Tourists packed Moab last week as pandemic travelers filled the West


Moab on a mid-fall weeknight was full. All the motels, RV parks and tents sites had “no vacancy” notices. Every food provider from Denny’s to the organic, locally-sourced artisan places had limited hours and limited menus due to lack of staff or food shortages.

On the southernmost tip of Utah, things got worse. There was no avocado toast left at the Kanab Creek Bakery. At the news, vegans and foodies looked visibly wan. The staff feigned patience. I settled for coffee that oddly came from being roasted at the extreme north end of the state, in Logan, Utah.

This felt like what travel has become these days — lots of tourists, strained services, and everywhere, Help Wanted signs. And weekdays didn’t seem mainly for retired people. We got to Chaco Canyon National Park on a Tuesday afternoon, and the campground there was sold out.

Fall used to be shoulder or at least elbow season; kids were back in school, people commuting to work, some campgrounds closed, and some attractions boarded up. In the few all-season campgrounds, you had your pick of sites. The pandemic problematic abnormal has changed that, and now there are rearrangements of everything everywhere.

Tanja, who spells it that way, let us in the Circleville, Utah, RV Park and Kountry Store for free. “It’s my campground and I can do what I want,” she said before making her rounds on her ATV.

The Cottonwood RV Park in Bluff, Utah, was not free and ready to close for the season. It’s near the Navaho Nation and many people were wearing masks. Nancy, the manager, tells us from a safe distance that she personally knew 40 people who died of COVID-19 in the last two years. She also gave us directions to the semi-secret petroglyph panels in Bears Ears National Monument; the same panels that the Friends of Cedar Mesa group would not mention.



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What we learned about global travel this week


(CNN) — Countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa, more than 2.3 million Americans traveled by air for Thanksgiving, and in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand and the Philippines revealed new reopening plans.

Here are some of the biggest developments in travel this week:

A new variant triggered flight bans

An aggressive new Covid-19 variant was discovered, setting off a cascade of travel closures on November 26 as the United States, the European Union and other major destinations moved to block arrivals from seven southern African nations, including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
At the start of the week, the outlook in most of the continent had been looking good, as a dozen African countries, including Benin in the East and Ethiopia in the West, moved to lower-risk categories on the US travel advisory list.

Only a small number of cases of the new strain, named Omicron, have been identified so far, but the World Health Organization has said it’s a cause for concern and experts warn it could spread rapidly.

Europe soldiered on with its winter season

The opening of Austria's Ischgl resort has been delayed until December 3 because of the national lockdown.

The opening of Austria’s Ischgl resort has been delayed until December 3 because of the national lockdown.

Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images

Austria and Slovakia have gone into national lockdown and there have been protests in Croatia, the Netherlands and Belgium about fresh Covid restrictions — but in Europe’s ski resorts, there were (cautious) preparations for the winter season.
Christmas markets began opening in Italy and elsewhere, despite rising Covid numbers, while the EU recommended a nine-month limit on vaccine validity for travel. The UK meanwhile is set to widen its remit of vaccinations that it will allow for entry.

US travel disruption continued its record-breaking year

There have been more reports of disruptive passengers in 2021 than there have been in the 30-plus years of recording such incidents. Flight attendants have had enough.
Following the panic on November 20 at Atlanta airport when a passenger’s gun accidentally went off, this week the Federal Aviation Administration announced that a traveler on board an April Southwest Airlines flight was fined $40,823 after he allegedly brought his own alcohol on board, sexually assaulted a flight attendant, then smoked cannabis in the restroom.
Covid cases are rising again in the US, with 595,255 new cases reported in the past week, but Thanksgiving travelers still set a pandemic record, with more than 2.3 million people in the air on November 24 — the busiest day at American security checkpoints since March 2020.

Philippines and New Zealand revealed reopening plans

Foreign vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit the Philippines quarantine-free from December 1, provided they’ve stayed within “green list” countries for at least 14 days beforehand.

The list of eligible countries includes the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and Australia and travelers will also need to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
New Zealand revealed a little more about its long-awaited reopening plans for 2022. The border will first open to New Zealand citizens and residents traveling from neighboring Australia on January 16, before expanding to include New Zealanders from the rest of the world on February 13. Fully vaccinated visitors from all other countries, except those deemed “high risk,” will be able to visit from April 30.

Egypt reopened its ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes

The more than 3,000-year-old road, linking two Egyptian temple complexes, was first discovered in the late 1940s and has since undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts.

The site has undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts and today features hundreds of traditional sphinxes and ram-headed statues lined up on its path.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities described the site as the “largest open museum in the world.” According to Reuters, Egypt lost around $9 billion in tourism revenue in 2020, so there will be high hopes for this new project.

A restaurant group is bankrolling family trips home for its staff

Hong Kong’s Black Sheep Restaurants group is shelling out $650,000 in order to let 250 of its staff fly home to see their families abroad.

In addition to money for flights and those many, many Covid tests, the workers will also receive extra weeks of unpaid leave to help them undergo Hong Kong’s hotel quarantine, which the company is paying for, too. The city’s famously strict entry restrictions mean returning residents have to spend a mandatory two or three weeks in designated hotels.

Black Sheep restaurants will also deliver their employees nightly meals to their quarantine hotels. To qualify for this impressive staff perk, they need to complete one year of service at the company upon their return.

A holiday love story

When Dina Honour hosted her first ever Thanksgiving dinner at her New York home in 1997, a British guy on vacation — Richard Steggall — crashed the meal with her friends. She flew to England a month later to celebrate Christmas with him and now they’ve been married 20 years.

The loveliest ‘spawning event’ you’ll see this year

Scientists say the event is a positive sign that the reef is able to regenerate despite ecological threats.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has “given birth” in its annual coral spawn. Scientists working beneath the waves say they witnessed the event, in which coral simultaneously release sperm and eggs en masse, overnight on November 23 off the coast of Cairns, Queensland.

In case you missed it

Amsterdam Airport has a pig pilot project

The first recorded flight to the continent was in 1928.

France has suffered a wine ‘disaster’

Strange symbols are carved in the Qatar desert

CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi, Ghazi Balkiz, Chris Dwyer, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Jack Guy, Marnie Hunter, Caitlin McGee, David McKenzie, Sandee LaMotte, Pete Muntean, Francesca Street, Gregory Wallace and Lizzy Yee contributed to this report.



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What we learned about global travel this week


By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

Countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa, more than 2.3 million Americans traveled by air for Thanksgiving, and in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand and the Philippines revealed new reopening plans.

Here are some of the biggest developments in travel this week:

A new variant triggered flight bans

An aggressive new Covid-19 variant was discovered, setting off a cascade of travel closures on November 26 as the United States, the European Union and other major destinations moved to block arrivals from seven southern African nations, including South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

At the start of the week, the outlook in most of the continent had been looking good, as a dozen African countries, including Benin in the East and Ethiopia in the West, moved to lower-risk categories on the US travel advisory list.

Only a small number of cases of the new strain, named Omicron, have been identified so far, but the World Health Organization has said it’s a cause for concern and experts warn it could spread rapidly.

Europe soldiered on with its winter season

Austria and Slovakia have gone into national lockdown and there have been protests in Croatia, the Netherlands and Belgium about fresh Covid restrictions — but in Europe’s ski resorts, there were (cautious) preparations for the winter season.

Germany and Denmark have been added to the already bulging US list of highest-risk travel destinations, joining the likes of Ireland, Greece and Hungary.

Christmas markets began opening in Italy and elsewhere, despite rising Covid numbers, while the EU recommended a nine-month limit on vaccine validity for travel. The UK meanwhile is set to widen its remit of vaccinations that it will allow for entry.

US travel disruption continued its record-breaking year

There have been more reports of disruptive passengers in 2021 than there have been in the 30-plus years of recording such incidents. Flight attendants have had enough.

Following the panic on November 20 at Atlanta airport when a passenger’s gun accidentally went off, this week the Federal Aviation Administration announced that a traveler on board an April Southwest Airlines flight was fined $40,823 after he allegedly brought his own alcohol on board, sexually assaulted a flight attendant, then smoked cannabis in the restroom.

Covid cases are rising again in the US, with 595,255 new cases reported in the past week, but Thanksgiving travelers still set a pandemic record, with more than 2.3 million people in the air on November 24 — the busiest day at American security checkpoints since March 2020.

Philippines and New Zealand revealed reopening plans

Foreign vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit the Philippines quarantine-free from December 1, provided they’ve stayed within “green list” countries for at least 14 days beforehand.

The list of eligible countries includes the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and Australia and travelers will also need to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.

As announced back in October, the Pacific archipelago of Fiji will also reopen on December 1.

New Zealand revealed a little more about its long-awaited reopening plans for 2022. The border will first open to New Zealand citizens and residents traveling from neighboring Australia on January 16, before expanding to include New Zealanders from the rest of the world on February 13. Fully vaccinated visitors from all other countries, except those deemed “high risk,” will be able to visit from April 30.

Egypt reopened its ancient Avenue of the Sphinxes

Egypt celebrated the reopening of the 3,400-year-old Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor on November 23. The 2.7-kilometer road that connects the Luxor and Karnak temple complexes and was first discovered in the 1940s.

The site has undergone decades of excavation and restoration efforts and today features hundreds of traditional sphinxes and ram-headed statues lined up on its path.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities described the site as the “largest open museum in the world.” According to Reuters, Egypt lost around $9 billion in tourism revenue in 2020, so there will be high hopes for this new project.

A restaurant group is bankrolling family trips home for its staff

Hong Kong’s Black Sheep Restaurants group is shelling out $650,000 in order to let 250 of its staff fly home to see their families abroad.

In addition to money for flights and those many, many Covid tests, the workers will also receive extra weeks of unpaid leave to help them undergo Hong Kong’s hotel quarantine, which the company is paying for, too. The city’s famously strict entry restrictions mean returning residents have to spend a mandatory two or three weeks in designated hotels.

Black Sheep restaurants will also deliver their employees nightly meals to their quarantine hotels. To qualify for this impressive staff perk, they need to complete one year of service at the company upon their return.

A holiday love story

When Dina Honour hosted her first ever Thanksgiving dinner at her New York home in 1997, a British guy on vacation — Richard Steggall — crashed the meal with her friends. She flew to England a month later to celebrate Christmas with him and now they’ve been married 20 years.

The loveliest ‘spawning event’ you’ll see this year

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has “given birth” in its annual coral spawn. Scientists working beneath the waves say they witnessed the event, in which coral simultaneously release sperm and eggs en masse, overnight on November 23 off the coast of Cairns, Queensland.

In case you missed it

The World’s highest 360-degree infinity pool has opened in Dubai

Not to be confused with the world’s tallest infinity pool inside a building, also in Dubai.

Amsterdam Airport has a pig pilot project

That’s a pilot project using pigs to reduce bird strikes. Pigs still can’t actually fly.

An Airbus A340 landed on Antarctica for the first time

The first recorded flight to the continent was in 1928.

France has suffered a wine ‘disaster’

But there might be a silver lining.

Strange symbols are carved in the Qatar desert

And no one’s quite sure what they mean.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Celine Alkhaldi, Ghazi Balkiz, Chris Dwyer, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Jack Guy, Marnie Hunter, Caitlin McGee, David McKenzie, Sandee LaMotte, Pete Muntean, Francesca Street, Gregory Wallace and Lizzy Yee contributed to this report.



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NFL playoff picture 2021 – Standings, bracket after Thanksgiving games, plus Week 12 outlook


Welcome to a special Thanksgiving Day edition of our NFL playoff picture. If you kept only one eye on the games, or even if you watched them closely, we have a lot to discuss. The outcomes of two matchups shook up the playoff standings in both conferences. Among the takeaways:

  • The Buffalo Bills regained supremacy in the AFC East, at least temporarily. The Bills, of course, could be back among the wild-card contenders if the New England Patriots beat the Tennessee Titans this weekend.

  • The Bills’ win over the New Orleans Saints elevated the San Francisco 49ers into the NFC wild-card race. They’re currently No. 7 in the NFC standings, while the Saints’ fourth consecutive loss has them looking up at the NFC field.

  • The Las Vegas Raiders‘ win over the Dallas Cowboys stopped a mid-season slide and put them back in contention to move into the AFC wild-card race should a current contender falter.

  • The Cowboys’ lead in the NFC East isn’t yet threatened, but the surging Philadelphia Eagles can no longer be discounted in the division race.

We’ve updated those situations and more below. Look for another update after Sunday’s games as Week 12 continues.

Jump to: AFC | NFC

AFC

No team has exemplified this unpredictable season better than the Titans, who won seven of their first nine games despite facing the NFL’s most difficult schedule over that stretch. They then embarked on a much easier schedule, only to suffer a stunning home loss in Week 11 to the Texans. The defeat allowed the Colts to continue closing the gap in the AFC South, shrinking the Titans’ lead to two games with six to play. (Tennessee won both head-to-head matchups with Indianapolis.) Regardless of whether the Colts can catch them, it’s difficult to view the Titans as the clear-cut AFC favorite when two of their losses have come to the Texans and Jets — who have a combined record of 4-16. And now the Patriots, arguably the hottest team in the league, await them on Sunday.

Next up: at Patriots


Even without quarterback Lamar Jackson in Week 11, the Ravens managed to maintain their hold on first place in the AFC North. They haven’t been pretty for a while, having lost to the Bengals and Dolphins and eking out an overtime win over the Vikings over the past month. But maybe that’s just how it’s going to be for them.

Next up: vs. Browns


Will a convincing win Thursday in the Superdome be enough to pull the Bills out of a midseason spiral? They entered Week 12 having lost two of their past three games, including an inexplicable defeat to the Jaguars and a 26-point loss to the Colts. The Bills better hope they’ve figured things out, because they’re about to head into a brutal stretch of their schedule. They will play the red-hot Patriots twice in four weeks, with a game at the Buccaneers mixed in there, as well. But for a few days, at least, they’ve returned to the top of the AFC East.

Next up: vs Patriots (Week 13)

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0:19

Josh Allen finds Dawson Knox for his second touchdown of the game versus New Orleans.


The Chiefs are rolling off their fourth consecutive victory, a streak that has brought them from below .500 to atop the AFC West. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that the Chiefs will be among the seven teams representing the AFC in the playoffs, and more likely than not, they will be the AFC West champion.

Next up: vs. Broncos (Week 13)


It took the Patriots less than two months to recover from their 1-3 start and even briefly supplant the Bills atop the AFC East. The Bills reclaimed first place with a Thanksgiving win over the Saints, but the Patriots will re-take the position if they beat the Titans in Week 12. Five consecutive wins — and six in their past seven games — have not only given them a division advantage but also put them within reasonable range of the top seed in the AFC. It’s all in front of them now. The Patriots have a fortuitous home game against the AFC-leading Titans this week then play the Bills twice in a three-game stretch next month. If you’re judging postseason seedings by how teams are playing at the moment, it’s difficult to look past the Patriots as the best-situated team in the AFC (right now, of course).

Next up: vs. Titans


There was a time when lots of people were worried about Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow‘s health in returning from last season’s knee injury. Through 10 games, we can say that the concern was mostly unfounded. Just making it through 10 games didn’t seem a certainty when the season began, but he has the Bengals’ offense humming, most recently with a 32-point outburst in Week 11’s victory over the Raiders. ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) is giving the Bengals roughly a 50-50 chance of making the playoffs, but in a wide-open AFC, they have absolutely put themselves in position to be in the December conversation.

Next up: vs. Steelers


The Chargers did everything they could to fall out of the AFC’s top seven in Week 11, but in the biggest sign yet that they are turning a corner under coach Brandon Staley and quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers stopped doing Chargers things long enough to retake the lead. There is still a lot to question about the Chargers, most notably their special teams, but they showed they are to be taken seriously in the AFC playoff race.

Next up: at Broncos


In the AFC hunt

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)

The Steelers are winless in their past two games and are now out of the AFC’s top seven. It won’t get any easier when they travel to Cincinnati this weekend.

Indianapolis Colts (6-5)

The Colts have won three consecutive games and five of their past six, but prior to Week 11, the quality of the teams they beat wasn’t too impressive. That changed with a blowout victory at Buffalo. The Colts are trending in all the right directions, and the Buccaneers are their next test.

Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

We can do nothing but tip our cap to the Raiders, whose post-Jon Gruden slide seemed well underway during a three-game losing steak entering Thursday’s game at the Cowboys. They went into AT&T Stadium and won a war of attrition, and now have 10 days to prepare for a winnable home game against Washington in Week 13.

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0:21

Anthony Brown is whistled for a pass interference penalty, which sets the Raiders up for Daniel Carlson’s winning field goal in overtime.

Cleveland Browns (6-5)

It’s incredible that the Browns have won six games given the obvious impact quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s left shoulder injury is having on his performance. Oh, and don’t forget the messy presence and departure of wideout Odell Beckham Jr. If you’re picking one team to fall out of the wild-card race due to exhaustion, it’s the Browns. They have a road trip to Baltimore on deck.

Denver Broncos (5-5)

The Broncos will return from a bye with a .500 record, but consecutive games against the Chargers and Chiefs will likely knock them further from the AFC wild-card race.

NFC

Let’s tip our cap to the Cardinals, who have traveled quite a journey since their last-minute loss in Week 8 to the Packers. Playing without quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, they have gone 2-1 with wins at division rivals San Francisco and Seattle. The Cardinals have become the fourth team in NFL history to start a season 6-0 in road games and will get their MVP-caliber quarterback back sooner than later. FPI is calling them a virtual lock to make the playoffs and giving them a better than 90% chance to win the NFC West.

Next up: at Bears (Week 13)


In most scenarios, the Packers with Aaron Rodgers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But what should we say about a Packers team that is losing key players to injury on a weekly basis? They are still in really good shape in the NFC North, leading the Vikings by 2½ games, with a Week 17 matchup against Minnesota at Lambeau Field looming. But at the very least, the Packers’ depth is going to be tested during December football.

Next up: vs. Rams


The defending Super Bowl champions broke a mildly alarming two-game losing streak on Monday night with a convincing win over the Giants, a team that entered the game ranked No. 23 in the NFL with an average of 18.9 offensive points per game. The lane is there for a high seed in the NFC bracket, as their remaining schedule includes only two teams with winning records (the Colts and Bills).

Next up: vs. Colts


Uh-oh. The Cowboys were expected to take off once they got quarterback Dak Prescott back from injury. Instead, they have lost three of their past four games. Their lead in the NFC East is not yet threatened; the Eagles would still be two games behind in the loss column even if they beat the Giants on Sunday. But it remains an open question whether the Cowboys will head into the playoffs as a genuine contender or will be in the postseason simply because they’re the least-flawed team in a weak division.

Next up: at Saints (Week 13)

play

0:35

A referee takes a fall as Tony Pollard takes the kick return 100 yards to the house.


It has been a quick tumble for the “all-in” Rams, who have fallen from the top spot in the NFC to the wild-card picture with two consecutive losses. Regardless, the Rams’ Week 11 bye came at a good time. They had two weeks to get newcomers Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. more acclimated to their program, in addition to figuring out why quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown four interceptions during the two-game skid. They better hope they get it figured out, because their upcoming schedule includes not only the Packers but the Cardinals, Vikings, Ravens and 49ers. That will be a tough run.

Next up: at Packers


When you seem to play close games every week, the math says you should at least win some of them. The Vikings’ Week 11 victory over the Packers boosted their division and conference records. Both are key categories for tiebreakers, and their 4-2 NFC record is the reason they are ahead of the Saints and 49ers (whom they play next week) in the NFC playoff standings. Overall, the Vikings have played in seven consecutive games that have been decided by seven or fewer points, a stretch that either has hardened them for a playoff run or will ultimately cost them entrance into the postseason altogether.

Next up: at 49ers


The 49ers have won three of their past four, and they were able to leapfrog the Saints in the wild-card race following Thursday’s action. No one can say with certainty whether the 49ers are truly a playoff team, but sometimes these matters get decided in the postseason. Their remaining strength of schedule ranks No. 25 in the league. One caveat to keep in mind is that the Eagles, another NFC wild-card competitor, have the NFL’s easiest remaining schedule.

Next up: vs. Vikings


In the NFC hunt

Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

The Eagles also have won three of their past four, all of which by more than 10 points. And when you see two games apiece against Washington and the Giants remaining, as well as a matchup against the Jets, you see a pretty favorable schedule for staying in the wild-card race. Philly has a road game against the Giants this week.

Carolina Panthers (5-6)

Can the Panthers really be a playoff contender with a quarterback they signed out of free agency and inserted into the starting lineup within two weeks? Cam Newton might be Superman, but he isn’t a magician. Carolina will travel to play the Dolphins on Sunday.

New Orleans Saints (5-6)

That’s now four consecutive losses for the Saints since starting quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending knee injury. Their offense had zero punch Thursday night against the Bills, and they’re now looking up at the NFC playoff field. They’ll play the Cowboys in Week 13, but the one bright spot is that four of their final six opponents have losing records.



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Fuel demand could spike this week as millions prepare for Thanksgiving travel


The following is a news release from AAA Idaho.

BOISE – Falling crude oil prices could relieve some pain at the pump for Idaho drivers, but according to AAA, the effect may be tempered by a spike in demand as 53.4 million Americans set out on a Thanksgiving vacation.

Crude oil, which makes up half the price of finished gasoline, dropped as low as $76 per barrel late last week, after staying at or above the $80 mark since mid-October. The drop came in response to fears that a COVID-19 resurgence could impact economic activity in the U.S. and Europe this winter, and a request by the Biden Administration to coordinate a simultaneous release of crude oil reserves between the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and India to drive prices down.

Today, Idaho’s average price for regular is $3.69 per gallon, which is a penny less than a week ago and three cents less than a month ago. The national average currently sits at $3.41 per gallon, which is the same as a week ago and three cents more than a month ago. This week, the Gem State fell to 9th place for most expensive fuel.

“On one hand, we project strong Thanksgiving travel numbers that will be just below pre-pandemic levels, including 290,000 Idahoans who will set out on a Turkey Day trip. In response, the price of crude oil is already up nearly a dollar today,” says AAA Idaho spokesman Matthew Conde. “But Austria recently announced a three-week travel lockdown due to rising COVID cases, and if similar situations crop up elsewhere, that could drive global demand down. The uncertainty is making oil and gas prices very shaky, and that’s a pattern that could continue through the end of the year.”

AAA says that gas prices could jump by as much as a nickel in some parts of the country this holiday weekend, as 90% of those who will travel for Thanksgiving will go by car. Nearly four million more Americans are expected to drive this year than a year ago.

Here’s a seven-year retrospective on Thanksgiving gas prices:

gas prices1
Courtesy AAA

According to AAA travel projections, Tuesday will be the busiest day at the airport this week, and drivers will face the heaviest traffic congestion on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon when travelers will share the road with evening commuters.

“We encourage travelers to do their homework. Check for adjusted hours and capacity at restaurants and popular attractions, both at your end destination and along your route,” Conde said. “You should also check weather and traffic reports so that you know what to expect when you hit the road.”

Masks are required at airports, on airplanes, and at train and bus stations, and may be required in other places like museums and movie theaters, depending on state and local requirements. For the latest information, travelers can review AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map.

In addition to masks, those who make the decision to travel should bring hand sanitizer, wash their hands frequently, and pack disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces on airplane seats and in hotel rooms.

“As always, a safe road trip begins with an emergency kit that includes snacks and water, a first-aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflectors, and basic tools,” Conde said. “And please remember, the latest safety features in your car can never take the place of an engaged driver.”

Here’s a look at Idaho gas prices, as of 11/22/21:

Boise – $3.79
Coeur d’Alene – $3.36
Franklin – $3.68
Idaho Falls – $3.62
Lewiston – $3.27
Pocatello – $3.72
Twin Falls – $3.82



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Thanksgiving travel to reach near pre-pandemic highs this week


Thousands of people from the
Hudson Valley are already on the move as holiday travel is expected to reach
pre-pandemic levels for the first time.

A steady stream of travelers
could be seen today at Westchester County Airport and at airports across the
country.

The TSA reports that 2
million people have already passed through since Friday and estimated 53.4
million people to travel Thanksgiving week.

That’s a 13% increase
from 2020. It’s also expected to be the single year increase in travelers since
2005!

MORE:

Air travel is expected to be up 80% from last Thanksgiving.

However, most travers will be in cars despite the highest gas prices around Thanksgiving in eight years.

AAA
says 90% of Thanksgiving holiday travelers will be driving to their
destinations this year and it will cost them. AAA puts the national average at $3.41 cents for a gallon
of regular.

The availability of COVID-19 vaccines and families wanting to make up for missing last year’s gatherings have propelled travel to the near pre-pandemic high of 2019, according to Tracy Noble of AAA.

“You need to remember where we were last year at this time. People were still very concerned about COVID, they were quarantining at home, working from home, so it was a very different environment,” Noble says.

The travel surge will put airlines some of which have experienced staffing shortages to the test.



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WATCH NOW: Your Thanksgiving travel week forecast with Joe Martucci | Local News


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Husband admits killing travel-agent wife; New Dorp kidnap case: S.I.’s top crime stories of the week


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Here’s a look at the top criminal-justice-related headlines across the borough this week:

2 CHARGED IN NEW DORP KIDNAP CASE

122nd Precinct

The 122nd Precinct stationhouse in New Dorp is shown in this file photo. (Staten Island Advance/Jin Lee)STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE

A group of people armed with what appeared to be a gun kidnapped, burned, slashed and beat a man for hours in a horrific ordeal in a New Dorp apartment building, authorities allege.

Abel Walters, 21, and Omarie Gomez, 20, were arrested on Tuesday and four to seven additional suspects remain at large in the brutal attack that lasted about 11 hours beginning around 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 inside an apartment in the building where both suspects live on the 600 block of Tysens Lane, according to the criminal complaint and police.

A laceration to the abdomen that required 28 staples to close and burns on his face were among the severe injuries suffered by the 20-year-old victim, the complaint states.

NYPD: 2 TEENS ARRESTED IN CARJACKED SUV

Police on Staten Island arrested a 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl traveling in an SUV that crashed on Staten Island after the vehicle allegedly was carjacked at gunpoint in the Bronx.

A loaded firearm and ammunition were recovered from the suspects, according to a spokeswoman for the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information.

Cops then saw the SUV traveling in the vicinity of Targee Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in Stapleton.

When officers attempted to stop the SUV, the driver drove away at a high rate of speed and the BMW crashed into two parked, unoccupied cars, according to the police spokeswoman.

Click here for more story details.

HUSBAND ADMITS GUILT IN FATAL SHOOTING OF WIFE

Husband charged in murder

Police charged Kevin Smith, 40, right, with the alleged murder of his wife, Nikia Webster at their Mariners Harbor home. (Facebook)

A Mariners Harbor man who two years ago fatally shot his wife inside their home during an argument has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.

Kevin Smith, 43, was charged with murder, assault and other crimes stemming from the Oct. 23, 2019 killing of Nikia Webster, 38.

Smith admitted guilt on Wednesday during a proceeding in state Supreme Court, St. George.

In exchange, he’ll be sentenced on Dec. 14 to 22 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision.

Click here for more story details.

DOG WALKER FINDS MAN DEAD; COPS INVESTIGATE

Man found dead in vacant lot in Stapleton

A man was found dead on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2021, in an undeveloped lot on the 300 block of Front Street. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

An unidentified man was found dead with a head injury in a lot on Front Street in Stapleton.

The city’s medical examiner will determine his cause of death.

The man, who was possibly in his 50s and did not have identification on him, was found lying on his back in an undeveloped lot.

He had an abrasion on his head and what appeared to be dried blood around his nose and mouth, but there was no clear indication of what caused his death, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

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YEAR AFTER BYSTANDER DEATH, COPS ASK FOR TIPS

‘We need justice her family needs justice’: Police plead for information in tragic Clifton homicide

An NYPD CrimeStoppers flyer at the corner of Park Hill Avenue and Sobel Court in Clifton. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)

One year after the tragic killing of Sue Doe, a beloved mother and community leader who was shot in the lobby of a Clifton apartment building as an innocent bystander, police are seeking tips from the public to help solve the case.

Doe was pronounced dead on Nov. 26, 10 days after suffering a gunshot wound to the head from a stray bullet while standing in the lobby of 225 Park Hill Ave. on Nov. 16.

Her sister, Mariah Bility, said Doe’s death was “a shock to everybody” in the community, most especially at New Life Church in West Brighton, where she served as a children’s choir director.

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S.I. MAN ADMITS POSSESSING CHILD PORN

Two years ago, a Concord man who fatally kicked his roommate’s dog avoided jail after successfully completing a treatment program.

However, Michael McNicholas won’t be as lucky this time after admitting to his latest offense: Possessing kiddie porn.

McNicholas faces a sentence of six months in jail and 10 years’ probation under a plea agreement reached on Monday.

The defendant, then 28, was arrested on March 18.

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COPS: ARDEN HEIGHTS MAN NABBED WITH HEROIN

Police allege they found 15 small bags of heroin in the jacket of a man accused of selling drugs in Tompkinsville.

Ralph Esposito, 58, of Forest Green, was arrested on Nov. 4 at about 5:20 p.m. in the vicinity of Bay Street and Victory Boulevard, according to the criminal complaint.

Inside the suspect’s jacket pocket, officers found 15 glassine envelopes of heroin and 13 paper strips of the addiction-treatment medication suboxone, the complaint alleges.

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KNIFE-WIELDING MAN ALLEGEDLY ROBS 2 STORES

Authorities allege that a 41-year-old man was armed with a knife when he robbed two stores two Saturdays in a row in Port Richmond.

The most recent incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the Subway at 786A Port Richmond Ave., according to the criminal complaint and police.

The criminal complaint alleges that Isaac Quintano of Van Buren Street in New Brighton entered the Subway and brandished a knife. He allegedly snatched a tip jar filled with cash off the counter, according to the criminal complaint.

“You know what this is,” the criminal complaint quoted Quintano as saying while he pointed the knife at a 38-year-old man.

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