Travel news latest: Tourism bosses call for extra bank holiday


Travel agencies in Thailand are selling coronavirus “vaccine tours” to the United States, with mass inoculations in the Thailand still a month away.

Bangkok tour operator, Unithai Trip, has packages from 75,000 baht to 200,000 baht ($2,400 to $6,400) for trips to San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, with prices dependent on the time gap between doses.

“Johnson & Johnson is one jab, but 90% of inquires want Pfizer,” which needs about 20 days between the first and second doses, the agency’s owner, Rachphol Yamsaeng, told Reuters. He said a group was tentatively scheduled to leave next week.

My Journey Travel is offering a 10-day trip to San Francisco for a Johnson & Johnson shot and said it has received hundreds of calls in three days.





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Singapore, Hong Kong call off air travel bubble announcement – Bloomberg News


Singapore and Hong Kong on Thursday called off an announcement for an air travel bubble between Asia’s two major financial hubs, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources.

The two cities delayed in December an air travel bubble because of a spike in coronavirus cases in Hong Kong.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Allegiant Travel Company Schedules First Quarter 2021 Earnings Call | News


LAS VEGAS, April 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ: ALGT) has scheduled its first quarter 2021 financial results conference call for Thursday, April 29 at 4:30 p.m. EDT. A live broadcast of the conference call will be available through the company’s Investor Relations website homepage at http://ir.allegiantair.com. The webcast will also be archived on the “Events & Presentations” section of the site.

Allegiant – Together We Fly

Las Vegas-based Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) is an integrated travel company with an airline at its heart, focused on connecting customers with the people, places and experiences that matter most. Since 1999, Allegiant Air has linked travelers in small-to-medium cities to world-class vacation destinations with all-nonstop flights and industry-low average fares. Today, Allegiant’s all-Airbus fleet serves communities across the nation, with base airfares less than half the cost of the average domestic roundtrip ticket. For more information, visit us at Allegiant.com. Media information, including photos, is available at http://gofly.us/iiFa303wrtF

Note: This news release was accurate at the date of issuance. However, information contained in the release may have changed. If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.

For further information please visit the company’s investor website: http://ir.allegiantair.com

Reference to the Company’s website above does not constitute incorporation of any of the information thereon into this news release.

Media Inquiries: mediarelations@allegiantair.com

Investor Inquiries: Sherry Wilson: ir@allegiantair.com

 

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/allegiant-travel-company-schedules-first-quarter-2021-earnings-call-301270797.html

SOURCE Allegiant Travel Company



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Alex Cora ejected for arguing horrible foul tip call


Alex Cora earned his first ejection of the season on Thursday, and you will understand why the Boston Red Sox manager was so irate when you see the call he was arguing.

With the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Boston reliever Matt Andriese got catcher Ryan Jeffers to swing at a ball in the dirt. For whatever reason, home plate umpire Jordan Baker thought Jeffers got a piece of the ball. Cora was baffled that Baker didn’t ask for help from the first base umpire.





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Richland County sheriff partnering with mental health pros as call volumes mount | Columbia


COLUMBIA — In an effort to better handle non-criminal calls, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department has been operating a crisis intervention team since February that pairs a deputy with a state Department of Mental Health clinician, who arrive at scenes together.

The duo has responded to incidents such as when a person is suicidal or worries they may hurt someone else at least 70 times in the past two months.

“Being mentally ill does not mean you’re a criminal,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a Feb. 24 press conference where he introduced the team’s creation. “And unfortunately for too long, it’s been treated that way.”

His department, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state, is among several in South Carolina integrating mental health response into its daily work.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, city of Greenville police department and Oconee County Sheriff’s Department all have initiatives of their own, and officials expect those services to be in greater demand following a spike in mental health-related calls through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richland County fielded 232 monthly non-criminal service calls related to mental emergencies in 2020, compared to 69 a month over the prior year.

Now, when dispatchers receive a call from somebody in the middle of a mental health emergency, Sheriff’s Capt. David Soto and a state Department of Mental Health counselor take over.

Soto is currently the only deputy on the newly formed team, so his availability is limited, but Lott is hoping to add more officers, which would also help improve response times in a county that’s 772 square miles.

The team arrives in plainclothes and an unmarked car to help defuse tension.

“There are certain things that are a learning curve for law enforcement, but we’re catching up,” Soto said.

The intervention by Soto and the counselor are not done in lieu of arrests. Lott said people who break the law will be punished. But the team could identify people who need treatment and long-term support rather than a trip to jail.

“This pairing allows us not only to respond in a very evidence-based way, but also to provide some preventions so things don’t escalate,” said Allison Farrell, director of emergency services for the S.C. Department of Mental Health. “We don’t want people to end up in jails. We don’t want them to end up in emergency rooms unless that’s where they need to be.” 

It can save on medical expenses, since ambulance trips can cost upwards of $600. 

The state Department of Mental Health has had mobile crisis units in all 46 counties since 2018, but most of those workers don’t travel to scenes with law enforcement.

“We’re meeting people in the community literally where they are, and sometimes it’s their front yard,” said Denise Morgan, director of the Columbia Area Mental Health Center. “We can provide care and evaluate them right in the community.”

Lisa Broderick, who runs an Arizona-based nonprofit focused on improving relations between the public and police, said programs like Richland County’s are a new frontier of law enforcement.

“If you give the police the tools to do a different job, they will do that job,” said Broderick, founder of Police2Peace. 

Another of South Carolina’s biggest law enforcement agencies has placed a newfound emphasis on the interplay between mental health and policing. 

At the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, where more than 90 percent of its 900 deputies have received training to handle situations involving people with mental illness, an almost decade-old collaboration with a local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness has brought innovative approaches to law enforcement, said Capt. Roger Antonio, a department spokesman.

Cruisers in the agency’s therapeutic response team, created in the early 1990s as a way to transport people to area hospitals, are outfitted with DVD players that can help calm children and others caught in stressful situations. Deputies are trained in methods such as active listening, which relies on non-verbal cues, body language and timing to help avoid conflict.

“Every law enforcement officer deals with people in crisis, and they do so every day, and they do so well, but doing something well doesn’t mean that they’re doing the best job they can,” Charleston County Master Deputy Don Frichtl said in an October promotional video highlighting the agency’s work with NAMI. “We’re starting to see that mental health services are key. On every single police car you see ‘serve and protect,’ and how do we get there? We can’t get there by doing what we’ve always been doing.”

The city of Greenville’s police department launched its crisis intervention team in 2010, and 154 of its officers have completed a 40-hour training course to de-escalate potentially volatile situations, according to information on its website.

Creating a response team in the capital region made sense as the nation begins a gradual return to normalcy after more than a year of quarantines, social distancing and isolation that has increased the number of people in need of mental health care.

“Our world has endured a very stressful event. It’s been prolonged. It’s resulted in a lot of isolation, economic stress for families, so really, we won’t know the effect on mental health until we really begin to recover,” said Farrell with the state mental health agency. “I would expect that whatever we’ve seen in the past would underestimate the need going forward.”

Early studies suggest that’s true.

A February Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll found that 41 percent of adults surveyed at the start of the year reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, compared to just 11 percent during the first half of 2019.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said practices being used in the state’s metropolitan areas can be more difficult to implement across rural parts of South Carolina because of budget constraints and geographic isolation, though police agencies like his are doing their best.

“I do hope going forward smaller counties such as mine and others would have what our larger counties have. I think that’s a great thing that Richland County has, but we need that in every county in South Carolina,” said Crenshaw, who is also president of the S.C. Sheriff’s Association governing board.

Last year, his department won a $560,000 federal grant that will bring a state Department of Mental Health clinician into the Oconee County Detention Center to assist with case management and referral services to treatment courts.

Crenshaw’s 115 deputies have all completed 40-hour training courses created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It helped to defuse a situation earlier this month that allowed police to get a man into treatment rather than arrest him, Crenshaw said.

“Years ago, people would end up (in jail) instead of getting the help they needed,” Crenshaw said. “I think our state wants to move in the right direction, but we’ve still got a ways to go.”

Lott also hopes the work of his team will remove the stigma around mental health — an issue close to his heart because his father waged a lifelong battle against depression, which the sheriff never learned about until he was in college.

“My family kind of mirrored what society is when it comes to mental illness, which is you just don’t talk about it and keep it hidden, which I think is a huge mistake,” Lott told The Post and Courier. “My dad was not a criminal.”

Lott said the expected post-pandemic uptick in non-criminal calls will present more challenges than ever before for law enforcement, and he wants his squad of 700 deputies prepared to avoid tragedy.

NAMI estimates 2 million people a year with such conditions are booked into jails, and the population is 16 times more likely to be killed during police encounters, a 2015 Treatment Advocacy Center report found.

“We haven’t had it in Richland County where we’ve responded to someone in a mental crisis and then we’ve ended up having to shoot someone, but we’ve seen it across the United States,” Lott told reporters on Feb. 24.

A 2018 paper by one of the world’s leading law enforcement professional development groups says partnerships like Richland County’s are considered best practice.

“Because it is not possible for officers to diagnose mental illness or understand the degree to which some persons may need professional care in order to avoid violence to themselves or others, use of a trained mental health professional is often a preferred option,” an International Association of Chiefs of Police report states.

Broderick said Lott’s department is “tip of the spear” when it comes to this more empathic policing strategy.

“Introducing mobile mental health crisis response is the next wave of compassionate public safety in this country,” she said. 





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The Everything Guide to Visiting Ports of Call on a Cruise


When it comes to your cruise, the majority of time is spent on the ship, but perhaps nothing is looked forward to as much as visiting ports of call.

Ship in port of call with lighthouse in the distance

These port visits are a chance to get out, stretch your legs, experience a new place, and perhaps hit the beach or take in the sights. And during all of that, you’ll hopefully make some memories and do things you’d never get a chance to do back home.

But before you get off the ship, there’s plenty you will want to know about visiting. From what you need to bring with you into port to what the debarkation process (getting off the ship) is like, to safety, we’ve covered everything you’d want to know.

What Is There to Do in Port?

Every port is unique, offering different things for cruise passengers to do. As well, different regions offer different options. For example, what you do in Cozumel, Mexico isn’t going to be the same as what you’d do in Ketchikan, Alaska.

For trips to the Caribbean (which make up the bulk of cruises from the United States), most things to do revolve around eating, shopping, and the beach. Ports will have lots of restaurants catering to cruise passengers, as well as plenty of shops selling everything from cheap trinkets to fine jewelry.

The cruise line will also offer excursions that you can book that will give you a chance to do things you wouldn’t be able to back home. These trips can range from tequila or chocolate tasting to visiting cultural sights, but most often tend to be beach activities. This includes things like snorkeling tours and beach getaways with catered food and drink.

One nice thing is that cruise excursions offer a wide variety of options and purposely have options that are good for families or people with mobility issues. So if you want to go on an adventure sailing a catamaran or scuba diving, you can. But you can also have an easy driving tour of the port with a meal.

How Long Does the Ship Stay in Port?

For as much as ports are featured when booking your cruise, you spend surprisingly little time in each under most circumstances.

Each ship has a different schedule, but you can expect to normally spend about 8-9 hours in port. Ships normally arrive first things in the morning (7-8 a.m.) and then leave in the late afternoon or early evening (4-6 p.m.). As well, passengers normally aren’t let off right when the ship docks and they also need to be onboard before the ship departs. This limits the time more.

While that stay may seem short, for most people it’s perfectly fine. It offers plenty of time to explore and go have an adventure, while making it back for dinner and evening on the ship.

Some cruise lines are opening up more overnight stays in ports or extended hours that stretch into the evening.

Do You Have to Book an Excursion?

No, not at all. Your time is yours and you can spend it how you want. Shore excursions give you an easy way to go enjoy a port that you might not be familiar with. Booking through the cruise line is normally a little pricey (expect to spend about $100 per person), but offers an amazing amount of convenience. In our experience, we’ve always thought prices were high when booking, but afterward always felt like they were worth the money.

But if you want to save cash, or simply want to take it easy, then you don’t have to book anything. In fact, many people simply go explore ports on their own instead of being part of a bigger tour.

Do You Have to Get Off the Ship in Port?

Empty ship in a port of call

When you are on a cruise, the ship is your home away from home. And just like at home, you don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want. Getting off the ship is optional.

In fact, many people enjoy staying onboard while in port as the ship is much calmer with fewer people. While there aren’t as many crew-led activities, the ship is still open. Meals are still served, and services like the spa, shopping, and more are also open. (The casino will likely be closed, however.)

For some, ports of call can be more fun on the ship than off.

What Is the Debarkation Process Like?

You might think that getting off the ship is as simple as just walking off when you’re ready. It’s slightly more complicated than that.

First, once the ship docks expect it to take about 30 minutes for the ship to be cleared by the authorities to let passengers off. At that point there will be an announcement that you are free to go ashore.

At this time you’ll head down to the gangway deck. Early in the day there will likely be a line to leave the ship. As you leave the security staff will scan your keycard, which lets them know you are off the vessel.

Tender into port from cruise ship

If the ship is anchored offshore (some ports are too shallow or don’t have the facilities to dock large ships), then you will be tendered to shore. The tender is a smaller boat that carries dozens of passengers at once into the port of call.

If your ship is docked at a pier, you then simply walk off the ship and head into shore. It can be a long way from the pier to land, and there are often shuttles for those with mobility issues.

What’s the Embarkation Process Like?

Ready to get back on the ship? You can head back anytime. When you leave the ship, the staff will let you know if you need your keycard and ID to get back on or just your keycard. These days it’s a good idea just to bring both items with you as more ports seems to be requiring them to return to the ship.

When you’re ready to go back, there is often a checkpoint on land where you’ll show your ship keycard and/or ID. This is to ensure only passengers are heading back to the ship. Show the security officer your card, and you’ll then be able to access the pier to get back. (Note: Some ports have started a security screening on land as well, with metal detectors and x-ray machines.)

Once at the ship, you’ll head through a security checkpoint with a metal detector and an x-ray for your belongings. If you bring any alcohol back on the ship with you, it will be taken and held in storage until the end of the cruise and then returned. Your keycard will also be scanned.

After being cleared, you are free to enjoy the ship, head back to the room, or anything else you’d like to do.

Are Ports of Call Safe?

In general tourist areas of the Caribbean and Bahamas (the most visited destinations for American cruise passengers) can be considered safe. These spots cater to cruise passengers, which means making them comfortable. Crimes against cruise passengers are simply bad for business.

In fact, many ports now have built up areas right around the pier that feature lots of shops, restaurants, and more for passengers to enjoy, along with limited access from the general public. Apart from vendors, these areas are nothing but other cruise passengers.

That said, except for the case of private islands, ports of call aren’t an extension of the ship. So we suggest not letting your guard down. Feel free to enjoy yourself, but don’t flash fancy jewelry or cash or otherwise make yourself a target for crime.

The vast majority of people will have no issues regarding crime in ports, but it can happen.

What Should I Bring Into Port?

Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel

When you go into port, it’s important that you pack everything you’ll need for the day. After all, getting from the ship to the actual port can be about 5-10 minutes between getting your card scanned and walking down the pier to land. If you forget something, that means it’s a 10-20 minute round trip at a minimum. Instead, it’s a good idea to pack what you need.

We have a full list of suggestions here, but a few of the more important items include:

Your Keycard & ID: You don’t have to worry about forgetting your keycard. You have to have it in your hand to get off the ship. Still, it is a must as you won’t be able to get back on the ship without it. As well, it’s a good idea to bring some ID. It doesn’t have to be a passport, but many ports require some sort of photo ID (like a license) before letting you get back to the pier to board the ship.

Walking Shoes: Sandals or flip-flops are a good idea for hitting the beach, but many people do a surprising amount of walking in port. For instance, the pier alone can be 1,000 feet long, and that’s just to get into port. We suggest wearing some comfy walking shoes as you head in and bringing a pair of flip-flips with you for once you are on the beach.

Cash: On the ship everything is paid for with your room keycard. It is extremely convenient, but it doesn’t work for spending in ports of call. There, you can use a credit card, but it’s a good idea to bring some cash for the day.

For more things to bring in port, see our article here.

Do I Need to Know Another Language in Port?

No, you don’t have to know Spanish in ports in the Caribbean. While many ports have Spanish as the local language, English is widely spoken in all ports of call. Even if you don’t know “hola” from “adios,” you will be just fine.

Do I Need to Exchange Money in Port?

Having to change currency multiple times as ships head from port to port would be a major hassle. Luckily, ports of call in North America all widely accept U.S. dollars. There’s no need to change over money, but you should know that if you pay in dollars you might get change back in a different currency.

You can also use your credit card in many locations, just as you would back home.

What If I am Late Getting Back to the Ship From Port?

Thinking you might be late to go back to the cruise ship? The “all aboard” times are not suggestions. While the ship doesn’t leave the dock right when everyone is supposed to have been aboard, there is a limited window for you to make it back. Our suggestion is to plan to be back on the ship one hour before the all aboard time that’s given. That gives you some wiggle room in case something comes up.

And yes, cruise ships will leave even if you aren’t back aboard. It’s not something you want to happen to you.

Will My Phone Work in Port?

In the middle of the ocean, there is cell service, but it is expensive to access. In port your phone will work, but keep in mind that you will be accessing via international towers, which can be pricey.

The good news is that these days cell plans often include some international access, especially for Mexico. That means some people can use their phone just like they can back home. As well, cell companies sell cruise ship and/or international plans if they don’t give you access already. For a small fee you can use your phone while in port without seeing huge charges. That gives you a chance to call home or check email without spending a fortune.

If you aren’t sure what your plan allows, contact them to see how they can help. International plans for cruise travel are typically affordable.

Is There Wi-Fi in Port?

Cruise ships offer wi-fi access even in the middle of the ocean, but it can be expensive — $20-30 per day in many cases.

If you can, wait until you get into port. Sometimes there are stores or restaurants in the port area that offer customers wi-fi for free. This gives you a chance to hop on and check email without having to pay a fortune like you would on the ship.

Keep in mind this isn’t the case for every port, so it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be able to get online. Even so, given the cost of access while on the ship, it can be worth taking the chance.

What’s the Difference Between Private Islands and Normal Ports of Call?

Entrance to Thrill Waterpark

Many cruise lines have moved to offering stops at their own private islands, such as Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay.

The islands are exactly what they sound like. They are for the private use of cruise line passengers. So when you get off the ship, everyone else there with you will be a passenger from your ship. Private islands cater to those visiting from the ship, typically offering easy access to beaches, drinks, food, and lots of activities and excursions. In short, they are a paradise created for cruisers and largely an extension of the ship. In fact, drink packages and wi-fi bought on the ship often work on private islands as well.

Typical ports of call also cater to cruise passengers, but they are independent of the cruise line. They are a jumping off point to go explore the area, and offer things you can’t get on private islands like cultural activities and an experience that’s not perfectly curated by the cruise line. While still touristy, they are more authentic than you’d get on a private island.

Think of the differences as similar to visiting Miami on vacation versus visiting Disney World. Both can offer a great time, but a very different atmosphere and experience.

What Else Should I Know About Visiting Port?

We highly recommend doing at least one excursion when visiting a port of call during your cruise. They can be pricey, but offer the ability to do things you simply can’t do back home and will make lifetime memories.

If your cruise is stopping at a private island and then one or two regular ports of call, we suggest scheduling the excursion for one of the regular ports of call. Private islands typically have easy-to-access beaches and things to do without much fuss. Ports of call can be trickier to get to things to do without paying a fee, so it makes sense to pay for the excursion in these places.

Another tip is that ports of call are great if you forgot something at home. Didn’t remember deodorant? Or maybe you packed a toothbrush, but no toothpaste? Or you want some ibuprofen for a headache or more sunscreen?

To be sure, all of these items are available on the ship. Cruise ships have small shops selling sundries that you might need. The only issue is that they are expensive. For instance, we’ve seen a bottle of cold medicine for more than $17.

Instead, most ports have a small shop or pharmacy that sells anything you might need at more reasonable prices.

Have more questions about visiting ports? Let us know in the comments below.

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Denver gets later last call, increased restaurant capacity as Colorado further loosens COVID-19 restrictions – The Denver Post


Colorado’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 6,000 on Monday as hospitalizations continue to slowly trend downward and the state further relaxed public health restrictions, allowing for additional restaurant capacity and a later last call in some areas.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 362 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. That’s a little less than one-fifth of the number who were hospitalized on the peak day of the last surge, in early December, though the number has fallen more slowly in recent weeks.

Deaths due to COVID-19 in Colorado reached 6,022 on Monday, according to state data.

New deaths have dropped to about 40 per week in the second half of February, from a high of 478 in the week ending Dec. 6. Hopefully that trend will continue as more-vulnerable people are vaccinated, said Beth Carlton, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health.

Monday evening, the state health department announced it had further loosened the COVID-19 restrictions governed by its color-coded dial framework, moving last call for alcohol later, allowing restaurants to host more people and making it harder to move counties to more restrictive levels.

For Denver, which is at Level Yellow, that means diners now can order drinks until 1 a.m. rather than be cut off at 11 p.m., and restaurants and concerts can seat up to 150 people. Restaurants in Denver with the state’s 5-Star certification can operate at Level Blue, which now means a 2 a.m. last call and up to 225 diners.

The changes include:

  • Restaurants and seated indoor events, including casinos, can expand capacity to 150 people at Level Yellow and 225 people at Level Blue
  • Last call for alcohol at restaurants moves back to 2 a.m. at Level Blue, 1 a.m. at Level Yellow, midnight at Level Orange and 10 p.m. at Level Red
  • Restaurants with 5 Star certification in Level Blue counties may expand capacity limits by 50 people above the Level Blue caps
  • Performers at events who wear masks must be at least 12 feet away from spectators, while performers who don’t wear masks must be at least 25 feet away from spectators.
  • School kids can take masks off in the classroom to play a musical instrument that cannot otherwise be played while wearing a facial covering, but students must physically distance

The state reported 6,426 new coronavirus infections last week, suggesting the increase in cases at the end of February was more a bump than a trend. Overall, it appears cases have essentially plateaued, Carlton said.

“There’s a lot of good news in this data,” she said. “I think that the plateau in cases is cause for attention.”

The next challenge will be spring break, since people from areas with greater spread may travel to Colorado to ski, Carlton said. It may be difficult to tell if they brought the virus by looking at the statewide data, though, since states take their breaks at different times.

It’s still not clear what effect new variants of the virus are having in Colorado. The state has reported 190 cases stemming from “variants of concern,” meaning those that have worrisome properties like spreading more easily. The vast majority are from the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first found in the United Kingdom and is believed to be more contagious and more severe.



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Aviation leaders call for further support in Budget | News


Northern airport bosses have joined forces to call on government to back their struggling sector in its Budget this week, while developing a manageable, realistic and cost-effective system that would enable travel to restart in mid-May.

Leaders of gateways in all parts of the north of England have written to prime minister, Boris Johnson, urging him to recognise the importance of aviation to his “levelling-up Britain” ambitions.

Aviation leaders are seeking the direct financial support they argue is needed to protect the industry until it is able to fully re-open.

The letter has been signed by leaders from Manchester Airport, Carlisle Lake District Airport, Leeds Bradford Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Newcastle International Airport.

Collectively, the airports handled nearly 50 million passengers in 2019, supported more than 200,000 jobs and generated around £14 billion for the economy of the north of England.

With passenger levels having plummeted to just five per cent of usual volumes and with tens of thousands of travel sector jobs already lost across the north, they say government needs to set out how it will offer support to the sector while travel remains prohibited.

Although welcoming the review of international travel measures in the recovery plan last week, the bosses are warning it means it will be at least several months before airports start seeing any meaningful passenger demand, with international travel the only sector subject to further review as part of the plan.

Karen Smart, managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “It is nearly one year since a dark cloud appeared over the aviation sector, as Covid-19 ground international travel to a halt.

“It is clear for all to see the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on our sector, with tens of thousands of jobs lost already.

“While this week’s recovery plan from the prime minister includes a welcome target for the reopening of our industry, there is still much uncertainty over what this will mean in practice and it could still be many months before our airports begin welcoming passengers back through their doors.

“With airports across the North still facing uncertainty and difficult decisions over the coming months, it is absolutely critical that the chancellor recognises the unique impact the pandemic continues to have on aviation when setting out his Budget next week.”

Options the government could consider include relief from fixed costs, a sector-specific extension of the furlough scheme or a reduction in the taxes levied on passengers, the airports argued.





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Avs Off-day Notebook – and why I had to call 911 today


LOS ANGELES – I’ve had better starts to days than the one today, Day 5 of a seven-day Avs road trip. Out of a sound sleep at about 8:15 a.m. in my hotel here, an inexpensive hotel where the doors open to the outside, a knock at the door. I wake up quickly over things like that, so pretty fast I said loudly “Hello?” No answer.

I get up to look through the peephole and see three people standing there. They look young, with coats on, masks on. Of course, everybody wears masks now today so…

I say “Hello?” again. No answer. I’m already thinking the worst now. Then, a loud knock on the door with what was some kind of hard, blunt instrument. Was it a baseball bat? A billy club? Some brass knuckles? Guess I’ll never know. By that point, I grabbed my phone and dialed 911. As I’m talking to the 911 operator, I still see the three people outside. Looked like two guys and one female. They seemed young, but that’s about the best I could tell. The guy standing closest to the door started talking on a phone of his own.

A few seconds later – maybe 20-30 – they were gone. About 10 minutes later, cops were at my door, looking around for the people I described. That’s the last I know/knew of anything. I checked out, and went for a drive for a couple hours, to the downtown LA area, and around Sunset Boulevard.

Hey, when I thanked all of you who contributed to the Avs Travel Tip Jar for this trip, I meant it. I promised to stay in low-cost digs, not to waste money needlessly. But, yeah, one pledge moving forward: No more hotels where the door opens to the outside, where anyone at all can stand right outside it and beat on it with hard objects and not answer you when you call out to them. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous for a few seconds there.

The drive around LA was fun though. I even checked something off my bucket list in that time, stopping to snap a couple pictures of the Brady Bunch House, which was completely renovated by the HGTV channel last year to exactly match the house from the TV show – of which I was/am a major fan.

OK, on to some Avs off-day notes:

  • I expect Philipp Grubauer to start Sunday’s game against the Ducks, though that isn’t official. The team had the day off from all hockey activities, so not much information from team headquarters about anything. Jared Bednar has now had his hand forced a bit with the injury to Pavel Francouz. He probably would have played Francouz in two of the Avs’ six games by now, but he’s not available tomorrow and going with Hunter Miska probably just isn’t in the cards. Everything is magnified in this shortened season. Every win and loss counts nearly one-third more than it would have in an 82-game season. Coming home 3-3-0 isn’t going to look and feel so good to Bednar, if he loses a game with the inexperienced Miska in net again. I have no doubt that Grubauer doesn’t mind the extra work. I mean, it’s not like he and any other hockey player have been overworked in these last 10 months.
  • We’ll see if Andre Burakovsky can play tomorrow, but it doesn’t sound like it. The Avs almost always want players to have a full practice before they get back into the lineup, and there was no practice Saturday.
  • If Bo Byram keeps playing like he did Friday night, someone who has been used to being in the top six for the past year or so is going to have to sit. Could that be Ryan Graves? I don’t know. But I do know that Graves is off to a slow start, and the Avs have already traded one veteran to help make room for Byram.
  • Anaheim has won its last six games following an overtime game. Something for you bettors to keep in mind.
  • It was reported elsewhere that the Avs kicked the tires with Columbus on what they might have wanted for Pierre Luc-Dubois, who was traded Saturday in a deal that sent Patrik Laine to the Blue Jackets. But if the Avs did at all, I believe it was a very brief conversation. The Avs fully expect Alex Newhook to at least contend for a second-line center spot starting next season.
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Middlewich councillors fighting to save tip call for ANPR cameras


COUNCILLORS who are fighting to keep Middlewich’s tip open believe that doing more to stop Northwich residents from using it could help their cause.

Cheshire East Council is considering plans to close the household waste recycling centre, in Croxton Lane, in 2023 when its current contract ends.

Residents have already responded to a consultation on the matter and now Middlewich Town Council is vowing to keep up the pressure to save the site.

 

A key issue for the recycling centre is its proximity to Cheshire West, with Cllr Parry telling Monday’s meeting that CEC is paying a ‘significant amount of money’ to get rid of waste from other mid Cheshire residents.

He suggested number plate recognition cameras could be used to stop this from happening.

Cllr Mike Hunter, chairman of Middlewich Town Council, pointed out that this was a major issue during the first lockdown due to restrictions at Northwich’s tip.

He said: “Northwich residents were only allowed to visit the tip once, so they were taking one lot of rubbish to Northwich and then the next trip they would be coming to Middlewich.

“It stopped eventually because we were taking names and addresses, but it placed a lot of pressure on the recycling centre.

“Anybody that was waiting to get in would notice because cars were coming from the Northwich area and indicating right to get into the tip – before realising they had to go round and get to the back of the queue.”

If the tip in Middlewich is closed, the town’s residents would have to travel to Crewe.

Cllr Gareth Williams said: “We have made a really good start, a really good case to keep our tip.

“We want to really keep up the pressure, ramp up the pressure on [CEC].”





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