Q&A: America’s new COVID-19 rules for international travel


President Joe Biden waves as he walks towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to New York ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Joe Biden waves as he walks towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to New York ahead of a United Nations General Assembly meeting. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

AP

The Biden administration is rolling out new international travel policies affecting Americans and noncitizens alike who want to fly into the U.S. The goal is to restore more normal air travel after 18 months of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The across-the-board rules, which will take effect in November, will replace a hodgepodge of confusioning restrictions. Some details of the plan announced Monday are being worked out, but here are some questions and answers about what to expect:

WHAT IS THE NEW POLICY IN A NUTSHELL?

All adult foreign nationals traveling to the U.S. will be required to be fully vaccinated before boarding their flight. This is in addition to the current requirement that travelers show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.

Once the vaccination requirement is put in place, the White House will ease all the country-specific restrictions on international travel that have prevented noncitizens who have been in the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil or South Africa in the prior 14 days from entering the U.S.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT AMERICANS?

Fully vaccinated Americans will only need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to the U.S.

WHAT ABOUT UNVACCINATED AMERICANS?

U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are not fully vaccinated will still be able to fly to the U.S., but they will see tougher testing and contact tracing protocols. They will need to be tested within 24 hours of boarding a flight to the U.S., as well as undergo testing upon return to the country. It remains to be seen, though, how the federal government will enforce the testing requirement upon return.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT CHILDREN?

The new U.S. policy only requires adult foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the U.S. The White House did not immediately say whether unvaccinated children will face different testing protocols when flying into the country.

WHICH VACCINES ARE ACCEPTABLE?

The CDC says the U.S. will accept full vaccination of travelers with any COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization, including those from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson used in the U.S. Other vaccines are also approved by the WHO and used widely around the world, including from AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac, with varying degrees of effectiveness against COVID-19 and its more transmissible delta variant. The WHO is reviewing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine but hasn’t approved it.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT AIR FARES?

Adit Damodaran, economist for the travel-research firm Hopper, predicted that growing demand is likely to cause higher airfares on flights from Europe, although the rush to book flights could be slowed by the delta variant and high COVID-19 rates in the U.S. If fares rise, it would mark a turnaround in prices since the start of the pandemic.

WILL AIRLINES COLLECT DATA ON PASSENGERS?

The CDC will require airlines to collect information about passengers and provide it to the health agency if it needs to conduct contact tracing. The airlines had resisted a similar change last year, when it was proposed by the CDC and eventually blocked by the Trump administration.

WHAT ABOUT TRAVEL OVER LAND BORDERS?

The administration’s restrictions on crossing land borders from Mexico and Canada into the U.S. are to remain unchanged for now. That means that in some cases fully vaccinated people from the two American neighbors will soon be able fly to the U.S., but may not be able to make the same journey by car.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?

Analysts and industry officials think it will help. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said lifting the current restrictions on international travelers will contribute to a durable recovery for the U.S. economy. Before Monday, the U.S. was on pace to lose $175 billion in export income from international visitors this year, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

HOW HAVE THE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECTED INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL?

They have made it easier for Americans to visit Europe than the other way around. U.S. international travel in August was down 54% compared with two years ago, and arrivals by non-U.S. citizens were off 74%, according to Airlines for America.

HOW WILL THE CHANGES AFFECT BUSINESS TRAVEL?

There is pent-up demand among business travelers from Europe. Foreign executives who have been vaccinated will no longer have to prove that their travel to the United States serves the U.S. “national interest″ — a time-consuming process.





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Q&A: Everything US travelers need to know about EU restrictions


(CNN) — It was too good to last.

While summer saw much of Europe open up to American visitors, offering them the chance to fulfill lockdown dreams of eating gelato in Italy or touring the art museums of Paris, the season’s end has brought with it new restrictions, and the doors to the continent begin to close.

The news has prompted various European countries to update travel restrictions for Americans, while some have prohibited entry to US travelers completely.

Unsurprisingly, the changes have prompted widespread confusion, particularly for those planning to travel to Europe in the coming months.

Here’s a look at the tightened rules and what they mean for American travelers.

Can Americans still travel to Europe?

More countries may soon restrict access to Americans.

More countries may soon restrict access to Americans.

Clara Margais/Picture Alliance/Getty Images

Yes, they can. Only a small number of countries have so far restricted all nonessential arrivals from the United States. Since the EU advice was issued, Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden are the only ones to restrict all access.

However, while at least one destination — Greece — has ruled out imposing new curbs on travel in the near future, it’s safe to say that Americans, particularly those who are unvaccinated, are likely to face more restrictions in the days and weeks to come.

What are the new EU rules?

Its advice is non-binding, however. There’s no pressure for countries to adopt this measure and they’re free to ignore it if they choose.

That means there’s no blanket rule covering the continent. Instead each destination country is at liberty to adopt or ignore the advice according to their own preferences.

Given how valued US visitors are to Europe’s tourism economies, it’s likely that any decision to restrict their arrival will be taken with considerable reluctance.

What do the EU rules mean for Americans traveling to Europe?

A lot more red tape, uncertainty and research, that’s for sure.

Ultimately it means that traveling to European countries is likely to become harder for Americans in the weeks ahead, although not necessarily impossible.

As the rules change, it’s up to individual travelers to check their eligibility to travel. Although airlines may also do checks before departure, they won’t need to in order to sell tickets.

It’s worth checking CNN Travel’s Unlocking the World guides for up to date info where relevant or the US embassy in the country of destination. And then keep checking as the rules can change with just a couple of days’ notice.

Some countries may keep their doors open, but tweak requirements such as pre-departure Covid tests, quarantine arrangements or proof of vaccination.

Which countries can Americans visit in Europe?

Croatia is still open to Americans.

Croatia is still open to Americans.

DENIS LOVROVIC/AFP via Getty Image

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain are currently all open to fully vaccinated Americans.

The restrictions in place vary from country to country. Many destinations require travelers to submit a negative Covid test on arrival, while some have both testing and quarantine measures in place for vaccinated visitors.

France currently has no travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans, but a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival is required before they can enter Italy. A mandatory 10-day quarantine is set for fully vaccinated US travelers visiting the Netherlands, while those entering Germany must provide a negative Covid test result before being permitted to enter.

Fully vaccinated Americans are allowed to visit the United Kingdom, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

However different testing and/or quarantine measures have been implemented in each country.

Is travel to Europe safe?

No travel during the pandemic is entirely Covid-risk free, even for vaccinated travelers, and the best way to stay safe is to remain at home and minimize exposure to the virus.

That said, if safety protocols like mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing are adhered to, there’s no reason why travelers can’t have a safe trip to Europe. Statistically, most western European countries have lower Covid rates than the United States.

There are still Covid hotspots — Montenegro recently experienced a major spike in cases — so it’s worth checking US Embassy travel advice at the destination. Again, it’s a matter of research.

Are more countries going to close their borders?

It’s not entirely clear. Since several European countries have introduced new restrictions for US travelers based on the EU’s advice, it’s possible that others will follow suit in the coming weeks.

The restrictions have come about because of the spread of Covid’s Delta variant in the United States, with cases reaching their highest numbers in many months throughout July and August. As numbers remain high in September, and colder months expected to fuel the disease’s spread, more restrictions seem likely.

What should I do if I’ve booked a trip to Europe?

If you’ve booked travel to a country that remains open to Americans, you shouldn’t encounter any problems provided you follow all of the recommended advice.

But if the rules have changed since you booked, many hotels and airlines recognize the problems with Covid and restrictions and may offer refunds if you’ve booked directly. It’s worth asking.

As with all travel during the pandemic, there is however a risk that you may wind up out of pocket.

Luis Araujo, President of the European Travel Commission, a nonprofit that promotes tourism in the continent, stresses that US travelers are still a huge priority for Europe despite the rule changes.

“American travelers are crucially important for Europe, and most European destinations are still open to US visitors and eager to welcome them back to our shores,” Araujo tells CNN Travel in a statement.

“That said, we must accept that we are still living through the reality of this ongoing pandemic and will experience some setbacks on our way to recovery.

“Travelers from the US still have to be conscious of health measures and respect rules at their destination.”

Should I book any future travel to Europe?

As mentioned above, with any travel plans in the current pandemic, there are risks they may have to be changed or canceled. If you’re looking for an escape entirely free of bureaucratic hassle, uncertainty and stress, then perhaps the answer is a straightforward no.

But Araujo insists US citizens should “continue planning their trips to Europe,” while keeping “an eye on all the latest travel rules and cancellation policies.”

He adds: “Travelers are best advised to check the Reopen EU website and the websites of national tourism offices, which contain all information and safety requirements that are being regularly updated, including information on testing, passenger locator forms, as well as any other health measures in place.

“With current vaccination rates and safety protocols in place, safe international travel is absolutely possible, with this summer season proving that.”

Which European countries have banned unvaccinated US travelers?

The Netherlands now requires vaccinated Americans to quarantine.

The Netherlands now requires vaccinated Americans to quarantine.

Ramon Van Flymen/ANP/AFP/Getty Images

Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, and Spain have all banned nonessential unvaccinated US travelers. Meanwhile, all nonessential American travelers are prohibited from visiting Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden, regardless of their vaccination status.

Which vaccinations are accepted in Europe?

To be considered as a fully vaccinated visitor, travelers must have been administered with a complete dose of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen — two weeks before their trip.

Can I travel to Europe with unvaccinated kids?

The new rules will not impact children who are too young to be vaccinated. Those under 12 can travel with vaccinated adults to European countries where US travelers are permitted to enter. But while under 12s are exempt from all restrictions in some countries, others require a negative Covid test.

Those aged between 12 and 18 are subject to the same rules and restrictions as adult travelers. Again, it’s worth double-checking for each destination in case variations on these guidelines are introduced.



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A Q&A with the Two-Wheeled Wanderer: Welcome Home, Ted! | Medicine


It’s not every day you can come face to face with one of your real-life heroes.

That’s what happened when Ted Kunz, aka the returned Two-Wheeled Wanderer, was feted by some of his true-blue fans at a welcome home reception on May 1. It was spearheaded by two of Kunz’s most ardent followers and readers of his adventures that had appeared monthly for two years in Idaho Press. Jim and Vicki Asbury opened their home and Kunz accepted the gracious gesture on the stipulation that all the donors who chipped in on the Castlewood Laboratory in Livingstone, Zambia be on the guest list, turning it into a combination homecoming and thank-you event. The Asburys were also major donors of the project.

Mayor Robert Simison of Meridian stopped in to warmly welcome Ted back home. Gov. Brad Little sent a letter of appreciation, as did the first lady, Teresa Little. In a hand-written note, she applauded his column, saying it “certainly expanded the horizons of readers. What a gift to live vicariously through your experiences, especially during the time of the coronavirus.” And “what a blessing it was for the students and school in Zambia that you would pivot, along with your readers, to raise a great deal of money to build a science lab. Science is leading us out of this pandemic so your work was most appropriate.”

The reception lasted for several hours as Kunz happily answered questions from the crowd of around 65, gathered with permission from Central District Health. The party was whooshed indoors by a late afternoon gusty thunderstorm and guests dutifully donned face masks and socially distanced inside.

All were in thrall of Kunz’s storytelling. At one point, near the end of the Q&A session, Kunz was detailing the construction of the science lab — “it was the pinnacle of a miracle” — and ruminating on the journey overall. “Everyone in the world is just like us,” he said. “We’re all on this big rock and we’re all alike more than you’d ever imagine.” An attendee shouted: “You’re my hero, Ted!”

The final question of the day came from Jim Asbury, who asked “Who do you want to play you in the movie version of the Two-Wheeled Wanderer?” Laughing, but not skipping a beat, Kunz came back with: “Brad Pitt, of course.”

Here are some of the questions and answers from that event, as well as others sent in by readers.

Did you have your journey mapped out beforehand, for either going to the tip of South America, or when you were traveling up through South Africa and beyond?

During the years spanning 2010-12, I went off on my first big hiatus, which I thought at the time was the greatest adventure of my life. I traveled close to 40,000 miles, mostly alone, from Canada to Cape Horn (the bottom of the Americas), and back again to Idaho.

On that journey, I was on a truly original route, no real plan, following the spine of the extended mountain range that is the Rockies in North America to Panama. Then, I transitioned to the Andes, the world’s longest and second highest mountain range, for a winding route through South America to Patagonia. Then, back again on another unique route through those same mountains.

In 2019, this time as the “Two-Wheeled Wanderer,” I went in search of new discoveries in the Americas, beginning with original and challenging routes all the way from the USA to Colombia. Once there, with Venezuela closed, I arranged for a cargo plane to drop me into an inaccessible part of the Amazon forest, a truly roadless wilderness, accessible only by air or boat. After hopping off the plane, I hopped onto a riverboat for 1,000 downriver miles on the mighty Amazon.

Once back on land, I started riding on a road again, through northern Amazonia, up to the Guyanas, then the long drop south through the heartland of Brazil. All of this terrain was new to me. I mostly made it up as I went along.

After a month of new scenery in Argentina and Uruguay, I transitioned across the South Atlantic to Africa. This time, northbound on a bicycle. Knowing next to nothing about Africa, I simply researched the routes of some minor-league adventurers who preceded me. From that, I plotted the easiest path from Cape Town to Cairo, or about 7,500 miles, but aiming only for the most politically stable countries. Everything was working until the pandemic hit, of course.

Do you have any personal rules you follow as you travel in unfamiliar country, “Ted’s Rules of the Road” such as “I never go out at night” or “I always stop riding by 4 p.m.” or things like that? And if so, can you share them?

Mostly I am concerned about the risk of traffic accidents. Whether on a bicycle or motorcycle, I never ride at night. On the motorcycle, I appreciate going slow, because it’s safer but also because it is more pleasurable when traveling with no real timetable.

When I would camp in the Americas, I would be well hidden in the bush. When I camped in Africa, which was less often, I made certain the animal risks were extremely remote in that particular region.

Lastly, I rarely stay out late. Dumb stuff seems to happen well after dark no matter where we live. I recommend avoiding all of it. Nothing like a good night’s rest.

Most of all, my “rule” is be affable in social situations, but always with the right mix of confidence. This is highly effective. Getting there takes practice.

What three things did you learn about yourself and others while on your journeys?

About others, I learned how similar we homo sapiens are when our provincial customs like language, religion, and politics are stripped away. Naked, it’s easier to see us in all our glory and all our frailties, a lucky bunch of bipedal hominids sharing a tiny rock in an incomprehensibly vast and probably entirely uninhabitable universe.

About me, I learned to just see myself humbly as a talking monkey with OK social skills, hobbled occasionally by fits of toxic impatience.

I see myself and others together as one awesome scientific accident, bound by a life force I could only call “infinite love.”

If only we all could see it this way. Nobody is getting out of here alive. I believe it’s better to make the best of the life that will remain after we’re gone rather than being obsessed with the present and an imagined afterlife.

Did you keep a separate diary or journal?

I did keep a separate journal. I could only fit so much into the space of those monthly dispatches. I keep a third journal in my head, too. That one reads less like Ernest Hemingway and more like Henry Miller. (Laughs.)

Did people wear masks, were they aware of COVID-19 in Africa?

Yes, Africans wear their masks. It depends a bit on what region and which country. Tanzania for example had very few mask wearers. Their President told everyone on his daily scream that “GOD PROTECTS TANZANIA. THE VIRUS IS NOT HERE.” His government even stopped reporting all COVID statistics in April 2020.

For a long time COVID didn’t seem to be a big problem in Tanzania, or in central Africa for that matter. Then it took hold. In March 2021, Tanzanian President Magafuli died after a two-week disappearance. Many think it was COVID. Officially, it was a heart issue. I count myself among the suspicious.

Since Magafuli’s passing, I read that Tanzania has adopted all the customary COVID deterrence protocols, including masks and strict border restrictions.

Other than that bizarre story, the African leadership that I saw on television, that being Zambia and Kenyan mostly, were responsible and set good examples. Most people followed. Especially more so in the bigger cities. In the countryside, understandably less so, but still people mostly take the pandemic seriously.

There are many theories as to why central Africa hasn’t seen too much of the bad news. One is their population demographics are highly skewed to the young. Few old people because life expectancy is, quite sadly, not high. Another is there is far less obesity in Africa, generally. People are active by structure and they eat more natural foods. Another is the fact that most people don’t move around much, there are few cars, less mobility. Another is that there are so few sealed buildings with conditioned air. As a result, Africans are almost always outside even when they’re inside.

Another theory is that they are dying in villages but the deaths are unreported.

The last theory … the disease is just not there yet. I departed Kenya when it was barely registering. Now, it’s accelerating. The US State Department just issued its strongest DO NOT TRAVEL on Kenya.

Did you see many women out there who were traveling?

Yes, met traveling women everywhere in the Americas and less so in Africa, but that is probably pandemic-related. I remember meeting an Austrian woman who’d been roughing it alone in Brazil for months. There were too many examples of confident women traveling freely in the rougher parts of the Americas to list. Mostly European women.

In Africa, pre-pandemic, I met a team of independent women doctors working in the bush of north Namibia. I met a Muslim woman traveling alone on a motorcycle around east Africa. Later, I met several German women living and working freely in Kenya.

Did you ever fear for your life or feel in a potentially dangerous situation — aside from possible infections and diseases including COVID-19? From people or wild animals? 

Americans in particular seem conditioned for fear and drama. Too many movies; too much news; too many possessions.

We may not perceive it, but we are a product of the ideology in which we unwittingly live. Old joke: Two fish are swimming along. Another swims by and says, “How’s the water today, boys?” The two fish look at each other, baffled, and one says, “What in the heck is water?!?”

But seriously, I never once felt afraid. Mildly unwelcome maybe for a moment, maybe twice in two years. That’s in large part because I’ve been getting out of our big lake for a long time now. I see our lake for what fills it, with the benefit of time and distance.

There was a time in Zambia when I encountered a family of five elephants crossing the road. In search of a better photo, I got a tad too close. The daddy made that clear, on terms as polite as a potentially raging elephant can offer. That got my attention. No hard feelings. He was just doing his job.

About eating — was the most delicious dish, the most terrible? The most surprising?

Most delicious: Really everywhere, but especially almost anywhere in Mexico. Oaxaca state, famous for its brilliant gastronomy, is a delight.

Most terrible: An American fast food joint in Mexico. Nothing wrong with it, the burger tasted exactly the same as it does here. Engineered food was just more of a shock after weeks of truly natural eating. I haven’t made that mistake since.

Most surprising: Kenyan regional cuisine served in a modest roadside shack. Tribes there are not only creative in their vegetable dishes, they’re natural entrepreneurs and restaurateurs.

Did you ever feel out of your element — and if so, can you describe what you did to remedy that?

I’m almost always out of my element. I’ve been reaching for anything out of my comfort zone since graduating from Meridian High in 1992. Maybe that’s why I love traveling. I relish a constantly steep learning curve.

How important was having a sense of humor while on the road? 

Well almost everything is hilarious if we’re observing it right. In two years of travel, just too many to list. We’d all be better off if we looked at ourselves and others with more humor and humility.

What positive or negative experience (or one of each) are so lucid and clear in your mind that 20 years from now they will come back in recall like they were yesterday?

There really were no negative experiences. Every human treated me well. Plus, maybe miraculously, I was free of accidents and illness.

As for positive experiences, one I am sure I’ll remember in 20 years is the school science laboratory that we all built in Zambia. That 3,300-square-foot building will last a century. It will produce a huge number of productive humans over its life. Those graduates will in turn pay it forward. The ripples will go forever perpetually. Now that’s a legacy for all of us.

Now that you are home, in what way(s) will you be changed as you go forward with everyday life?

Tough one. It’s hard to fully detect how oneself changes slowly over time. Everything I see here in the USA seems ridiculous sometimes, silly gadgets and machines everywhere, a nursery-like ambiance, luxury leisure classes poisoned by petty, pointless politics. Now I see it all with fresh eyes once again. Americans are a bit of a cult, but isn’t every society to a small degree? I suppose that’s the nature of culture itself. It’s “cult-ure.”

Your future: What now? What’s your dream?

Now THAT is the question! Really, nowadays it feels like anything is possible. A family of my own would be a true adventure and I’m certainly open. Barring that (or perhaps in addition to that), a career in public service would be welcome. A total dream would be hosting my own travel show. Think, Rick Steves gone wild, or perhaps Anthony Bourdain in the backcountry. Just a show about what I do best: “An Obscure Man Out in Obscure Places.”

I truly feel a sense of community since I’ve returned. It’s been a whirlwind of social activities. I’m rather amazed how folks sincerely cared about my well-being out there.

I’m excited about our Two-Wheeled Wanderer book coming out next month. At over 60,000 words, it may very well be the first book ever written by meticulously pecking into a mobile phone. Thanks again to the Idaho Press for all the expert support.



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Sabrina Kershaw Q&A: 3 things Lone Star’s bartender will do post-pandemic


Just before COVID-19 arrived in Massachusetts one year ago, local bartender Sabrina Kershaw was hustling between her four jobs at restaurants and music venues spread across Boston. “What was honestly most memorable was all the different people I got to encounter from day to day, job to job, venue to venue,” she said.

These days, she maintains only one of those jobs working behind the bar at Lone Star Taco Bar with locations in Allston and Cambridge. Despite the disruption to her industry, Kershaw was forced to slow down and discovered new things about herself — like being a good plant mom.

The long-time bartender is joining the Boston.com Cocktail Club on Thursday to mix rye whiskey cocktails with host Jackson Cannon and catch up on the latest in the local drinking scene. Ahead of the class, we spoke with Kershaw on what doesn’t get translated over Zoom, what’s keeping the lights on at Lone Star, and the first three things she’ll do post-pandemic.

How has Lone Star been faring this winter?

It’s been a very interesting winter for us. Our Allston restaurant took over our now-closed sister restaurant Deep Ellum in the summer, and we inherited their patio. It’s been a great resource during a time when some people aren’t comfortable dining inside, but I don’t think anyone thought they would be setting up their patios in the 20-degree weather and serving people outside while it’s snowing. Overall, we have been extremely lucky in that we haven’t had to go into hibernation, we are really relying on takeout in a way that our business has never been used to and taking over our sister space has allowed us to have more tables available for dine-in business in a safe space than we would have previously.

Sabrina Kershaw —Natasha Moustache

Do you think bars and bar culture will change in a post-pandemic Boston?

Post-COVID bar culture is going to be inevitably different. I believe that most of us are hoping that it will eventually go back to the environment we were used to, but I don’t think it’s as easy as flicking a “back to normal” switch. I don’t anticipate bars to be fully back to what they were right away, and I think we will see much more crowd control, but I am hopeful that the camaraderie of the spaces and the people that make those spaces so special will be able to return as soon as we’re able.

It’s been one year since COVID-19 hit Mass. What was work and life like for you just before the pandemic? 

Pre-quarantine I was actually working three jobs, six to seven days a week, sometimes more than one job in a day. I started working shows at Paradise Rock Club and Brighton Music Hall, and I was the hostess for Sunday brunch at Trina’s Starlite Lounge, on top of my Monday through Friday day bar shifts at Lone Star. While I wasn’t planning anything that really changed, I now am back to the one job at Lone Star — which I am eternally grateful for — and although I miss the constant hustle, being forced to slow down, be unemployed for a while, and now have one job to focus on has actually been a really good thing for me.

What do you love about rye whiskey cocktails?

Whiskey was the first spirit I got really passionate about. I was lucky enough to work under Joy Richard at Citizen Public House in 2011, which at the time was working on a whiskey list in the hundreds. I eventually took the assistant bar manager job under her and started to learn so much about every reach of the whiskey family. I also got the opportunity to travel to Kentucky and learn about American Whiskey firsthand when I attended Camp Runamok several times. Bourbon is “America’s Sweetheart” of domestic whiskey, but rye has a very rich history that isn’t talked about as much. I love the complexity that a spicy rye can add to a cocktail, or the way it can change a cocktail that predominantly uses bourbon.

What should people know about you that’s not easily translated over Zoom?

I love talking to people, but I easily get awkward. I am a theater geek in every sense. And my other spirit of choice is tequila.

What’s getting you through the pandemic?

Watching so many of my friends turn this whole year into a new path for themselves has been super inspiring (I’m looking at you, Nicky Bandera; shoutout to Project Paulie!). Finding new things to cook has been really fun, and learning how to just be at home and enjoy my space with myself and my boyfriend. I have learned how to be a good plant mom, and I am shocked by how into that I am.

What are you looking forward to most when we can return to ‘normal’?

There are so many things that I can’t wait to do. To be honest, the top three are hugging my friends, sitting at a bar, and watching my boyfriend get on stage with his band, Baabes Boston, again. I definitely want to travel again soon, but not until I do those three things first.

How can people support you and your colleagues right now?

For people who aren’t comfortable doing dine-in, the best way to support us is definitely by ordering take out. Anyway you choose is appreciated, as it helps us keep the lights on. However, the best way if you aren’t dining in is to order directly from us and pick up your order — that ensures the restaurant isn’t paying fees on the order and also helps tipped employees. We see 0 percent of tips from delivery, and we are very much still relying on tips to make a paycheck. We (and I) appreciate your support in any form. If you would like to send me a virtual tip I am on Venmo @Saboozles (Sabrina Kershaw).


Join our virtual cocktail class:

Join the Boston.com Cocktail Club on Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m. with host Jackson Cannon and special guest, Sabrina Kershaw. This week they’ll be making cocktails with rye whiskey, the star ingredient in the Golden Age of American Cocktails, catching up about the Boston restaurant and bar scene and sharing tips the pros use to make great drinks at home. On deck are the classic Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail and the ever elegant Manhattan.





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