Mask Mandate Extension + Stricter COVID-19 Rules for Travelers

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

From the announcement:

  1. Stronger Public Health Protocols for Safe International Travel: Last month, the Administration applied stronger global tour protocols, along with necessities for overseas vacationers to be completely vaccinated. The very day the WHO recognized the new Omicron variation, the Biden Administration took instant steps to limit travel from the international locations inside the place where it become confirmed to be spreading quickly.
  • Strengthening global pre-departure checking out protocols: Early subsequent week, america will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound worldwide tourists to check inside one day of departure globally, no matter nationality or vaccination status.
  • Extending the requirement to put on a mask on airplanes, rail travel, and public transportation: The Administration will preserve to require covering at some point of worldwide or other public tour – as well as in transportation hubs such as airports or indoor bus terminals – thru March 18. The Transportation Security Administration will enlarge its enforcing orders to hold those requirements via March 18. Fines will continue to be doubled from their initial stages for noncompliance with the protecting requirements – with a minimal great of $500 and fines of up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.

Wednesday night, Reuters and different news shops were reporting that on Thursday, President Joe Biden will enlarge thru mid-March the masks mandate for travelers at airports, and on airplanes, on trains and in educate stations, and on buses. The modern mandate become set to expire on January 18.  The mandate additionally covers ships, ferries, and seaports, subways and subway stations, taxis, and experience-hailing offerings.

Travelers who do no longer comply are challenge to fines.

But wait, there’s more.

In response to worries approximately the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the White House is also anticipated to announce stricter checking out guidelines for air tourists getting into or returning to the USA, such as decreasing the pre-flight Covid testing window to just sooner or later prior to travel.

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

We’ll realize extra about this on Thursday, but it's miles possibly to wreak pretty the havoc with worldwide tour plans as we head into the December vacations and the new year.

Airports Welcome Back International Travelers

The United States began welcoming back vaccinated worldwide travelers on November 8. Here’s how some airports across the us of a celebrated. (If I overlooked yours, please ship a hyperlink and I’ll upload it.)

COVID-Sniffing Dogs at MIA; Food Delivering Robot at SEA

One Betta from MIA’s COVID-19 detector canine group

COVID-Sniffing Dogs on Duty at MIA Airport

For the next 30-days, COVID-sniffing dogs can be on duty at Miami International Airport (MIA).

The detector dogs are specially trained with the aid of the Global Forensic and Justice Center (GFJC) at Florida International University (FIU) and will be on obligation at an worker security checkpoint.

The dogs in the pilot program at MIA – Cobra (a Belgian Malinois) and One Betta (a Dutch Shepherd) – have been trained to alert to the scent of COVID-19.

How do they try this? According to a assertion from MIA, the virus causes metabolic modifications in someone that bring about the production of risky organic compounds (VOCs). The VOCs are excreted by means of someone’s breath and sweat, generating a heady scent that trained dogs can discover.

During this test, which MIA says is the primary at a US airport, if a canine shows a person is sporting the scent of the virus, that character could be directed to get a fast COVID check.

Robot Food Delivery at SEA Airport

More ways to get your food at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA) has joined the growing list of airports supplying a cell meals ordering provider.

OrderSEA works with the Grab and At Your Gate applications to offer pick-up and gate shipping alternatives from sixteen airport food outlets, with greater on the way.

There is a tipping option to be had within the app and a small charge for delivery. And even as you can not order alcoholic liquids for transport, you can order from any participating publish-safety meals outlet.

So if you are on the A Gates and you’d like some thing from the newly-opened Tundra Taqueria inside the N Satellite, pass beforehand and order it.

As an advantage, some tourists who order gate transport will find the At Your Gate delivery person followed by way of this very lovely Gita robotic.

At Your Gate has robots helping to supply meals at several different airports, consisting of Los Angeles International (LAX), where they've named the robot NomNom.

Why We Spit on Viking Cruises

What’s the satisfactory a part of taking a cruise around Iceland right now?

The meals? The perspectives? The waterfalls? Take your choose.

We’re completely vaccinated. But were we concerned approximately traveling in a foreign country while the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t yet officially over?

You bet.

Still, whilst Viking Cruises despatched an invitation for a cruise round Iceland at the Viking Sky on one of the voyages in the “Welcome Back” series, we said yes.

Just getting to head someplace turned into an attraction of direction. And there at the moment are many researched-throughout-the pandemic locations on our go-there-soon list.

But Iceland went to the top of the listing while we took a observe the cruise itinerary and contemplated all of the waterfalls, fjords, and elf-anointed landscapes we’d get to go to.

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

Before the cruise, passengers needed to provide evidence of vaccination and fill out multiple health surveys. (I was a piece overdue at the uptake with that and were given a smartphone name lightly reminding me to get with the program.)

And in addition to sporting mask on board and at the same time as out on excursions, we needed to comply with every day temperature checks, to put on touch-tracing devices, and to take each day non-invasive PCR checks as soon as on board.

We have been confident that team participants could be carrying the touch tracing devices and be tested day by day too.

That PCR checking out involves spitting into a tube left in our staterooms each night.

And to be honest, filling the tube to the desired line isn’t that easy. And it is absolutely now not ‘cruise fun’ to be reminded via a body of workers member to take care of this task before leaving the cabin each day.

But it is essential.

What happens to all that spit?

All the tubes get delivered every day to the onboard lab Viking has created on the ship. (Each Viking ocean ship has one now.) And the crew in that lab makes use of especially touchy system to test and examine all those PCR tests each day.

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

Although everyone on board is vaccinated, the lab observed a suspected high-quality case of COVID_19 on board.

That completely vaccinated and asymptomatic visitor became speedy re-examined and remoted in a devoted phase of the ship. The touch tracing gadget became activated.

We have another level of safety on board that has been protecting passengers from COVID-19: A pair of UV sanitizing robots, named R2 and D2. While passengers sleep, those green machines are sent into public areas which include the fitness room and the atrium to UV-away any viruses that may be striking 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 sizable and green, there is no need for the rest of the passengers on board to restriction sports as we head again to Reykjavik.

There is not any shortage of alcohol, sushi, or truth-crammed lectures. And there are not any different instances of COVID-19 located. (Yes, we maintain spitting).

So we're all first-rate. It is, in any case, a cruise deliver filled with first-rate amenities and enormously enthusiastic body of workers. There isn't any want to feel 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 way, the team at Viking Cruises is maintaining each person very informed of what's taking place – or no longer – and offering generous partial refunds (50% ) to customers, a lot of whom are already talking about their future cruises.

And as I circulate about the ship I hear disappointment, of direction, however barely a grumble.

And that is why we're satisfied to spit on Viking Cruises.

Celebrities welcome you to Miami Int’l Airport

Here’s any other sign that the sector of travel is moving lower back toward everyday:

Miami International Airport (MIA) is bringing back movie star welcome messages to its public cope with system.

The Voices of MIA software launched in 2019 and featured the voices of nearby celebrities along with Miami Heat stars Alonzo Mourning and Udonis Haslem, celeb chef Adrianne Calvo, Grammy-winning producer Emilio Estefan and telenovela megastar Jencarlos Canela.

The refreshed 2021 collection of celebrity welcome messages includes rapper and singer Flo Rida; actor, singer and composer Carlos Ponce; superstar chef Michelle Bernstein; rapper and TV persona Trina; and movie star chef and TV persona Chef Pepín. Listen for the messages on MIA’s address system across the clock on a rotating basis.

And in case you’re touring via Miami International Airport, or have friends or circle of relatives meeting you there or dropping you off, preserve in thoughts that is one of the airports website hosting a loose COVID-19 vaccination website online thru July 31.

MIA’s Military Hospitality Lounge lately reopened as properly.