COVID-19 testing

Mask Mandate Extension + Stricter COVID-19 Rules for Travelers

Update 12/2/21: Here are the brand new tour-related mandates and rules issued by the White House as part of a bigger plan to cope with the Delta and Omicron versions this winter.

From the assertion:

  1. Stronger Public Health Protocols for Safe International Travel: Last month, the Administration implemented more potent international journey protocols, consisting of requirements for overseas travelers to be absolutely vaccinated. The very day the WHO recognized the brand new Omicron version, the Biden Administration took instantaneous steps to restriction journey from the nations in the region where it changed into showed to be spreading quickly.
  • Strengthening international pre-departure trying out protocols: Early next week, the USA will tighten pre-departure trying out protocols with the aid of requiring all inbound international vacationers to check inside someday of departure globally, irrespective of nationality or vaccination popularity.
  • Extending the requirement to wear a masks on airplanes, rail tour, and public transportation: The Administration will preserve to require covering all through global or different public journey – as well as in transportation hubs such as airports or indoor bus terminals – thru March 18. The Transportation Security Administration will amplify its implementing orders to hold those requirements through March 18. Fines will continue to be doubled from their initial stages for noncompliance with the covering requirements – with a minimal excellent of $500 and fines of up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

Wednesday night, Reuters and different news stores have been reporting that on Thursday, President Joe Biden will increase thru mid-March the mask mandate for travelers at airports, and on airplanes, on trains and in teach stations, and on buses. The contemporary mandate turned into set to run out on January 18.  The mandate also covers ships, ferries, and seaports, subways and subway stations, taxis, and journey-hailing offerings.

Travelers who do now not comply are subject to fines.

But wait, there’s extra.

In response to issues approximately the Omicron version of the coronavirus, the White House is also anticipated to announce stricter testing regulations for air tourists coming into or returning to the USA, such as lowering the pre-flight Covid testing window to simply one day prior to tour.

Right now, vaccinated worldwide air vacationers can enter the U.S. with a bad COVID test end result taken inside three days before the flight’s departure.

We’ll recognize extra approximately this on Thursday, but it's miles probably to wreak quite the havoc with global travel plans as we head into the December vacations and the brand new yr.

Why We Spit on Viking Cruises

What’s the first-rate part of taking a cruise around Iceland proper now?

The food? The views? The waterfalls? Take your choose.

We’re completely vaccinated. But have been we worried about journeying overseas when the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t but formally over?

You wager.

Still, when Viking Cruises despatched an invite for a cruise round Iceland on the Viking Sky on one of the voyages inside the “Welcome Back” series, we said sure.

Just getting to move someplace was an appeal of path. And there are actually many researched-for the duration of-the pandemic locations on our cross-there-soon list.

But Iceland went to the pinnacle of the listing whilst we took a study the cruise itinerary and contemplated all of the waterfalls, fjords, and elf-anointed landscapes we’d get to visit.

Viking’s Health and Safety software and COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plans, as defined, have been an appeal too.

Before the cruise, passengers had to offer proof of vaccination and fill out a couple of health surveys. (I became a bit past due at the uptake with that and got a cellphone name gently reminding me to get with the program.)

And in addition to sporting masks on board and at the same time as out on tours, we needed to agree to every day temperature assessments, to put on touch-tracing devices, and to take every day non-invasive PCR tests once on board.

We had been assured that crew members could be wearing the contact tracing devices and be examined every day too.

That PCR testing entails spitting into a tube left in our staterooms every night.

And to be sincere, filling the tube to the specified line isn’t that clean. And it is sincerely not ‘cruise amusing’ to be reminded by a personnel member to take care of this assignment before leaving the cabin every day.

But it's miles essential.

What occurs to all that spit?

All the tubes get delivered every day to the onboard lab Viking has created on the deliver. (Each Viking ocean deliver has one now.) And the group in that lab uses enormously sensitive equipment to check and examine all those PCR assessments every day.

As we discovered some days into this cruise, this protocol works thoroughly.

Although everybody on board is vaccinated, the lab determined a suspected superb case of COVID_19 on board.

That completely vaccinated and asymptomatic visitor changed into speedy re-examined and isolated in a dedicated section of the ship. The contact tracing system turned into activated.

We have any other stage of protection on board that has been defensive passengers from COVID-19: A pair of UV sanitizing robots, named R2 and D2. While passengers sleep, those efficient machines are despatched into public spaces along with the fitness room and the atrium to UV-away any viruses that may be placing approximately.

Still, the Icelandic authorities are making the Viking Sky bypass a few scheduled port visits. But due to the fact the onboard protocol is so large and efficient, there is no want for the rest of the passengers on board to restrict activities as we head lower back to Reykjavik.

There is no scarcity of alcohol, sushi, or reality-crammed lectures. And there are not any other cases of COVID-19 observed. (Yes, we hold spitting).

So we're all first-class. It is, after all, a cruise ship full of notable services and relatively enthusiastic personnel. There isn't any need to sense sorry for this merry band of cruisers.

[Update: the bars are now open. And Viking’s Chief Health Officer has arrived in Iceland to meet with officials and ensure the cruise line’s protocols are in sync with the country’s health officials and the Coast Guard. ]

As is their manner, the group at Viking Cruises is retaining all people very knowledgeable of what is happening – or not – and supplying generous partial refunds (50% ) to clients, a lot of whom are already speaking approximately their future cruises.

And as I flow about the ship I pay attention unhappiness, of course, however slightly a grumble.

And that is why we are glad to spit on Viking Cruises.

Travel Tidbits: Testing, Festivals, and More

COVID-19 trying out required for global journey – and perhaps home journey too.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls for that all travelers flying to the US from abroad show proof of a terrible COVID-19 test earlier than boarding their flight.

The new rule went into effect on January 26. And in addition to the pre-flight check, CDC is also recommending that absolutely everyone arriving in the U.S. be tested three-five days after travel and stay home to self-quarantine for 7 days after tour. Or self-quarantine for 10 days in the event that they don’t get a test.

Airlines, lodges, and airports are rushing to assist tourists observe this new travel requirement.

United Airlines, as an instance, rolled out is “Travel-Ready Center.” This virtual website online we could passengers evaluate COVID-19 entry necessities, locate local trying out sites, and add required testing and vaccination records for each international and domestic travel.

The new ruling is quite rigorous for worldwide travel. And on Tuesday it became pronounced that the Biden administration is “actively looking” at expanding obligatory COVID-19 checking out to travelers on U.S. domestic flights.

We’ll see if that extra layer of checking out end up truth. But in the intervening time, if you do plan to journey soon it will likely be correct to sweep up on the current rulings.

Another airline bans emotional assist animals

Southwest Airlines introduced that as of March 1, 2021 emotional support animals may be banned from flights.

Starting that day, Southwest will best take delivery of dogs which can be trained carrier animals. The airline will still permit pets to fly within the cabin, however handiest if they may be vaccinated home cats or puppies in the perfect puppy service. And if they have a ticket. Fares are $95 every way in step with puppy carrier.

Southwest joins all different main airlines in making this ruling. Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Frontier, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines have already positioned their “no emotional help animals” coverage in force.

Festivals rebooked for actual

Dare we hope?

While many annual activities around the u . s . a . and the arena are being postponed or canceled for but every other 12 months, a few are going ahead.

In New Orleans, the Jazz & Heritage Festival that changed into canceled remaining spring is now scheduled for October 8-17. And the French Quarter Festival is now deliberate to take place September 30-October 3.

Hotels upload COVID-19 testing to amenity lists

Courtesy Arora Group

Skip the lines and get a COVID-19 check at your resort

(This is a barely unique version of our tale for NBC News)

You may not be capable of work out in inn gyms or dangle out in foyer bars just yet. But at an increasing number of lodges, guests can now get COVID-19 tests as part of their live.

The exams are presented in partnership with a local laboratory or clinical business enterprise and at a further, sometimes hefty expense. But now that a bad COVID-19 check is required for crossing many kingdom and usa borders, lodges hoping to face-out are including scientific checking out to their list of services.

Results earlier than you fly

“Test and Rest” applications beginning at about $240 at the Sofitel Heathrow and approximately $200 on the Sofitel Gatwick lets in guests to check-in and take a self-administered saliva COVID-19 check from a package.

Twice an afternoon, the motel sends test samples through courier to a HALO checking out laboratory. Results, plus a certificates to be printed at reception, are emailed to visitors so one can pass from the airport inn to the aircraft.

“It appeared to be the right factor to do to each encourage journey and get human beings booking airport motels once more,” said Raj Shah, Commercial Director – Hotel Division of the Arora Group. The business enterprise operates several accommodations at each Heathrow and Gatwick.

COVID-19 testing at motels and boutique motels

In Las Vegas, the REVIV wellness spa on the Cosmopolitan gives COVID-19 PCR testing ($a hundred) with results and documents promised within 24-hours. Antibody tests ($40) are also to be had, with reductions provided to visitors who package deal their checks with a number of the spa’s treatments.

With HELIX Urgent Care, Florida’s Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa offers COVID-19 checking out for visitors 3 days per week. The rate is $one hundred twenty five, with effects promised in 48 hours or much less.  

Both the W South Beach in Miami Beach and Chateau Marmont Hotel, Cottages and Bungalows in Hollywood are partnering with Sollis Health to offer visitor COVID-19 PCR assessments with a 24-hour turnaround. Test costs are $a hundred seventy five on the W South Beach and are covered as a part of the amenity package at Chateau Marmont, wherein costs start at approximately $475 a night.  

For $299, the Nemacolin, a inn in Farmington, PA, is providing guests fast COVID-19 checks which might be analyzed on-website, with outcomes in 15-20 minutes. “Should a nice test end result arise, you'll be expected to re-test straight away,” the resort tells guests.

And on the Nobu Hotel Palo Alto in California’s Silicon Valley, visitors really ask their non-public concierge to arrange an on-website COVID-19 test. A licensed clinical expert then arrives in complete non-public defensive gadget (PPE) to manage the take a look at. And couriers take the samples to an authorized laboratory for expedited outcomes. The white-glove service starts at $500.

What do you suspect of this new lodge amenity?

Hawaii certain? Get examined for COVID-19

Hawaii reopens to vacationers on October 15. Yay, proper?

But the only site visitors who could be able to skip the 14-day quarantine guidelines may be those with evidence of testing terrible for COVID-19 inside 72 hours before they depart the mainland.

Hawaii officers will simplest be given check outcomes from authorised companies.

Here’s records about those trying out partners from the Hawaii State Department of Health. The list changed into posted on 10/thirteen/20 and will probably be updated.

Be positive to test with vendors for costs and up to date facts.

Where to get tested

AFC Urgent Care – COVID-19 checks are available at clinics on the AFC Urgent Care internet site. Tests available for ages five and older. Schedule in advance to assure appointment availability. A published model of the consequences is provided prior to leaving the clinic.

Bartell Drugs – Only for Alaska Airlines passengers to Hawaii at select Bartell Drugs places. Tests to be had for a while five and older. Appointments are required at the least in the future in advance. Guaranteed effects within seventy two hours.

Carbon Health – Tests presented at dedicated websites with outcomes delivered within hours. Tests available for a long time 5 and older for Alaska Airlines passengers in Seattle simplest. ($135)

CityHealth Urgent Care – CityHealth Urgent Care gives assessments using latest Abbott Lab instrumentation for results in 15 mins. Tests to be had for ages five and older.  

Color  Tests to be had for a while 5 and older for United Airlines passengers going to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport.

CVS Health – Travelers might also schedule an appointment up to two days in advance at pick out CVS Pharmacy power-thru places. Tests available for a while 12 and older. Pre-registration is needed. ($139).

Discovery Health MD – Individuals touring to Hawaii may also agenda testing on line with identical ($329) and next day ($279) effects at distinct testing sites. Tests to be had for a while five and older. A confined number of walk-united statesmay be accommodated.

Kaiser Permanente – Kaiser Permanente members can also schedule a test online, or contact the appointment call center or nurse advice line in their home vicinity for scheduling instructions.

Quest Diagnostics – Individuals may also order and agenda the organization’s COVID-19 Active Infection Test on-line and pick out from greater than 500 Walmart power-via pharmacy places for a nasal swab check.

Vault Health – At-home exams with actual-time audio-visible supervision are available. Tests to be had for a long time 5 and older. Tests are mailed with correct outcomes in seventy two hours or much less.

Walgreens – Drive-thru trying out locations to be had. Appointment required.

COVID-19 Testing Information from Airlines and Airports

If you are heading to Hawaii, your airline will offer statistics about COVID-19 assessments and modern-day requlations.

Here are links to the pre-journey checking out necessities for Hawaii travelers and further records approximately trying out options from airlines – and from Oakland International Airport.

Alaska Airlines 

American Airlines 

Hawaiian Airlines 

Oakland International Airport 

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines 

If you cross, send us a postcard.