Tag: planning

Planning on Thanksgiving holiday travel? Many in the D.C. area are staying put.

The Washington region is in the midst of a Thanksgiving travel season like no other.

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Amid an alarming spike in new coronavirus cases, governors and local health officials are urging people to stay home. Health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have “strongly recommended” people avoid traveling during the holiday.

Most seem to be heeding that advice.

“It’s been a long outbreak — almost 11 months now — and people are tired. We understand that,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, head of the CDC’s Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force. “People want to see their relatives, their friends and [celebrate] the way they’ve always done it, but this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible and limit their travel.”

Even before the CDC issued its updated recommendations, surveys by AAA Mid-Atlantic showed many people already had decided not to travel.

About 83 percent of D.C. residents said they planned to stay home this Thanksgiving holiday. When asked why they had decided not to travel, 65 percent cited the coronavirus pandemic. A similar number of Virginia residents, 84 percent, said they would be staying put.

In Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday urged residents not to let their guard down and to remain vigilant about wearing masks and social distancing, 89 percent of those surveyed said they would not be traveling. The Maryland Department of Transportation on Monday asked residents to avoid nonessential travel.

[Hogan announces targeted enforcement of coronavirus restrictions in bars and restaurants]

It’s a significant shift from previous years, when the Thanksgiving exodus would begin a week earlier as people plotted how to avoid the inevitable crush of holiday traffic. Regular commuters were warned to leave their offices early on Wednesday to avoid getting caught in holiday getaway traffic. The Capital Beltway became a sea of brake lights.

This will be the first Thanksgiving in more than a decade that fewer people plan to travel for the holiday when compared to the previous year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

But not everyone is staying home. Roadways and airports might be more crowded than in previous months, but the volume will be a far cry from previous years, officials said.

The Transportation Security Administration reported it screened more than 1 million passengers Friday and again Sunday — something that has happened only three times since the pandemic began in March.

“We’re seeing more people on a daily basis than we have in the last few months,” said Christina Saull, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

Even so, Saull said passenger volumes are down about 60 percent compared to 2019, when trade group Airlines for America projected 30.6 million people would travel over a 12-day period around Thanksgiving.

Saull said travelers are largely following requirements to wear masks and practice social distancing. She said free masks are available at airport information desks. Many airlines also are making masks available.

In a briefing

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A Cautionary Tale For All Those Planning Air Travel

In September, a man boarded a flight from Dubai to New Zealand. Not 48 hours before he had tested negative for Covid-19. Days after disembarking, while quarantining in compliance with national containment policy, he and six other passengers of the 86 on board were confirmed to be infected with the virus SARS-CoV-2.

According to a preprint case study released by New Zealand health authorities, at least four of the infections occurred in-flight—all tracing back to one man who, at least by the time he stowed his belongings and took his seat, was presymptomatic but shedding active virus. The chain of transmission was confirmed afterwards via genomic analysis.

Incoming travelers to New Zealand are required by law to quarantine for two weeks in designated hotels upon arrival, where they will be monitored and tested at least twice before being released. The samples of those who test positive are isolated, genomically sequenced, and compared to determine their exact origins. This was how health authorities were able to identify the four passengers who contracted the virus in-flight, as well as the man who gave it to them.

While not the first piece of evidence to affirm the possibility of in-flight transmission—just last month another study traced nearly 60 Covid-19 cases back to a single flight—reports of the incident make for a cautionary tale, especially with Thanksgiving fast approaching in the United States. The first takeaway is that air travel is dangerous, even when everyone, including the crew, is instructed to wear masks and, as far as we can tell, observes those instructions. The second takeaway is that a negative test isn’t foolproof. Most likely, the man on the New Zealand flight was infected shortly before or after completing a test and didn’t develop symptoms until a day or two after arriving at his destination.

Many Americans traveling by plane this Thanksgiving and for the winter holidays soon to follow will be heading straight from the airport into the arms of relatives and loved ones, rather than supervised quarantine facilities. Surveys show that in general, most recognize the risks this entails and will take necessary precautions. But they also show that two in five Americans plan on attending a gathering of more than ten people—and as for the hosts of these large gatherings, one in three won’t require guests to wear masks.

Now New Zealand, unlike the United States, has come incredibly close to eliminating Covid-19. So has China. Perhaps in anticipation of the travel surges to come, the Chinese government has tightened restrictions on points of entry, now requiring all airline passengers entering mainland China to submit not just a negative PCR test, but a negative IgM antibody test. My interpretation of this is that health authorities picked up on enough 

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Americans are planning their next vacation even though it’ll probably be months before most people can get a COVID-19 vaccine



a large body of water with a city in the background: With news of a vaccine, Americans are ready to visit big cities again. Westend61/Getty Images


© Provided by Business Insider
With news of a vaccine, Americans are ready to visit big cities again. Westend61/Getty Images

  • When the news of potential coronavirus vaccines broke, some people immediately started planning their next vacation. 
  • Skyscanner saw spikes in both searches and bookings on the days that news of a potential coronavirus vaccine hit. 
  • While the pandemic had travelers avoiding big cities, when news of the Pfizer vaccine broke, people started searching for big cities once more.
  • When news of Moderna’s vaccine hit, travelers started dreaming bigger and began searching for more international destinations.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When the news of potential coronavirus vaccines broke, the world uttered a collective sigh of relief.

And, despite the fact that the vaccines likely won’t be available to everyone in the US until May 2021, some people have immediately started planning their next vacation. 

Travel search engine Skyscanner told Insider that on November 9, 2020, when news of Pfizer’s promising vaccine broke, searches for economy class round-trips from the US increased by 39% compared to the previous day. Bookings jumped 25%.

Similarly, on November 16, 2020, when news of the promising Moderna vaccine hit, searches for economy class round-trips from the US rose by 63% compared to the previous day. Bookings spiked 17%.

On November 9, tentative travelers kept their potential trips pretty local, with US destinations making up most of the top 10. 

However, what US cities Americans were searching for came as a surprise, as most of the list consisted of large cities, with New York, Los Angeles, and Miami rounding out the top three. 

Whereas the pandemic had travelers avoiding big cities in lieu of small towns, camping, and road trips, the vaccine news had big cities shoot up to the top of people’s bucket lists once more.

Even more interesting is that, once news of a second potentially viable vaccine broke, travelers began dreaming even bigger, with international destinations from London to Munich making up the top 10 most-searched destinations.

Most experts predicted travel rebounding

Mark Crossey, the US Traveler Expert for Skyscanner, said that US travelers are emboldened by most airlines’ scrapped change fees.

“The emergence of truly flexible travel fares has not gone unnoticed, and US travelers are taking advantage,” he said, adding that low fares and flexibility will likely be around for a while to encourage bookings.

He added that the post-vaccine news spike just shows how unwavering Americans’ appetite for travel is.

Insider reported in April that many experts predicted this, agreeing that while the question of when and how long it will take to get there was unclear, travel would rebound swiftly.

“People’s desire to travel is resilient,” a TripAdvisor spokesperson previously said in a statement to Insider. “What we’ve seen through SARS, Ebola, terrorist attacks, and numerous natural disasters is that the travel industry has always rebounded.”

“Humans need to

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After years of planning, new 304-room downtown Tacoma hotel is open for business

Wednesday morning marked a landmark launch in downtown Tacoma with the opening of the new Marriott Tacoma Downtown hotel next to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

“We’re officially open,” said Ben Osgood, general manager of the hotel. “We’ve signed all the documents and the doors are open.”

Osgood spoke to The News Tribune not long after the official 9 a.m. opening.

There was no pomp and circumstance with a large crowd of officials to mark the start, given that Pierce County is now awash in its third surge of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic.

“It’s a little quiet, to say the least,” Osgood said. “But …. we are receiving reservations as we speak.”

For tourism officials, that’s good news.

“This is a big day for Pierce County, and we’re excited to officially welcome Marriott Tacoma Downtown into the Tacoma hotel community,” said Dean Burke, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma – Mt. Rainier Tourism and Sports, via email Wednesday.

Adapting to change

The hotel, with 22 floors and 304 guest rooms, has been a goal for the city since the convention center’s completion in 2004.

The site’s groundbreaking on Aug. 8, 2017, was arranged with the help of a feng shui expert, focused on every celebratory detail down to the date itself to instill good luck on the project.

Fast forward to 2020: Attention to detail now is focused on providing safe service in a pandemic.

Opening plans called for what Osgood describes as a “big pivot” following Gov. Jay Inslee’s new orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Really, the biggest change that we had to pivot on just in the last three, four days is we are unfortunately unable to open our restaurant,” Osgood said.

Staff had trained for weeks planning for a thriving indoor dining scene.

Instead, guests now can experience a revamped room service with quick turnaround time.

“Our interim dining program … it’s not the traditional room service that you would expect where you get to your room and, an hour and a half after you order, your food shows up on the big metal plate (with) all the fancy dinnerware,” Osgood said.

“This is more on demand, a la carte experience that will be delivered to your room or available for grab and go in the lobby within 15 minutes of your order. So it’s hot and fresh. It competes with your fast casual restaurants. Everything’s in compostable packaging. It’s a really good program, and it keeps it actually very affordable for the guest.”

Other amenities for now are either scaled down or temporarily off-limits, such as the pool, spa and fitness center.

Cleaning, air filtration

Cleaning, another big issue top of mind with guests trying to avoid COVID-19, follows a pandemic protocol.

“Basically, anything that can’t be sanitized in the guest room is removed.,” Osgood said, “and available by request only. We’re going pretty much paperless. So QR codes, compendiums on the TV.”

On-screen “compendiums” are best described as a digital concierge,

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Planning To Travel In 2021? Make Sure Your Passport Is Good To Go

The Week

Biden says if Trump administration doesn’t coordinate with his transition team, ‘more people may die’

President-elect Joe Biden is calling for access to the Trump administration’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, saying “more people may die” if there’s no coordination with his transition team.During an address on Monday, Biden celebrated the “great news” that COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer appear to be more than 90 percent effective, but said “the sooner we have access to the administration’s distribution plan, the sooner this transition would smoothly move forward.” As President Trump continues to refuse to concede the 2020 presidential election, Biden’s transition team “does not have access to the administration’s COVID-19 data and vaccine distribution plans,” CNN reports.Asked what is the biggest threat of Trump obstructing a smooth transfer of power, Biden said, “More people may die if we don’t coordinate.” It’s crucial for his transition team to know what the “game plan” is for the “huge undertaking” of vaccinating over 300 million Americans, he added.”If we have to wait until January 20th to start that planning, it puts us behind, over a month, month and a half,” Biden said. “And so it’s important that there be coordination now, now or as rapidly as we can get that done.”Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff pick, previously emphasized the importance of the transition being able to access the administration’s vaccine distribution plan, saying, “Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have on January 20th.” And asked on Sunday whether it would be best if health officials could begin working with Biden’s team, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CNN “of course” it would be, adding, “That’s obvious.” > “More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden says about Trump administration’s refusal to help his transition and COVID-19 plans https://t.co/kFrcNHA9Vf pic.twitter.com/BVDTk1mu7y> > — CBS News (@CBSNews) November 16, 2020More stories from theweek.com 7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump’s refusal to concede Trump is reportedly ‘very aware’ he lost the election but is putting up a fight as ‘theater’ Texas senator suggests it’s too soon to declare Biden the winner because Puerto Rico is still counting votes

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Planning travel becomes more complicated during pandemic

AP
Published 2:59 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2020

Planning travel for college basketball teams can be complicated. Flights and hotels have to be booked, buses rented, meals planned. Schedules have to be worked around practices and games.

Planning amid the COVID-19 pandemic makes it exponentially more difficult.

Coaches and administrators have to consider ventilation systems, vendor testing protocols, shifting state requirements, airport policies, bus layouts and meal service options.

“You’re trying to balance logistics, but you also trying to balance a budget and health and safety in a pandemic,” Arkansas director of basketball operations Anthony Ruta said. “It’s not always easy.”

The NCAA set the college basketball start date for Nov. 25. When the announcement was made in mid-September, coaches began scrambling to fill out schedules. With the start of the season 10 days away, some of those schedules still aren’t finalized.

Within that scramble was another, more complex one.

It’s one thing to have a schedule set, another to wade through the minutiae to make it work.

The pandemic has put a huge financial strain on athletic departments, sending many millions of dollars in the red. Staying within a travel budget has become even more important.

The preferred method of pandemic travel would be to take a charter flight for the social distancing aspect, but smaller schools don’t have the finances to do that, even under regular circumstances. The financial hit of the pandemic shrinks the charter pool even more.

Charter or commercial, there’s still plenty to worry about. Testing protocols at a variety of airports have to be identified ahead of time. Finding space to spread out in the terminal becomes a priority. There’s also concern about close contacts in the airport, from TSA personnel and gate agents to other passengers.

Even bus rides, the preferred mode of pandemic travel when possible, are fraught with concerns.

Coaches setting up travel have to ask about the filtration system, testing protocols for employees and the interior layout to allow players and coaches to spread out. If the travel party gets too big, maybe a second bus will be required.

No longer is it just asking about bus types and setting up a schedule. Coaches need to know what questions to ask to keep their travel party safe and avoid surprises on the road.

“Nothing unforeseen, but just the different questions you’ve got to ask people,” Wisconsin director of basketball operations Marc VandeWettering said. “Where’s your bus driver been the last few weeks on the road? Who have they been driving? Have they been tested recently? What’s their protocol? I assume they’re going to be wearing masks the entire times, but what else are they doing to assure the safety of the team that they’re transporting?”

Getting there can be half the battle.

Finding hotels with the best pandemic protocols becomes a top consideration with price and proximity. Figuring out room assignments and keeping social distance is part of the equation.

Meal planning is no longer merely deciding whether to go

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Planning vacation in Goa during Covid-19 pandemic? Here’s your 3-step guide to a safe vacation



a group of palm trees next to a body of water: The safest way of enjoying the tropical Goa life is to choose an all-equipped resort which becomes a destination in itself.


© Provided by The Financial Express
The safest way of enjoying the tropical Goa life is to choose an all-equipped resort which becomes a destination in itself.

By Sulakshna Wadhwa   

At the cost of sounding obvious, it’s safe to say that this year has changed the definition of normal. Our routine was the first one to take on the “new normal,” and after which, it has been travel which has found a way back into our lives, the 2020 way, a much-welcomed revival.

After a slumber of months, our travel bags are finding their way out of the closet, equally excited to call a new destination their home for a couple of days. But unlike the older times, a huge gap of questions concerning safety must be bridged with the right answers. India’s favourite beach destination, Goa is becoming that fresh wind of air one needs right now. The question remains the same, is Goa tourist safe? The answer is yes, but to ensure that you have a stress-free and much needed relaxing trip, we put together a 3-step guide to a safe vacation in Goa.

Step 1: Starting on a safe note with a reliable airline 



a group of people sitting at a table


© Provided by The Financial Express




a close up of food


© Provided by The Financial Express


If you are planning your trip to Goa, one of the first and foremost things to check off your to-do list should be booking your tickets with a reliable airline. It is the easiest way to ensure that you and your travel companions/family members enjoy a hassle-free trip.

We decided to fly by Vistara, India’s 5-star airline which is undertaking over a dozen measures to ensure a safe on-ground and in-flight experience for the passengers and crew members. As soon as one arrives at the airport, the self-check-in and E-Tag kiosk followed by automated baggage drop ensures minimum contact between the staff and the passenger.

The social-distancing markers at the airport get one through the security and waiting gates safely. Prior to boarding, a secondary temperature screening is conducted for all the passengers, after which PPE Kits containing a mask, face shield, sanitizer are handed over to every passenger. The protective gowns add an extra layer of safety for middle-seat passengers. Wearing a mask and face shield on the flight is mandatory.

The aspects that won our faith in travelling with Vistara were sanitization of lavatory after every use, and the intensified cleaning process after every turnaround. The use of washrooms was one of our biggest concerns on our first-trip since the pandemic hit. But the precautions undertaken by Vistara ensured that even the tiniest element on-board was thoroughly sanitized through a deep cleaning process.

While we found ourselves at ease after observing the many safety measures, our nerves were still dancing to their own tunes because it was our first flight in months, but courtesy of the soothing music while boarding, take-off and landing, our nerves found a joyous space in no time.

Make sure airlines staff are dressed in

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Planning vacation in Goa during Covid-19 pandemic? Here’s your 3-step guide to a safe vacation

The safest way of enjoying the tropical Goa life is to choose an all-equipped resort which becomes a destination in itself.

By  Sulakshna Wadhwa   

At the cost of sounding obvious, it’s safe to say that this year has changed the definition of normal. Our routine was the first one to take on the “new normal,” and after which, it has been travel which has found a way back into our lives, the 2020 way, a much-welcomed revival.

After a slumber of months, our travel bags are finding their way out of the closet, equally excited to call a new destination their home for a couple of days. But unlike the older times, a huge gap of questions concerning safety must be bridged with the right answers. India’s favourite beach destination, Goa is becoming that fresh wind of air one needs right now. The question remains the same, is Goa tourist safe? The answer is yes, but to ensure that you have a stress-free and much needed relaxing trip, we put together a 3-step guide to a safe vacation in Goa.

Step 1: Starting on a safe note with a reliable airline 

If you are planning your trip to Goa, one of the first and foremost things to check off your to-do list should be booking your tickets with a reliable airline. It is the easiest way to ensure that you and your travel companions/family members enjoy a hassle-free trip.

We decided to fly by Vistara, India’s 5-star airline which is undertaking over a dozen measures to ensure a safe on-ground and in-flight experience for the passengers and crew members. As soon as one arrives at the airport, the self-check-in and E-Tag kiosk followed by automated baggage drop ensures minimum contact between the staff and the passenger.

The social-distancing markers at the airport get one through the security and waiting gates safely. Prior to boarding, a secondary temperature screening is conducted for all the passengers, after which PPE Kits containing a mask, face shield, sanitizer are handed over to every passenger. The protective gowns add an extra layer of safety for middle-seat passengers. Wearing a mask and face shield on the flight is mandatory.

The aspects that won our faith in travelling with Vistara were sanitization of lavatory after every use, and the intensified cleaning process after every turnaround. The use of washrooms was one of our biggest concerns on our first-trip since the pandemic hit. But the precautions undertaken by Vistara ensured that even the tiniest element on-board was thoroughly sanitized through a deep cleaning process.

While we found ourselves at ease after observing the many safety measures, our nerves were still dancing to their own tunes because it was our first flight in months, but courtesy of the soothing music while boarding, take-off and landing, our nerves found a joyous space in no time.

Make sure airlines staff are dressed in protective gowns, masks, face shields and gloves ensuring maximum personal and passenger safety. The perks like priority check-in,

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Americans planning holiday travel could add to COVID-19 surge

The Transportation Security Administration screened more people on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year than on any day in the agency’s history. This Thanksgiving weekend won’t be as busy but millions still plan to hit the road. Health experts say those travelers could add to the wave of infections now sweeping the country.



a group of people with luggage at an airport: Travelers at airports as U.S. airline daily traffic falls


© Angus Mordant / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Travelers at airports as U.S. airline daily traffic falls

Millions of Americans planning to travel this holiday amid COVID-19 pandemic

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UP NEXT

A.J. Dronkers hasn’t seen his mother in over a year but that’s about to change. He’s among the 56% of Americans planning to travel for Thanksgiving — after he gets a COVID-19 test.

“We decided last minute and I think that was part of weighing out all the risk, all the factors,” Dronkers told CBS News. “I really let my family drive that decision on their comfort level and every time I called, and they said they were perfectly comfortable. Also, the beauty of Southern California, we can eat outside.”

Americans will fly more than 500 additional flights a day as airlines anticipate the busiest stretch of the pandemic, but the number of travelers is expected to be far less than last year, and most will go by car — 76%, according to TripAdvisor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Protection warns even “small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.” The agency recommends getting a flu shot, hosting small gatherings outside, wearing a mask and staying out of tight spaces like kitchens.

“When people get together indoors, eating, drinking, talking, shouting, singing, that’s unfortunately how to spread a lot of COVID, especially when people are traveling around,” former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. 

“Please be more careful around Thanksgiving so that we can have a merry Christmas, otherwise there’s a real chance that we’re going to see explosive spread of COVID throughout December as a result of the Thanksgiving holidays,” Frieden continued.

Frieden downsized his own family’s Thanksgiving in light of COVID-19’s surge. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, was forced to make the same decision

The CDC is encouraging people to limit gatherings to their own household or a small group of close contacts. The agency is also recommending people to wear masks indoors when they’re not eating, hold events outdoors, or even host a virtual Thanksgiving with family out of state. 

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Millions of Americans planning holiday travel could add to COVID-19 surge, experts warn

The Transportation Security Administration screened more people on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year than on any day in the agency’s history. This Thanksgiving weekend won’t be as busy but millions still plan to hit the road. Health experts say those travelers could add to the wave of infections now sweeping the country.

A.J. Dronkers hasn’t seen his mother in over a year but that’s about to change. He’s among the 56% of Americans planning to travel for Thanksgiving — after he gets a COVID-19 test.

“We decided last minute and I think that was part of weighing out all the risks, all the factors,” Dronkers told CBS News. “I really let my family drive that decision on their comfort level, and every time I called they said that they were perfectly comfortable. Also, the beauty of Southern California, we can eat outside.”

Americans will fly more than 500 additional flights a day as airlines anticipate the busiest stretch of the pandemic, but the number of travelers is expected to be far less than last year, and most will go by car — 76%, according to TripAdvisor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns even “small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.” The agency recommends getting a flu shot, hosting small gatherings outside, wearing a mask and staying out of tight spaces like kitchens.

“When people get together indoors, eating, drinking, talking, shouting, singing, that’s unfortunately how to spread a lot of COVID, especially when people are traveling around,” former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said. 

“Please be more careful around Thanksgiving so that we can have a merry Christmas, otherwise there’s a real chance that we’re going to see explosive spread of COVID throughout December as a result of the Thanksgiving holidays,” Frieden continued.

Frieden downsized his own family’s Thanksgiving in light of COVID-19’s surge. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, was forced to make the same decision

The CDC is encouraging people to limit gatherings to their own household or a small group of close contacts. The agency is also recommending people to wear masks indoors when they’re not eating, hold events outdoors, or even host a virtual Thanksgiving with family out of state. 

Source Article

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