Brian Laundrie update – Bike video latest possible sighting of Gabby Petito’s fiance in Dunnellon as he rem… – The US Sun



Brian Laundrie update – Bike video latest possible sighting of Gabby Petito’s fiance in Dunnellon as he rem…  The US Sun



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Planning some winter sun? Don’t book before reading this simple guide on all the rules | Travel News | Travel









Planning some winter sun? Don’t book before reading this simple guide on all the rules | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix


























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She hung out backstage with Janis Joplin in San Bernardino – San Bernardino Sun


Janis Joplin performed twice at San Bernardino’s Swing Auditorium. One year ago, for the 50th anniversary of the singer’s Oct. 4, 1970 death, I wrote about those two concerts — April 27, 1968, and March 28, 1969 — after putting out a request for readers who’d been to one or the other to contact me.

Six months and 75 columns later, a reader phoned to say she’d just seen my original request for stories and had a good one. Timing is everything, in news as in life, and there wasn’t a good excuse to run a Joplin item in April.

But with the 51st anniversary of Joplin’s death having arrived, I phoned Olivia Harris back. She was as surprised to hear from me six months late as I had been to hear from her six months late.

To set the scene, Harris, then 19 and a Grand Terrace resident, had been to the Swing at least once, to see Godfather of Soul James Brown, before going with her sister-in-law, Susan Vega, to the Joplin concert on March 28, 1969.

Arriving early, they soon saw a local disc jockey who was involved in the concert. He knew the good-looking Vega and, perhaps to impress her, asked the two if they’d like to go backstage. Sure, why not?

They were shown to a lounge, where the singer was nowhere in evidence but eight or so of her friends were seated in a circle on the floor, talking. Harris and Vega joined them and were struck by their friendliness. Then a door opened and Joplin entered.

“We never thought we’d get to meet her,” Harris recalls, still a little awestruck. “All of a sudden, here she is.”

Joplin sat down and passed around a bottle of her favorite liqueur, Southern Comfort. Harris didn’t normally drink but took a sip to be polite.

Opening act Lee Michaels could be heard from the backstage area. “I’m better than that, aren’t I?” Joplin asked her friends, who assured the famously insecure singer that she was. Says Harris: “She needed reinforcement.”

Harris told Joplin she was thinner than she looked in photos. That must have gone over well, because the pair talked at some length — “she was very nice and soft-spoken” — and later walked out to the side of the stage as Michaels performed. The audience couldn’t see Joplin, but they soon heard her.

“She did her scream and everybody laughed,” Harris says. “Lee Michaels was upset. He felt she was getting in the way of his performance.”

Almost unbelievably, Harris and Vega left the Swing before Joplin and her band took the stage.

“We didn’t stick around for the concert,” Harris admits. For the teenaged Joplin fan, the whole experience had been somewhat overwhelming.

“It was such a big thing for me. It was so cool meeting her,” says Harris, now a retired Gas Company employee who lives in Redlands. “She was so much a part of our era.”

She was. And she transcends it too; she’s my favorite female singer. That’s why I was delighted to have a reason to write about her and didn’t want Olivia Harris’ encounter to slip by untold.

At last, my 50th anniversary look back at Janis Joplin’s Inland Empire visits is complete — just in time for the 51st anniversary.

A force in RC

In Rancho Cucamonga, Jackie Amsler was a woman who could make events happen, notably the Grape Harvest Festival and the Founders Day Parade. Moving to the city in 1982, she became the city’s first female Chamber of Commerce president and served as a library trustee.

Amsler died Sept. 25, a few days before her 81st birthday, in Nebraska, where she and husband Don retired.

I knew her because she was marketing director for the Daily Bulletin, my employer, for about 25 years. She loved history, our newspaper and our cities.

Once she schooled me after I’d referred to one outlying city in our zone as being “there”; she said, correctly, that all of the cities we covered were “here.” That embracing attitude has stayed with me.

So has the memory of her gentle persuasion, no doubt a crucial factor in how she made events a success, and the broad smile that creased her face.

65 years

Speaking of strong women, the Chino Valley Soroptimists marked 65 years with an open house on Thursday night. I dropped by. The chapter was established in 1956, once owned its own clubhouse and continues to offer mentorship, sisterhood and scholarships, including to women who want to return to college later in life.

State Sen. Connie Leyva of Chino was there to present a resolution praising the club for its decades of work. “Even my husband says, if you want to get (expletive) done, you ask a woman,” Leyva said. Those salty Soroptimists.



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Canadians appear eager to take off for sun destinations despite ongoing COVID-19 challenges


Michel Dubois has packed his bags, even though his planned trip to Cuba is still more than two months away.

That’s because the retired TV cameraman and editor from Saint-Jérome, Que., is eager for a break from the monotony of pandemic life.

“After a year and a half of sitting in front of my TV and computer, it’s time to move on,” said Dubois, 70, who plans to do some scuba diving and enjoy the sun.

Trips like the one Dubois has booked are giving airlines and tour operators something to look forward to as well — seemingly better business prospects after months of severely hampered operations due to pandemic-related border closures and travel restrictions.

Some key travel players are reporting increased demand for bookings to sun destinations, despite the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic that has yet to end inside or outside Canada’s borders.

Better days ahead?

The onset of the pandemic prompted governments — including Canada’s — to urge people to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus and its variants.

It’s a stance Ottawa still holds, even though the government recently loosened restrictions for incoming travellers who are vaccinated.

Tourists relax on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, last month. (Marco Ugarte/The Associated Press)

“We continue to advise against non-essential travel outside of Canada,” Global Affairs Canada said in an email on Friday, noting that this applies to all countries around the globe.

The department also pointed to practical concerns for those who choose to go abroad.

“Additional travel restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can suspend or reduce flights without notice. Travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult to return home.”

WATCH | Incoming travellers and Canada’s 4th COVID-19 wave:

Canada walks fine line as border reopens during fourth wave

As Canada prepares to allow non-essential travel from nearly anywhere in the world, the country walks a fine line between needing to reopen and fears over the fourth wave of COVID-19. 2:00

Indeed, COVID-19 travel restrictions vary from country to country, with vaccine passports gaining traction with some governments. Prior to the current federal election campaign, Ottawa had announced plans to develop such documentation for international travel.

Then and now

Ambarish Chandra, an associate professor of economics at the University of Toronto, says that while the government actively discouraged travel last winter, that didn’t deter all people from going abroad — such as snowbirds who went to Florida.

With the progress on vaccination that has been made, Chandra said he believes Ottawa’s stance on leisure travel may have to shift.

“I don’t think it would be reasonable for the government to go a second winter season saying: ‘Don’t travel,'” Chandra said in an interview.

A mask-wearing pilot at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in March 2020, the same month the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Many border closures and travel restrictions were soon put into effect in countries around the world. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Jörg Fritz, an associate professor in the microbiology and immunology department at Montreal’s McGill University, says that as travel picks up, Canada will have to keep a close eye on what strains of the virus are circulating here and around the globe.

“We simply need to face that this virus will not go away that quickly,” he said.

“The danger that new variants arise that might escape vaccine-induced immunity is still there and will be there for quite a while.”

It’s also key for Canada to continue increasing its vaccination rate and to ensure that children are protected as soon as that is possible, Fritz said.

A desire to get away

Air Canada says the upcoming fall and winter looks promising for travel to sun destinations.

“When looking to the sun market, we are very optimistic about our recovery,” airline spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News in a recent email, adding that “we are currently observing demand growth that is above 2019 levels.”

Sunwing Travel Group says it’s seeing ‘encouraging demand’ for sun-destination bookings compared with last fall. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Meanwhile, Sunwing Travel Group reports seeing “encouraging demand” compared with last fall, which spokesperson Melanie Anne Filipp says shows Canadians are growing more confident about travelling again.

“The rise in vaccinations across the country and easing border measures have without a doubt contributed to Canadians’ increasing interest in travel to sun destinations,” said Filipp, who noted that business remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Montreal-based Air Transat is currently flying passengers to a mix of domestic and international locations. Some of its sun destinations include Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

“We confirm that demand is doing well, and we clearly feel that the urge to travel is back,” Air Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana said via email.

“However, because of the uncertainty that still exists when traveling abroad, bookings are being made more last minute than before the pandemic.”

Being able to back out

A last-minute travel buy was not the story for Dubois, the retired TV cameraman, who booked his own trip back in January.

But he also bought a ticket that will allow him to cancel his plans up to 24 hours before departure, with a full refund.

Tourists take a break at a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, in August 2019. Seven months later, the global pandemic was declared, bringing an end to most leisure travel throughout the world. (Fernando Medina/Reuters)

On prior trips, he hadn’t tended to pencil in the possibility of needing to cancel — but that was before COVID-19.

“Before now, no,” said Dubois, who worked for both CBC and Radio-Canada during his career. “Now, definitely.”

The University of Toronto’s Chandra says the more flexible arrangements being offered by airlines reflects the fact that some customers won’t be willing to book expensive tickets if there’s a chance they will lose their money.

Rolling out the welcome mat

Dubois is heading to Cuba at the end of November, and by that time, travel restrictions will have been eased.

The Cuban Tourism Ministry recently announced that as of Nov. 15, Canadians with proof of vaccination won’t have to take a test before heading to the country. They’ll also be able to travel across the island.

Vacationers take to the water at a Club Med resort in the Dominican Republic before the pandemic. With the progress on vaccination that has been made, one expert says he believes Ottawa’s restrictive stance on leisure travel may have to shift. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Sunwing’s Filipp said that “numerous sun destinations are already open for travel,” and like Cuba, other destinations are expected to ease restrictions of their own as vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 cases decline.

Chandra says he’s doubtful that differing rules between sun destinations will have much of an effect on travel patterns.

That’s because a lot of sun seekers — and snowbirds in particular — are likely to “stick to their choices” when it comes to their desired winter getaways. “They’re not going to go other places,” he said.

They’re also unlikely to go to other regions because they head south to take advantage of the better weather, he said.



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Travel news latest: Winter sun holiday hope as Israel and UAE ease travel rules


Spain is amending its travel entry rules to require vaccination certificates from US tourists, adjusting to recent European Union advice on stricter rules due to growing anxiety over coronavirus contagion in the US.

The European Council’s decision last week to remove the US from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel also came amid unanswered calls from European officials for “reciprocity” in travel rules. Despite the EU’s move to open its borders to U.S. citizens in June, the US didn’t allow EU tourists in.

Spain, a major tourism destination, is among a handful of EU countries that has announced steps to adjust its entry rules to the Council’s recommendation.

The country published Friday the new guidelines on its official gazette, also removing Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the safe list.

Under the rules, US tourists will no longer be admitted from today, unless they can show proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip. Unvaccinated children under 12 travelling with vaccinated adults are also allowed in the country.





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Baltimore Sun letters to the editor: inspiring media critic, travel tip, Biden’s bungling of Afghanistan exit and Red Line revival | READER COMMENTARY


The economic exploitation sucked massive amounts of money out of the city and into the pockets of white bankers, real estate speculators and landlords, many of whom fled the city. Some of that money must be reinvested in the city, and the debt repaid, to restore the economic vitality of impoverished neighborhoods and the city’s residential and commercial density through projects like the Red Line.



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Best time for humans to travel to Mars is when the sun is roaring, scientists say


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Clouds and ice caps on the red planet.


NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)/J. Bell/M. Wolff (Space Science Institute)

This story is part of Welcome to Mars, our series exploring the red planet.

Humanity is set on the idea of visiting Mars in person, but there’s the pesky problem of hazardous radiation during long-duration spaceflights to get there. Scientists have raised concerns about brain damagegastrointestinal issues and cancer on a journey to the red planet. All in all, it sounds pretty off-putting, but it’s not impossible to pull off.

A new study has some suggestions for dealing with the safety issues, and it could partly come down to strategically picking the best time to travel. 

“This study shows that while space radiation imposes strict limitations and presents technological difficulties for the human mission to Mars, such a mission is still viable,” says the paper published this month in the journal Space Weather. It covers simulations that point to the optimal time to travel to Mars.

The paper calls out two main types of hazardous particle radiation: solar energetic particles (SEP) from our sun and galactic cosmic rays (GCR) from outside the solar system. The researchers point to a time known as solar maximum — when our sun is at its highest activity level — as an ideal time for humans to head to Mars.

“The scientists’ calculations demonstrate that it would be possible to shield a Mars-bound spacecraft from energetic particles from the sun because, during solar maximum, the most dangerous and energetic particles from distant galaxies are deflected by the enhanced solar activity,” UCLA said in a statement on Wednesday

Spacecraft designers would need to focus on shielding astronauts from SEP, but there would be a reduced impact from damaging GCR during solar maximum. The team also recommends keeping a Mars round trip to less than four years in duration, though the study acknowledges this could change based on the development of new shielding materials.

The travel time to Mars can vary (it took NASA’s Perseverance mission about seven months to get there), but there are a couple of prime times coming up in the mid-2030s and 2050 when shorter Earth-to-Mars journeys will coincide with periods of solar maximum. Hopefully that will help with your Martian vacation planning.

Follow CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar to stay up to date with all the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your own Google Calendar.      



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COVID-19 delta variant affecting travel to and from Florida | News | The Villages Daily Sun


Confidence in travel increased dramatically this summer  with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, and pent-up desire for vacations became even more obvious.

But the Delta variant prompted new mandates and restrictions affecting travel both to and from Florida, from theme parks and cruise lines requiring masks even for the vaccinated to at least one city requiring a negative COVID test for unvaccinated visitors to enter.

It also prompted some people to reconsider their summer travel plans. More than 33% of travelers nationwide are postponing travel because of the Delta variant, according to a survey released Tuesday by Longwoods International, a market research consultant whose findings are cited in travel outlooks from the U.S. Travel Association. That’s an increase of 9% compared with the group’s prior findings released in July.

Locally, travel agents are dealing with the Delta variant’s disruption of tourism with a wait-and-see approach.

“We’re cautiously optimistic people will increase their vaccinations,” said Scott Workman, owner of Workman Transportation & Travel. “But every day brings a new challenge.”

Variant Affects Consumer Confidence

Analysts expected the tourism industry to recover this summer, encouraged by summer travel forecasts –  including but not limited to the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays – suggesting business would come close to or exceed 2019 levels.

With three weeks to go before Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer travel season, Delta threatens to throw a wrench into these outlooks.

Longwoods International’s findings, which found a growing number of travelers postponing their vacations, also found most travelers believe the pandemic will greatly impact their trip plans.

“News of rising numbers (of) infection, hospitalizations and deaths clearly is changing the perception of trip safety for some travelers,” Longwoods International CEO Amir Eylon said in a statement. “And reports of so-called ‘breakthrough infections’ among the vaccinated and increasing coronavirus cases among children may also be weighing on travel and travel planning.”

Workman, whose agency offers shuttle service between Orlando International Airport and depots at Lake Sumter Landing and Brownwood squares, said his shuttle operations experienced some cancellations because of the Delta variant.

“We had a steady climb until about two weeks ago,” he said. “We’ve had more cancellations in the last week to 10 days than we’ve had since we’ve been back. Heaven forbid if we go into another lockdown, I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

Despite the pessimistic outlook suggested in Longwoods’ survey, Eylon did say there is a silver lining in his report.

He found a high number of travelers – about 86% – still plan to travel within the next six months.

Destinations Emphasize Safety

For those who decide to follow through on their vacation plans anyway, destinations are keeping the safety of their visitors in mind.

That may explain why Walt Disney World Resort recently began requiring all its guests to wear masks again when indoors, on attractions and on enclosed transportation, regardless of vaccination status.

Universal Orlando Resort also requires masks for all guests when indoors.

Carnival Cruise Line, which resumed sailing with paid customers July 31 from Port Canaveral with the maiden voyage of its Carnival Mardi Gras ship, stated masks and pre-cruise COVID testing will be mandatory for all guests, not just the unvaccinated. Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line stated they will require all guests, including fully vaccinated cruisers, to wear masks indoors.

Royal Caribbean also was requiring pre-cruise COVID testing for all guests, including the fully vaccinated. Villagers Tom and Judy Fujawa found out only a week before they were scheduled to travel aboard Allure of the Seas.

“This test had to be taken no more than three days prior to our sail date and had to be arranged by each guest at their own expense with an accredited test provider, such as a drugstore chain or diagnostic lab,” Tom said. “Fortunately, we scheduled our rapid result antigen test right away … and were negative.”

The Fujawas, of the Village of Calumet Grove, said their cruise was “relatively pleasant” in part because of the limited capacity and social distancing. They did, however, note that some of the ports of call couldn’t accommodate everyone. For example, Tom said a scheduled stop in St. Kitts was changed to St. Maarten when St. Kitts officials told Royal Caribbean that only 700 guests could leave the ship.

Beyond masking and testing requirements on the cruise ships, proving vaccination status may soon become the norm.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that Norwegian Cruise Line may require proof of vaccination before embarking, a loss for Gov. Ron DeSantis in a legal fight over Florida’s ban on vaccine passports, apps that show vaccination proof.

Theme parks and cruise ships’ mask wearing requirements makes Debbie Winters, a frequent Disney World visitor who’s also planning to embark on an upcoming Disney cruise, feel safe traveling.

“The crowds have been a lot bigger, so if you don’t like crowds, don’t go to Disney, but that’s anytime, mask or no mask,” said Winters, of the Village of Country Club Hills. “But Disney is always going to make sure they’re going to protect their guests.”

Workman, too, is monitoring what happens with the Delta variant as he considers following through on upcoming day trips aboard its buses, which have been growing in interest as customers from The Villages are eager to travel.

An Aug. 28 trip to downtown Sanford with lunch at the popular German restaurant Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, plus a Sept. 14 guided tour of the Williston elephant ranch Two Tails Ranch, are sold out. Several other tours have a limited number of seats remaining.

“Our day trips have been tremendous, it’s been a revenue driver when everything is down,” he said. “And people are inquiring and following what we’re doing.”

So far, Workman is waiting to see if cases escalate to a point where his agency would have to consider canceling day trips.

Variant Complicates International Travel

Just as international travel is resuming, helped in part by cruises sailing from Florida ports again and Canada reopening its border to vaccinated U.S. tourists, the risk of traveling abroad remains high.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also elevated the risk of traveling to at least 16 countries including the U.S. Virgin Islands, a frequent port stop on Caribbean cruises from Florida, because of a higher number of COVID-19 cases.

In a recent AAA survey, the motor vehicle club found about 41% of Floridians reported having difficulties understanding COVID-related requirements for international travel because of how varied and fluid they are depending on the destination and type of trip.

Since the pandemic began, AAA’s staff has recommended travelers book with a travel agent because they can identify what restrictions may impact their plans and help travelers understand their rights when they need to cancel or reschedule their itineraries.

Such planning can prove complicated, especially if a vacation involves multiple countries, said Robert Paluszak, president of The Villages Worldwide Foreign Travel Club.

“Some countries have different rules depending on what country you’re coming from, so if you’re doing a multi-country trip, you have to look not just at U.S. to Italy, you have to look at what requirements travelers from Italy to Greece have to do,” he said.

A fear of not getting back home because of a positive COVID test also weighs on travelers’ minds, said Paluszak, of the Village of Mallory Square.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are recommended to continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines, which were recently updated to recommend vaccinated people wear masks indoors.

Masks requirements stand for travel on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transport.

Travelers who aren’t vaccinated should practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash their hands and get tested for COVID-19 before and after travel.

AAA, the Auto Club Group, has an interactive map on its website showing where travelers may encounter state and/or local COVID-19 restrictions. It can be viewed at tinyurl.com/jk5muwdd.

Senior writer Michael Salerno can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5369, or michael.salerno@thevillagesmedia.com.





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COVID-19 delta variant affecting travel to and from Florida | News | The Villages Daily Sun


Confidence in travel increased dramatically this summer  with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines, and pent-up desire for vacations became even more obvious.

But the Delta variant prompted new mandates and restrictions affecting travel both to and from Florida, from theme parks and cruise lines requiring masks even for the vaccinated to at least one city requiring a negative COVID test for unvaccinated visitors to enter.

It also prompted some people to reconsider their summer travel plans. More than 33% of travelers nationwide are postponing travel because of the Delta variant, according to a survey released Tuesday by Longwoods International, a market research consultant whose findings are cited in travel outlooks from the U.S. Travel Association. That’s an increase of 9% compared with the group’s prior findings released in July.

Locally, travel agents are dealing with the Delta variant’s disruption of tourism with a wait-and-see approach.

“We’re cautiously optimistic people will increase their vaccinations,” said Scott Workman, owner of Workman Transportation & Travel. “But every day brings a new challenge.”

Variant Affects Consumer Confidence

Analysts expected the tourism industry to recover this summer, encouraged by summer travel forecasts –  including but not limited to the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays – suggesting business would come close to or exceed 2019 levels.

With three weeks to go before Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer travel season, Delta threatens to throw a wrench into these outlooks.

Longwoods International’s findings, which found a growing number of travelers postponing their vacations, also found most travelers believe the pandemic will greatly impact their trip plans.

“News of rising numbers (of) infection, hospitalizations and deaths clearly is changing the perception of trip safety for some travelers,” Longwoods International CEO Amir Eylon said in a statement. “And reports of so-called ‘breakthrough infections’ among the vaccinated and increasing coronavirus cases among children may also be weighing on travel and travel planning.”

Workman, whose agency offers shuttle service between Orlando International Airport and depots at Lake Sumter Landing and Brownwood squares, said his shuttle operations experienced some cancellations because of the Delta variant.

“We had a steady climb until about two weeks ago,” he said. “We’ve had more cancellations in the last week to 10 days than we’ve had since we’ve been back. Heaven forbid if we go into another lockdown, I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

Despite the pessimistic outlook suggested in Longwoods’ survey, Eylon did say there is a silver lining in his report.

He found a high number of travelers – about 86% – still plan to travel within the next six months.

Destinations Emphasize Safety

For those who decide to follow through on their vacation plans anyway, destinations are keeping the safety of their visitors in mind.

That may explain why Walt Disney World Resort recently began requiring all its guests to wear masks again when indoors, on attractions and on enclosed transportation, regardless of vaccination status.

Universal Orlando Resort also requires masks for all guests when indoors.

Carnival Cruise Line, which resumed sailing with paid customers July 31 from Port Canaveral with the maiden voyage of its Carnival Mardi Gras ship, stated masks and pre-cruise COVID testing will be mandatory for all guests, not just the unvaccinated. Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line stated they will require all guests, including fully vaccinated cruisers, to wear masks indoors.

Royal Caribbean also was requiring pre-cruise COVID testing for all guests, including the fully vaccinated. Villagers Tom and Judy Fujawa found out only a week before they were scheduled to travel aboard Allure of the Seas.

“This test had to be taken no more than three days prior to our sail date and had to be arranged by each guest at their own expense with an accredited test provider, such as a drugstore chain or diagnostic lab,” Tom said. “Fortunately, we scheduled our rapid result antigen test right away … and were negative.”

The Fujawas, of the Village of Calumet Grove, said their cruise was “relatively pleasant” in part because of the limited capacity and social distancing. They did, however, note that some of the ports of call couldn’t accommodate everyone. For example, Tom said a scheduled stop in St. Kitts was changed to St. Maarten when St. Kitts officials told Royal Caribbean that only 700 guests could leave the ship.

Beyond masking and testing requirements on the cruise ships, proving vaccination status may soon become the norm.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that Norwegian Cruise Line may require proof of vaccination before embarking, a loss for Gov. Ron DeSantis in a legal fight over Florida’s ban on vaccine passports, apps that show vaccination proof.

Theme parks and cruise ships’ mask wearing requirements makes Debbie Winters, a frequent Disney World visitor who’s also planning to embark on an upcoming Disney cruise, feel safe traveling.

“The crowds have been a lot bigger, so if you don’t like crowds, don’t go to Disney, but that’s anytime, mask or no mask,” said Winters, of the Village of Country Club Hills. “But Disney is always going to make sure they’re going to protect their guests.”

Workman, too, is monitoring what happens with the Delta variant as he considers following through on upcoming day trips aboard its buses, which have been growing in interest as customers from The Villages are eager to travel.

An Aug. 28 trip to downtown Sanford with lunch at the popular German restaurant Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, plus a Sept. 14 guided tour of the Williston elephant ranch Two Tails Ranch, are sold out. Several other tours have a limited number of seats remaining.

“Our day trips have been tremendous, it’s been a revenue driver when everything is down,” he said. “And people are inquiring and following what we’re doing.”

So far, Workman is waiting to see if cases escalate to a point where his agency would have to consider canceling day trips.

Variant Complicates International Travel

Just as international travel is resuming, helped in part by cruises sailing from Florida ports again and Canada reopening its border to vaccinated U.S. tourists, the risk of traveling abroad remains high.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also elevated the risk of traveling to at least 16 countries including the U.S. Virgin Islands, a frequent port stop on Caribbean cruises from Florida, because of a higher number of COVID-19 cases.

In a recent AAA survey, the motor vehicle club found about 41% of Floridians reported having difficulties understanding COVID-related requirements for international travel because of how varied and fluid they are depending on the destination and type of trip.

Since the pandemic began, AAA’s staff has recommended travelers book with a travel agent because they can identify what restrictions may impact their plans and help travelers understand their rights when they need to cancel or reschedule their itineraries.

Such planning can prove complicated, especially if a vacation involves multiple countries, said Robert Paluszak, president of The Villages Worldwide Foreign Travel Club.

“Some countries have different rules depending on what country you’re coming from, so if you’re doing a multi-country trip, you have to look not just at U.S. to Italy, you have to look at what requirements travelers from Italy to Greece have to do,” he said.

A fear of not getting back home because of a positive COVID test also weighs on travelers’ minds, said Paluszak, of the Village of Mallory Square.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are recommended to continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines, which were recently updated to recommend vaccinated people wear masks indoors.

Masks requirements stand for travel on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transport.

Travelers who aren’t vaccinated should practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash their hands and get tested for COVID-19 before and after travel.

AAA, the Auto Club Group, has an interactive map on its website showing where travelers may encounter state and/or local COVID-19 restrictions. It can be viewed at tinyurl.com/jk5muwdd.

Senior writer Michael Salerno can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5369, or michael.salerno@thevillagesmedia.com.





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