Tag: ordered

Hotel lockdown ordered for cardinal-designates

ROME — The Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel was built to sequester cardinals during papal elections. It’s now sequestering soon-to-be cardinals in town for this weekend’s ceremony to get their red hats: A handful are in protective coronavirus quarantine, confined to their rooms on Vatican orders and getting meals delivered to their doors.

The 10-day quarantines, with covid-19 tests administered at the start and finish, are just one example of how today’s ceremony to elevate new cardinals is like nothing the Holy See has ever seen.

“They told me it would be like this, but I didn’t think it would be so strict!” said Cardinal-designate Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the retired archbishop of Chiapas, Mexico.

In a Zoom call from his hotel room, Esquivel said he had thought there might be some exceptions to the lockdown for new cardinals. “No. Here, it doesn’t matter if you’re a cardinal or a pope. The virus doesn’t respect anyone,” he said.

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Pope Francis today will elevate 13 clerics to the College of Cardinals, the elite group of red-robed churchmen whose primary task is to elect a new pope. It’s the seventh time Francis has named a new batch of cardinals since his election in 2013, and his imprint is increasingly shifting the balance of power away from Europe and toward the developing world.

The Vatican has said two new cardinals won’t make it to Rome for the ceremony, known as a consistory, because of covid-19 and travel concerns — the Vatican’s ambassador to Brunei, Cardinal-designate Cornelius Sim, and the archbishop of Capiz, Philippines, Cardinal-designate Jose Advincula.

The Vatican is arranging for them, and any of the cardinals who might not make it, to participate in the ceremony remotely from their homes. They’ll get their three-pointed “biretta” hats from a Vatican ambassador or another envoy.

For those who are participating in person, the public health crisis has posed an unusual set of challenges. Italy, where the pandemic erupted in late February, is in the throes of a second wave. The Vatican itself has returned to a modified lockdown in recent weeks, with the Vatican Museums shuttered and a dozen Swiss Guards testing positive.

Francis, 83, has been criticized for his rather lax mask usage, but he has abided by social distancing measures to a degree. He too lives at Santa Marta, where there has been at least one positive case reported in recent months.

Usually, consistories are full of parties and crowds: Cardinals come to town with family, friends and sometimes benefactors and parishioners who get to see the new “princes of the church” up close and then attend receptions and dinners in their honor. Under normal circumstances, the consistory would be followed by “courtesy visits,” where the new cardinals greet well-wishers and the general public from the grandeur of their own reception rooms in the Apostolic Palace or Vatican auditorium.

This year, there will be no courtesy visits, and each cardinal has a 10-person limit for

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Bottomless mimosas lawsuit: Arbitration ordered for worker who complained LA hotel was overserving alcohol in brunch promo

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A judge on Friday ordered arbitration of a lawsuit brought by a former longtime worker at the downtown Omni Los Angeles hotel who alleges she was fired in 2019 for complaining that the establishment was over-serving alcohol to patrons with a “bottomless mimosas” promotion, endangering guests and staff alike.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolph M. Hammock said he based his ruling on an arbitration agreement plaintiff Sandra Cortez signed in April 2016, the most recent of several such documents she signed over the years.

“This evidence shows that plaintiff agreed to submit claims arising out of her employment or the termination of her employment with defendants to binding arbitration,” the judge wrote.

Hammock further noted that although Cortez’s lawyers acknowledged she signed an arbitration agreement, they argued it was unenforceable because it was allegedly one-sided and that the hotel could modify it at any time. But the judge said the evidence showed neither assertion was true. He put the lawsuit on hold pending the outcome of the arbitration and set a post-arbitration status conference for Oct. 25, 2021.

Cortez sued June 3, alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation and various state Labor Code violations by the Omni Los Angeles, one of several hotels in the chain temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cortez says she was hired by Omni in October 2000 and rose from a server to a leadership position in which she trained many employees. The 43-year-old plaintiff immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in 1983 and has worked hard to build a life here for both herself and her family, according to her court papers.

“However, plaintiff’s dreams were crushed when (Omni’s) multinational hotel conglomerate, with an estimated annual revenue of $2 billion, unlawfully discharged her after 19 years of devoted employment,” the suit alleges.

During the six months before Cortez’s firing, she complained about the over-serving of alcohol to guests during weekend brunches at the Olive Street hotel and the inherent risks caused by dangerously inebriated guests, the suit alleges.

According to the suit, the hotel’s website said it “doesn’t disappoint with … free-flowing bottomless mimosas,” a cocktail composed of champagne and chilled citrus juice.

Cortez frequently complained about the issue at Omni’s monthly staff meetings, but her concerns were ignored in pursuit of the generous profits brought in by the bottomless mimosa promotion,” according to the complaint. “Stated otherwise, as usual, the almighty dollar prevailed over the health and safety of hard-working employees.”

The well-advertised “booze-fest” and the “heavy inebriation that naturally came therewith” resulted in many guests getting drunk every weekend, according to the suit, which says some became violent, causing property damage and scaring Cortez and other staff members.

Some drunken guests “made a mess of the bathrooms, the lobby and outside the hotel,” according to the suit, which says two intoxicated women taking advantage of the “bottomless mimosas” promotion broke a vase and one of

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