The global COVID-19 epi-demic has shown the world how dangerous a pandemic can be to both people’s health and their lives. The coronavirus, as it was known at the time it took over the world last March, effectively shut down the global economy, closing borders and canceling international flights even as scientists grappled with how best to quarantine, curtail infectious transmission and treat those with severe symptoms.
A year later we are still asked to curtail our travel, minimize social contacts, wear masks and maintain distance. As a result, people are now COVID-weary. But the emergence of several approved vaccines holds promise that a rebound of international travel might be possible without the stringent restrictions and quarantines in place in many destinations. And it can’t happen soon enough. However, the challenge will be to restore public confidence in the safety of travel.
Recognizing the need to continue courting public confidence in safe travel, Delta recently extended its policy of keeping the middle seats unoccupied through April. Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, also hired a chief health officer as part of an overall move to brand Delta as a premium, health-conscious carrier. In a message that went to all customers, he expressed optimism and expected to see an “inflection point in the spring” as consumer confidence grows, vaccine distribution expands and travel restrictions ease.
President Biden’s executive orders in January included speeding up production of personal protective equipment and supplies; increasing testing capacity; and requiring mask-wearing during interstate travel in airports, airplanes, intercity buses and trains. This same executive order now requires all travelers to produce negative COVID-19 tests upon returning to the United States.
Overall, there seems to be general agreement that consistency and harmonization of rules and protocols regarding international travel is essential to restarting tourism. Plus, countries need to ease cumbersome restrictions and do away with constantly changing requirements. For example, I flew to Peru in March and, even though I was vaccinated, I still had to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. I also was required to quarantine for 14 days once I arrived in Peru. I had to fill out a health form questionnaire online before re-entering the United States.
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Plant Riverside District redefines Savannah’s riverfront.
THE BREAKERS PALM BEACH
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: We arrived at 1 p.m. and were greeted by the valet team, who introduced themselves and took our bags. The front desk team were enthusiastic, and in a short time we were in our beautiful room, where a cold bottle of Champagne and some delicious chocolates greeted us. The bellman supplied some information, and we were ready to sit on the deck and look out at the beach and ocean. The view was expansive and soothing.
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RANCHO BERNARDO INN
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: I had been itching for a road trip or staycation for a while and decided to take a few days away from Los Angeles and head down to sunny San Diego and explore downtown and Coronado Island.
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ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Talk about a grand entrance! After driving across the state of Pennsylvania and spending the last 40 minutes of our journey in a snowstorm, Nemacolin’s The Chateau coming into view was a welcome and gorgeous sight.
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Crane's Beach House
Guest Quarters: A few hours before I checked in, I received a text message that Crane’s Beach House had an opening, and I was upgraded to its luxury villa. Needless to say, I was eager to see what awaited behind the doors of Villa No. 7; the door, by the way, was sealed with a “sanitized and sealed” sticker, and I later found the same sticker sealing the refrigerator door and toilet as well.