, obtain a follow-up negative PCR test to end the quarantine

If you don’t have valid proof of a negative test upon arrival, you must quarantine for the full 14-day period. Previously, all incoming travelers had to quarantine for a fortnight.

Travelers who only leave New York for less than 24 hours don’t have to quarantine but must take a test on day 4. New York is the first U.S. state to require mandatory testing.

You won’t have to get a test if you’re passing through New York to reach a final destination and are only staying in the Empire State for less than 24 hours.

New Jersey And Connecticut Travel Restrictions

New Jersey and Connecticut, the other two-thirds of the Tri-States quarantine, are not copying New York’s mandatory testing policy—yet. But these two states continue to require a 14-day quarantine for most incoming travelers.

As of November 12, 2020, New Jersey and Connecticut require a quarantine for 45 states and U.S. jurisdictions. Essentially, any state that doesn’t border New Jersey or Connecticut is subject to quarantine. Bordering states won’t quarantine to protect local commerce.

Affected states can leave the required quarantine list once their infection rates drop below one of these thresholds:

  • A positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents
  • Higher than 10% positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average

Visitors coming from a country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice will need to self-isolate too.

New England Travel Restrictions

The New England states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) have a regional travel bubble. Each state has a 14-day self-quarantine order, but with different policies and exemptions.

Massachusetts has the strictest measures as only those coming from “lower-risk” states don’t have to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative test result. Exempt states include:

  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Maine

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Chicopee eyes Community Preservation Act tax for historic preservation, recreation, open space

CHICOPEE — City residents are considering adding a tax surcharge to real estate bills that would help raise money for recreation, historic preservation, protecting open space and improving community housing.

Two decades ago the state adopted the Community Preservation Act, which allows communities to increase tax bills from anywhere between 1% and 3% and earmark that money for a variety of uses. The state also provides a partial match to the amount raised, estimated at about 17% this fiscal year.

About a year ago the Historical Commission formed a committee to examine adopting the act in Chicopee. City Planner Lee Pouliot is now assisting the group and working with the Law Department to find the best way to move forward with the idea, said Joshua Clark.

“I am, as chairman of the historical society, really, really excited about this,” Clark said. “It can raise a lot of money and raise awareness for historic preservation.”

The only way the act can be approved is if voters pass a ballot question, according to state law. The City Council and mayor can agree to place the question on the ballot, or supporters can collect enough signatures to bring the issue to the electorate, which is done less often.

If the act is adopted, a committee is appointed to review proposals and vote on how to spend the money raised each year, according to the state law.

A total of 186 communities in Massachusetts have adopted the act, including Springfield, which instituted a 1.5% surcharge in 2016 and raised about $1.4 million last year. Holyoke voters also approved a 1.5% surcharge in 2016 and raised about $579,400 in the last fiscal year. West Springfield, Westfield, Agawam, Northampton, Wilbraham, Easthampton and Pittsfield are also among those who have instituted the act.

The city funds a lot of projects the Community Preservation Act supports, such as park improvements, but it could be helpful to have money dedicated to recreation and historic improvements. If the city receives a grant that needs a matching amount, Community Preservation Act money could be used for that, Pouliot said.

The guidelines for how the money can be spent are broad, meaning that it can benefit the city in many ways such as funding a project that wasn’t anticipated in the budget, he said.

“I think we should look at all funding opportunities. Every dollar counts, particularly in this economy,” he said. “Once we better understand the administrative side there needs to be an educational campaign to dispel myths.”

The Historical Commission is hoping to join with other groups such as the Recreation Commission to work toward putting the question on the ballot and to educate voters. With a $500 annual budget, the Historical Commission will not be able to do the work alone, Clark said.

“People are going to be asked to increase tax money. Especially in a pandemic that is a hard ask, but we are trying to improve the neighborhoods in Chicopee,” he said.

Clark argued if historic properties

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Coyo Taco team to open six concepts at new Miami Beach hotel, including rooftop bar

The Moxy South Beach hotel isn’t even open yet, but you can officially start to look forward to eating and drinking there.

Lightstone, the developer of three Moxy Hotels in New York, has just made a deal with the Coyo Taco team to open six eating and drinking spots in the Miami Beach hotel, located on Washington Avenue.

The six new concepts are:

Como Como: a seafood restaurant and raw bar

Mezcalista: a mezcal lounge

Serena: an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar with seasonal dishes (and cocktails)

Los Buenos: a taco stand and bodega in the hotel lobby

Bar Moxy: a lobby bar and contactless check-in area

The Upside: a rooftop bar on the hotel’s eighth floor with views of Miami Beach, exclusively for hotel guests and private events

“This exciting partnership with Moxy South Beach gives us an opportunity to expand our creativity, showcasing our love for Miami’s diverse cultures and exploration of cuisines across regions,” said Alan Drummond, co-founder of Coyo Taco and 1-800-Lucky in a press release. “We pride ourselves in offering menus and experiences that transcend generations and demographics, just like Moxy Hotels, so we couldn’t be more thrilled for this like-minded collaboration to come to life.”

The eight-story Moxy South Beach is due to open early in 2021 with 202 rooms, a 72-foot, cabana-lined pool; an outdoor movie screening room on the roof and an exclusive beach club.

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Coyo Taco to open new concepts in Moxy Miami Beach hotel

A rendering of The Upside bar at the Moxy South Beach hotel, which is due to open in January 2021.

A rendering of The Upside bar at the Moxy South Beach hotel, which is due to open in January 2021.

The Moxy South Beach hotel isn’t even open yet, but you can officially start to look forward to eating and drinking there.

Lightstone, the developer of three Moxy Hotels in New York, has just made a deal with the Coyo Taco team to open six eating and drinking spots in the Miami Beach hotel, located on Washington Avenue.

The six new concepts are:

Como Como: a seafood restaurant and raw bar

Mezcalista: a mezcal lounge

Serena: an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar with seasonal dishes (and cocktails)

Los Buenos: a taco stand and bodega in the hotel lobby

Bar Moxy: a lobby bar and contactless check-in area

The Upside: a rooftop bar on the hotel’s eighth floor with views of Miami Beach, exclusively for hotel guests and private events

“This exciting partnership with Moxy South Beach gives us an opportunity to expand our creativity, showcasing our love for Miami’s diverse cultures and exploration of cuisines across regions,” said Alan Drummond, co-founder of Coyo Taco and 1-800-Lucky in a press release. “We pride ourselves in offering menus and experiences that transcend generations and demographics, just like Moxy Hotels, so we couldn’t be more thrilled for this like-minded collaboration to come to life.”

The eight-story Moxy South Beach is due to open early in 2021 with 202 rooms, a 72-foot, cabana-lined pool; an outdoor movie screening room on the roof and an exclusive beach club.

Exterior .jpg
A rendering of the Moxy South Beach hotel on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.

Connie Ogle loves wine, books and the Miami Heat. Please don’t make her eat a mango.

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Want to open a hotel in Israel? Ronit Copeland can help

Over the summer, which is another peak tourism time, hotels were able to open to Israeli tourists. Israelis like to feel they are getting good value, and the hotels that did open had to cut prices or throw in extras like meals and entry to tourist attractions. August was a good month, and many hotels thought they would be able to recoup the year’s profits, until a second lockdown was imposed.

Two key tourist areas, the Dead Sea and Eilat, are expected to open to Israeli tourists soon, dependent on negative coronavirus tests. But dozens of Israeli hotels are shuttered – and an estimated 25% of all hotels may not reopen.

At least some entrepreneurs are preparing to open new hotels and Ronit Copeland, the managing director of Copeland Hospitality, is helping them.

“Some stuff was frozen during corona, but smart people are saying, ‘Let’s do all the planning now.’ It’s not that much of an investment. So there is a lot of development on the side of the planning stages.” Copeland helps her clients develop their hotel concept from beginning to end. What kind of hotel do the entrepreneurs envision? Will there be restaurants and bars, and will they be open to the public? What about a gym? What is the business plan for making money? What is the social media strategy?

Copeland sees hotels as a long-term investment that should begin to pay back after six or seven years. But she says they also require frequent renovation, which eats into the profits.

Israel has a lot of fancy, expensive hotels based on a mistaken impression, she argues. “There is this idea that American tourists want very upscale hotels and it’s just not true,” she says.

In fact, hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem or the Ritz Carlton in Herzliya want their hotel prices to be high so they can sell the residential units that are part of the hotel for more profit.

Copeland’s personal history reflects the diversity of the hotels she is involved with. She was born in Israel to a Mexican mother and Cuban father, although her grandparents were from eastern Europe. Her grandparents ended up in Cuba, she said, because it was the closest to the US he could get. After the 1959 Fidel Castro Revolution, her father moved to Mexico.

She grew up speaking Spanish at home, and she was born in Israel. But a few years later her family moved again to Puerto Rico, among a close-knit Jewish community which today numbers about 2000 families.

She was active in Young Judea, where she met her husband, Scott Copeland, when she was 17. Both went to college in the Boston area, and at 23, married, they made aliyah. She said that at age 18 she went to the Israeli draft board hoping to be drafted, but because she didn’t speak Hebrew, they did not accept her.

She worked for several hotel chains including the Hyatt, the Hilton, and spent most of her

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Hawai’i Is Now Open For Safe Travel To The Islands

On October 15, 2020, the state of Hawai’i reopened its islands for travel (from U.S. states) under the condition that visitors over the age of five take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure. Upon presenting a negative result on arrival, the previously mandated 14-day quarantine will be waived. (If test results are still pending on arrival, then visitors must quarantine until negative results are uploaded onto the Safe Travels website.) In addition, approximately 25% of visitors to Hawai’i Island (AKA the Big Island) will be randomly tested upon arrival. For more detailed information on requirements, visit the Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s website.

While it will take some time to see if the reopening holds long-term, it’s clear that those in the hospitality industry, central to Hawai’i’s economy, are invested in success — which means implementing safety programs to the letter.

The restaurant sector has been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Star chef Peter Merriman, who has restaurants on the Big Island, Oahu, Maui, and Kaua’i, and whose company distributed more than 20,000 pounds of food to struggling employees over the course of the summer, says, “Everyone in Hawaii understands the importance of tourism to our economy. Although there is some trepidation, we’re eager to welcome back tourists for a safe and enjoyable vacation.”

How is Merriman’s Hawai’i, and other island restaurateurs, systematizing safety? Chef Merriman says, “In accordance with government regulations, masks are required unless actively eating and drinking. We also kindly ask guests to keep their masks on when interacting with our team members. Merriman’s team members wear their own protective gear and undergo daily health screenings. Tables are six feet apart and group sizes are limited depending on the regulations specific to each island. Hand sanitizer is available at all major touchpoints, throughout the space, and available upon request.” In addition, employees are provided sick leave, if needed, by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Hotels are opening at different times according to their own internal processes to ensure guests’ and employees’ safety and comfort. Leaders in the space include Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, which is slated to re-open on November 20th with 24/7 onsite medical care (including rapid antigen COVID-19 tests with results in 15 minutes), HEPA filters in every room and suite, and a Virtual Classroom where kids can get schoolwork done while parents work and/or relax.

“There’s no question that, right now, our guests’ and employees’ biggest concern is safety. So we focused efforts on reimagining safer travel that will both help protect our guests and, ultimately, our employees as well,” says General Manager Marc Bromley. “Our guests will enjoy the resort with the assurance that Four Seasons Maui has

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New San Antonio luxury hotel to open in January; it’s the city’s first in more than five years

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Hotel Thompson San Antonio — the first new luxury hotel in the city in more than five years — is scheduled to open downtown on Jan. 27.

The 20-story hotel on the River Walk, near the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, will feature 162 rooms and 33 suites, and charge some of the highest room rates in San Antonio.

The city’s hospitality industry likely will still be struggling when Hotel Thompson open its doors. Many business travelers are staying home, and San Antonio’s convention business is nearly at a standstill.

One of 162 guest rooms. Interior designs include wood and rustic metal accents unique to the San Antonio property. Early preview of the Thompson San Antonio hotel, a Hyatt property, in the heart of downtown San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Nevertheless, visitors are trickling back, though mostly on the weekends.

Hotel Thompson originally was scheduled to open in late October or early this month, but its owners decided early next year would be a better time to launch.

“We decided to push it back a little obviously because of the pandemic,” said Ted Knighton, the hotel’s general manager. “But we’re ready to introduce it now.”

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Knighton said a standard room will go for $300 a night during the week and $400 on the weekends. Rates jump to $2,500 a night for the hotel’s 2,100-sq.-ft. penthouse suite, with two bedrooms, a dining area, a living room with a pool table and a private terrace.

Exterior view of the Thompson Hotel as seen from the Tobin Center. Early preview of the Thompson San Antonio hotel, a Hyatt property, in the heart of downtown San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Among San Antonio hotels in the downtown area, only Hotel Emma at the Pearl generally charges higher rates. The hotel’s website lists a standard room for $475 a night on Wednesday, Jan. 27, the day Hotel Thompson is scheduled to open.

Hotel Emma opened in November 2015.

The Thompson chain, part of the Hyatt Corp., is aiming for excitement, with “celebrity chefs” — Knighton said the hotel will identify them at a later date — anchoring its restaurants, art exhibits and disk jockeys playing music poolside.

The cavernous meeting room. Early preview of the Thompson San Antonio hotel, a Hyatt property, in the heart of downtown San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

“There really is not a hotel in San Antonio that will have the nightlife scene like we will have,” Knighton said.

The $130 million building housing the hotel also includes 59 condominiums, called the Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio.

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Residents of the condos, which priced from the low $500,000s to more than $4 million, will share the pool deck and workout room with hotel guests. They’ll also have access to hotel services, such as 24-hour room service.

Condo owners started moving in last week. Fifty-two of the 59 units are sold.

The Hotel Thompson provides a view of the San Antonio skyline.

Amid the COVID-19 downturn, which has forced most hotels to cut workers, Knighton said one factor in Hotel Thompson’s favor is the limited number of luxury properties in San Antonio.

“San Antonio is different,” the general manager said. “It doesn’t have a surplus of luxury products.”

He said guests in the luxury market are traveling sooner than expected. The hotel,

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Hotel Magdalena’s restaurant, Summer House on Music Lane, now open near South Congress – Entertainment – Austin American-Statesman

Bunkhouse Group has helped define the look and feel of Austin as much as any hospitality company in the city over the last decade-plus with properties like the Hotel San Jose and Hotel Saint Cecilia.

But the local hotel properties from the Austin-based company have historically offered limited food and beverage offerings. That all changes this week, as Bunkhouse opens its first full-service hotel restaurant, Summer House on Music Lane, at the new Hotel Magdalena, located at 1101 Music Lane, just steps away from bustling South Congress Avenue.

The hotel was developed on part of the site of that was home to the historic old Terrace Motel Hotel, which was purchased by Willie Nelson in the 1970s and at that time partially converted into the Austin Opry House, and is intended to pay homage to 1970s lakeside culture, with ample outdoor areas, courtyards and design elements reflecting the wood and rocks of Central Texas.

The restaurant is meant to echo that same casual vibe, with a kitchen featuring a live-fire grill and rotisserie. Summer House on Music Lane is led by executive chef Jeffrey Hundelt, who previously served as culinary director at Fresa’s and Launderette, and the restaurant’s menu reflects the latter, with dinner dishes like whipped feta with tomato jam, tuna crudo, striped bass, pappardelle Bolognese, and grilled steak with chimichurri.

The restaurant at the 89-room hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with brunch served on weekends.

The Hotlel Magdalena, the largest to date from Bunkhouse, which is majority-owned by Standard Hotels, was designed in collaboration with Austin architecture firm Lake | Flato.

Owners say the Magdalena is the first mass timber hotel constructed in North America, with pieces of that wood visible in the hotel’s ceiling design and exterior walkways.

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Dubai’s DXB Entertainments to open new thrill rides, over 1,000 hotel rooms

Dubai’s DXB Entertainments is set to launch new thrill rides and open more than 1,000 hotel rooms as it prepares to resume full operations and recover from the slump caused by the coronavirus lockdown in March.

In September, DXB partially re-opened for the first time in months the Dubai Parks and Resorts to the public.

“We are currently in the process of rolling out many exciting surprises with the launch of our new rides and the re-opening of our theme parks,” said Mohamed Almulla, CEO and managing director of DXB Entertainments, in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).

The theme parks operator has been saddled with profit losses since its listing on the Dubai Stock Exchange in 2014. Last year, it scrapped plans to build a Six Flags theme park due to the financial constraints.

In a bourse filing on Thursday, the firm reported it had managed to end September 30, 2020 with 109 million dirhams in revenues, 602,000 park visits and 37 percent occupancy at its Lapita Hotel. Its adjusted losses for the first nine months of the year, pegged at 114 million dirhams, showed a 25 percent improvement compared to the same period last year.

Enhancement plans

According to Almulla, DXB will open additional 10 new rides in Bollywood Parks Dubai and two new rides in Motiongate Dubai.

The operator is also working to expand Lionsgate Zone, which will launch in early 2021 and feature the world’s first theme park ride inspired by the “John Wick” franchise, as well as a roller coaster inspired by the “Now you see me” movie.

The theme parks operator is also getting ready to open in December the region’s first Legoland hotel, which is expected to feature about 1,300 rooms and complement the existing Legoland Dubai theme park and Legoland Water Park.

The company started working on the additional park features during the suspension of its operations from March to September this year.

“During the closure… we have focused on the enhancement plan which includes addition of 10 new rides in Bollywood Parks, two new rides in Motiongate. I am pleased to announce that with the latest addition of thrill rides, Motiongate Dubai will become the region’s largest theme parks by number of rollercoasters,” said Almulla.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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