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Travel

Holiday refunds: ‘Holidaymakers should get vouchers’ Spain pushes EU to protect tourists

Many people around the world have been left with no summer holiday plans due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact, many holidaymakers have been forced to apply for refunds due to their holidays being cancelled by companies and airlines. Rather than offering cash refunds, some companies are offering travellers vouchers instead.

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And now, Spain is pushing for holidaymakers to be rewarded with vouchers with 100 percent protection.

Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto told tourists leaders of the European Union that the voucher system would work if all countries in the EU joined the initiative.

She explained that Spain was in favour of offering the temporary measure.

She said: “Spain is in favour of temporarily allowing airlines to offer passengers vouchers instead of reimbursements, issued under uniform conditions for the entire EU.

“But, to guarantee the rights of passengers – in the face of possible insolvency of airlines – it would be necessary to create a European guarantee fund, given that the regulation is supranational in nature and a national solution would generate asymmetric protections for passengers according to each country.”

The EU has already suggested that travellers who are owed a refund should be persuaded to take the vouchers rather than cash.

But this would only apply if the offer was made more attractive by offering enhanced amounts and at least a year to use the vouchers.

By law, the owed money should be given back but the EU says it recognises both sides of the story.

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For example, cash flow and lack of finance has hit tourism agencies and airlines hard.

However, they are not the only ones who have faced hardship.

Tourists and customers have also been hit financially by COVID-19.

Ms Maroto also called for phased and coordinated steps in the EU for cross-border travel and tourism.

She especially defended the need to establish coordination between the Member States for the gradual return of tourism.

Spain and eleven other countries are pressing for a European Recovery Plan for the tourism sector that pays attention to the specific problems of the most affected countries and territories and, in particular, to the outermost regions and islands.

The tourism chief said Spain welcomed the recommendations on tourism and transport issued by the Commission on May 13 to restore freedom of movement and gradually lift coordinated border controls between member states and travel restrictions.

She also said that a “phased approach” to tourism is the best way to approach cross-border travel.

She added: “We believe that a phased approach, coordinated and agreed among Member States, is the best way to achieve a gradual normalisation of cross-border travel; therefore, we must coordinate to lift the confinement and quarantine regulations, as well as in the restoration of tourism and transport services.”

It comes as Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya told the BBC Today programme that Spain is aiming to become the “safest destination in Europe”.

She also said that she hopes her country will open in June but that the popular Canary Islands and Balearics will be first.

Arancha also said that the bigger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona that have suffered most from COVID-19 will not be able to open to tourists straightaway.

She added: “Some of our territories, like the islands, are COVID-19 free. They can open faster.”

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot

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Travel

Campsites reopen: Camping trips could start up again ‘in July’ ready for summer

Holidays abroad this summer are looking more unlikely due to the UK Government’s temporary quarantine rules which are set to come into play next month. But although a sunshine-soaked break in Spain may not be not be on your list this summer, many Britons are looking at going camping instead.

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In fact, figures from online camping site Cool Camping are seeing that summer bookings for campsites have soared by 500 percent in the past week.

The website said: “There’s clearly a pent-up demand to get away.

“The mooted date of July 4 is ideal timing for summer and could save many businesses who have had no income.”

And now, Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has said that campsites could be open “potentially in July”.

Ms Coffey told Sky News: “I know there are a lot of campsites that are very keen for people to come.

“Some of this is being carefully considered, recognising that we have a reduced outdoor transmission risk, that things like camping may well become suitable.

“But that is a decision that still needs to be taken for later this year, potentially in July or even later in the year, recognising that we need to do all we can to keep that ‘R rate’ below one, the number of infections down, and we need to be careful when we take those steps.”

Camping has not been previously mentioned by the Government but some assume that campsites will fall into phase three of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to ease lockdown.

Caravan parks are also hoping to open to the public this summer.

Many caravan and holiday parks are aiming to restart in Phase three of the Government’s plan.

Phase three is anticipated to begin in July, subject to scientific and medical data.

According to a 50-page plan published by the government, phase three will allow for: “Some hospitality businesses being permitted to reopen ensuring they can provide safe environments and strictly enforce social distancing measures.”

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Caravan parks are also hoping to open to the public this summer.

Many caravan and holiday parks are aiming to restart in Phase three of the Government’s plan.

Phase three is anticipated to begin in July, subject to scientific and medical data.

According to a 50-page plan published by the government, phase three will allow for: “Some hospitality businesses being permitted to reopen ensuring they can provide safe environments and strictly enforce social distancing measures.”

Currently, quarantine rules are in place for anyone arriving in the UK from abroad which has potentially deterred Britons from going abroad for a holiday.

The new rules state that anyone arriving into the UK will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

However, the rules will not be put in place until June next month, according to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Anyone caught breaking the rules could be subject to a fine of up to £1,000.

Once visitors have completed 14 days of quarantine they can then mix with the general population.

Dan Yates, Managing Director of Pitchup.com, told The Daily Telegraph that he thinks that “time will be tight” for camping businesses hoping to make money this summer.

He said: “In short, with a date of ‘no earlier’ than July 4, time will be tight to capitalise on this summer.

“Typically, the peak begins in the third week of July with the start of the school holidays, and ends at August Bank Holiday.

“That said, we live in hope of an Indian summer.”

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Transport

Delta CEO Outlines Carrier’s Safety Guidelines

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has sent a letter to the carrier’s customer base, telling passengers that as the world starts to reopen for business the safety of travelers remains paramount.

“That’s why layers of protection are now in place at every touchpoint of your journey, from beginning to end,” Bastian wrote.

Bastian has been proactive in keeping customers apprised of what Delta has been doing to battle the coronavirus; this was his 11th piece of communication since the crisis began earlier this year.

Though airlines have somewhat relaxed their enforcement of passengers wearing a mask, Bastian nonetheless said the safety procedures start with check-in, where fliers will be required to wear a mask until they reach their destination. Delta employees will be wearing them as well, and the airline will provide a mask to passengers who ask for one if they do not have their own.

Surfaces are wiped down throughout the day, starting with kiosks and baggage stations. Plexiglass shields will be in place at Delta check-in and gate counters by the end of May, and customers will be encouraged to maintain a safe distance with decals at check-in, at the gate and on all Delta-owned jet bridges.

“At the gate, you’ll find gate areas and jet bridges disinfected with electrostatic spraying. Before you board, our teams follow an extensive cleaning checklist with authority to hold the flight for additional cleaning if they aren’t satisfied,” Bastian wrote. “This includes safely sanitizing each aircraft with electrostatic spraying before every flight and wiping down tray tables and seatback screens. Boarding will occur from back to front and be limited to 10 customers at a time to minimize your contact with others. You will receive snack bags with a sanitizing wipe at boarding on select flights to reduce onboard service touchpoints.”

More importantly, Bastian said Delta will maintain the integrity of social distancing and will cap capacity at 60 percent for each flight, including blocking the middle seats from use. The air on all aircraft is completely recirculated 10 to 30 times per hour with fresh, outside air or through industrial-grade HEPA filters with similar performance to those used in hospital operating rooms and other highly sensitive environments. Announcements will also encourage passengers to take time when deplaning to create distance for those ahead to exit.

“We are exceeding all travel guidelines set by the U.S. Travel Association, and you have my commitment that we will consistently deliver,” the CEO wrote.

Bastian noted that Delta has processed more than $1.5 billion in cash refunds since January, including $182 million so far this month. He asked for patience as customer service representatives “continue to handle an enormous volume of calls each day.”

If you have travel booked through Sept. 30, 2020, or existing eCredits from flights March 1 through Sept. 30, 2020, there are no change fees to reschedule your trip through Sept. 30, 2022. In addition, tickets purchased between March 1 and May 31, 2020, can be changed without a change fee for a year from your date of purchase.

“While this crisis has made us distance ourselves, the isolation has brought a sense of togetherness as we check in on one another,” Bastian said. “I will continue to communicate with you and ask that you share any feedback you have. You can rest assured that we are taking every step to keep you safe throughout your journey when you are ready to fly with us again.”

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Travel

‘Don’t Come’: Hawaii Enforces Strict Lockdown Measures


Venturing out of a hotel room in Hawaii right now might land you in handcuffs.

A couple sits on an empty section of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu on Saturday, March 28, 2020. Like many cities across the world, Honolulu came to an eerie standstill this weekend as the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the islands. But Hawaii officials went beyond the standard stay-at-home orders and effectively flipped the switch on the state's tourism-fueled economic engine in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. As of Thursday, anyone arriving in Hawaii must undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. The unprecedented move dramatically reduced the number of people on beaches, in city parks and on country roads where many people rely on tourism to pay for the high cost of living in Hawaii. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

Just ask one of the roughly 20 people who’ve been arrested for violating Governor David Ige’s two-week quarantine imposed on all who arrive in the state or travel between its islands.

Hundreds more have been arrested or issued citations for violating other aspects of the state’s emergency orders to combat the coronavirus, which are among the nation’s strictest and have helped to drive down the rate of infection to the second lowest in the country.

State parks and Hawaii’s famous beaches have been closed. Hotels are issuing single-use keys, forcing quarantined guests who leave their rooms to go to the front desk and explain why. Airlines have been encouraged to suspend incoming flights. The state’s visitors bureau has asked media organizations to “refrain from publishing any stories about Hawaii that might encourage people to travel to the islands.”

Pandemic experts credit the strict measures with helping to drive down the number of cases in Hawaii. Just 640 cases had been confirmed as of May 17, one more than the day before, according to Hawaii’s Department of Health. With 45 cases for every 100,000 residents, the state is above only Montana in per-capita infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Fewer than 10 new cases per day have been reported since mid-April while most other states continue to report might higher numbers.

Being thousands of miles from the nearest continent and reachable almost exclusively by air travel puts Hawaii in a unique position to not just contain the virus, but potentially eradicate it there, said Dr. Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

“By every metric that we follow they’ve done a terrific job in being able to stop the spread,” he said. “If you can get the community spread under control and you can implement strict screening of passengers, you really can stop the epidemic in their state.”

Ige has signaled he plans to maintain the tough stance on arriving travelers, even as several parts of the mainland U.S. begin to reopen their economies. While the state has already begun to reopen recreational draws including some state parks, beaches and golf courses with social distancing measures, Ige last week said he planned to extend the travel quarantine through the end of June.

The measures have come at a severe cost to Hawaii’s tourism industry, which accounts for a fifth of its economy. Some 10 million visitors spent $17.8 billion in the state last year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“The million dollar question now is how long are these restrictions going to stay in place,” said Dan Dennison, a spokesman for the state’s COVID-19 Joint Information Center.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Hawaii's Coronavirus Curve

Air travel to Hawaii has plunged by roughly 98%, a decline more severe than the U.S. overall where airline boardings are down closer to 90%. Only a few hundred people have arrived in the state each day since late March compared to roughly 30,000 daily in the same period last year, according to figures from the Hawaii Business, Economic Development & Tourism department.

Those who do arrive may leave the airport only after going through an elaborate procedure.

First, passengers are given a temperature check and those shown to have elevated temperatures receive an additional medical screening by paramedics stationed at the airport.

Those who pass that must then provide a declaration listing their name, mobile phone number and hotel information to airport personnel who then verify the details are accurate, including dialing the traveler’s number to ensure that it rings, and contacting the traveler’s hotel to verify they have a reservation.

“If they refuse, they will be handed to law enforcement, right there,” Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said. Travelers will be sent home if they’re unwilling to make a hotel reservation or unable to afford one.

“That has happened several times, dozens of times actually, and a law enforcement officer will stay with that person at the gate and watch them get back on a flight to the city they came from,” he said.

Finally, passengers must then sign a legal document acknowledging they’ll abide by the 14-day quarantine before being allowed to leave the airport.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Hawaii's Empty Airports

State officials then will make at least three follow-up phone calls to verify travelers are complying with the quarantine. The state has also launched a smartphone app to help with the process.

Hotels, too, have been enlisted to help enforce the quarantine. Staff have provided tips to law enforcement about travelers leaving their rooms, Sakahara said.

Recently, the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association asked hoteliers to issue single-use use room keys that allow guests to only enter their room once, thereby forcing those that break quarantine to request a replacement key from the front desk. Most hotels have agreed to enforce the policy, according to a list posted on a state legislature website.

“If they violate this law, we encourage the front desk to report them to the authorities,” association president Mufi Hannemann said in a note to hotels.

So far about 20 people have been arrested for violating the state’s quarantine order, including a couple on their honeymoon and a trio apprehended in their hotel’s pool, according to authorities. Violators face as much as a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

“Quarantine means that you stay in your room. You can’t go to the pool. You can’t go to any facility at the hotel. You get your meals delivered,” Ige told reporters in April. “And when visitors understand that’s what it is and that we’ll enforce it, we are pretty confident they’ll choose not to be here.”

Plummeting demand and the state’s quarantine orders were cited by the U.S. Transportation Department’s decision to allow American Airlines Inc. to suspend flights to three of the state’s airports through mid-August. United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Alaska Airlines Inc. got approval to halt services to the same locations through September.

Airlines have also reduced service to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, with the only flights from the U.S. mainland originating from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, California, Sakahara said.

Hawaiian Airlines Inc. likewise received permission to suspend long-haul service between Honolulu and eight major U.S. cities, including New York, Boston, Las Vegas and Seattle. Ige as well as city and county leaders told federal officials they supported the cutbacks in their effort to blunt the virus.

“My primary goal is protecting the health and safety of the citizens of the three islands and jurisdiction that I care for and represent,” Michael Victorino, mayor of Maui County, wrote in an April 9 letter to the Transportation Department. “We rely on the significant contributions air transportation provides to our economy. We look forward to a time when we can once again welcome visitors to our islands.”

Jeff Schlegelmilch, deputy director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, said the tourism sector’s outsized role in the state’s economy will make it very difficult to welcome visitors once again, even after the quarantine order’s current May 31 expiration date.

“When you reopen, if the virus is still burning all around you, you’re allowing that into your community again,” he said. “They have control over the island but they don’t have control over everywhere around them, and I don’t think there’s a viable exist strategy until there’s something more significant on the pharmaceutical front. I think they’re in this for the long haul.”

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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The stunning winning images from a landscape photography contest

The stunning winning images from a landscape photography contest that showcase the beauty of planet earth, from the USA to Norway

  • Landscape Photography Competition is run by The Independent Photographer – a network of photographers 
  • Entries came from snappers from more than 60 countries  and were whittled down to finalists and winners
  • Stephen King’s ‘Winter Wonderland’ image – of a spring snowstorm in Hokkaido, Japan – took first place 

Stunning locations captured by the finalists of the 2020 Landscape Photography Competition showcase the Earth’s beauty in a unique series of images.

In Eric Melzer’s other-worldly ‘Solar Storm’, water ripples in eerily perfect formation around the Ivanpah Solar Station in California. John Kimwell Laluma’s incredible ‘Density’ captures the courtyard of a Macau apartment building from a whole new point of view and Olivier Jarry-Lacombe takes to the skies to capture ‘Paradise Island’ – an unusual Norwegian location.

The Landscape Photography Competition is run by The Independent Photographer – an international network of photographers and photography enthusiasts that reaches over one million visitors every year.

Olivier Jarry-Lacombe snapped this incredible aerial image in Norway. He called the picture ‘Paradise Island’ 

This image shows a wintry scene in the Arches National Park in Utah. The mesmerising snap was taken by Ben Riley and was named an editor’s pick 

Photographer Jay Kazen impressed the judges with this jaw-dropping image of a waterfall in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

This incredible scene was captured by Stefano Tomassetti in Bagan, Myanmar. The image is simply called ‘Balloons over Bagan’ 


On the left is the winning image – ‘Winter Wonderland’. It was taken by Stephen King during a spring snowstorm in Hokkaido, Japan. On the right is an image by Mark Boyle called ‘Sensual Curves’, which was shortlisted. It was captured in Injidup Bay in Yallingup, Western Australia

Photographer Stephen King also captured this serene scene over the Remarkables mountain range in the Otago region on the South Island of New Zealand 

The monthly competition offers up to £1,645 ($2,000) in cash prizes and is committed to helping emerging artists kick-start their professional careers.

After sorting through entries from over 60 countries, photographer and judge Thomas Heaton whittled the selection down to winners, finalists and editor’s picks.

Stephen King’s ‘Winter Wonderland’ took first place – his image capturing ‘an unexpected spring snowstorm in Hokkaido, Japan’. 

Mr Heaton said: ‘The photographer has created an image that can only be described as a piece of fine art.

Christopher Baker scooped the runner-up medal with this image of the Pyramid of Khafre in the Giza Necropolis, Egypt 

This amazing shot of the Great Wall of China was captured by Joshua Cavalier, who came third in the contest 

Photographer Eric Melzer’s other-worldly image ‘Solar Storm’. It shows water rippling in eerily perfect formation around the Ivanpah Solar Station in California


Photographer Sid Ghosh took two editor’s picks. One shows the Italian Dolomites, left, and the other is of a dramatic scene at Mount Cook in New Zealand, right 

This image was an editor’s pick and was snapped by photographer Nathaniel Perales in the Pacific North West in the U.S

‘The pastel colours, subtle tones, and beautiful arrangement of trees give this image a painterly quality which instils peace and calm in the viewer.’

Christopher Baker took second place with his unique ‘Pyramid of Khafre’ image taken in Giza Necropolis, Egypt. 

Mr Heaton said of Mr Baker’s work: ‘The Pyramids are a great place of wonder. They are shrouded in mystery and hold so many untold secrets. The photographer has captured this perfectly.

This eye-catching image was taken by Dan Tomic in the mesmerising Shey Phoksundo National Park in Nepal. The picture was an editor’s pick


Peter Dyndiuk snapped the image on the left in the Hoh Rainforest in Washington State. It shows a ‘nursery log’ – a large dead tree that serves as a breeding ground for new trees. On the right is a jaw-dropping image of Waihilau Falls in Hawaii taken by photographer Stuart Chape

This hypnotic ‘editor’s pick’ photograph of the Grimsel Pass in Switzerland was taken by Michael Blann


The beautiful image on the left was an editor’s pick, snapped in Alaska by Janessa Anderson. On the right is a jaw-dropping image of Monument Valley in Arizona that was shot by Cole Udall

John Kimwell Laluma’s stunning image ‘Density’ shows the courtyard of a Macau apartment building from a whole new point of view

Jason Marino captured sunset at Vermilion Lakes in Banff National Park, Alberta. The image was an editor’s pick 

‘I am unsure if the photographer used intentional camera movements or took a double exposure, but the resulting image has that almost perfect symmetry – bold shapes and strong lines, whilst softening and hiding much of the unwanted details that may have been a distraction.’

Joshua Cavalier rounded out the top three with his third-place image ‘Jinshanling, The Great Wall’, taken in the iconic Chinese location. 

Mr Heaton said: ‘The Great Wall is one of the most iconic wonders and thus presents a multitude of challenges for photographers.

‘Extensively photographed over the years, almost continually flooded with tourists, and subject to natural weather conditions, capturing the perfect shot is no easy task.

‘Joshua Cavalier successfully overcame every challenge to create an image well worthy of its subject – perfectly composed, timed, and framed with a vantage point depicting the landmark void of people.’

For more, visit www.independent-photo.com

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Travel

Airlines are ‘taking advantage’ of the pandemic to offload costly staff, say unions

Unions representing aviation staff have accused airlines of “taking advantage” of the coronavirus pandemic to get rid of more expensive staff.

Diana Holland, assistant general secretary for transport for the Unite union, told the Transport Select Committee that British Airways was using the crisis to make redundant “legacy” staff who enjoy the best terms and conditions.

“This is taking advantage of a very difficult situation to push through something that is totally unacceptable,” she said.

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Unite represents most BA cabin crew. Ms Holland said that 93 per cent of members were feeling anxious, and 61 per cent reported depression.

One member of cabin crew has been sectioned, and two others had had heart attacks.

“The impact is absolutely devastating,” she said.

The Independent has asked British Airways for a response.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa), told the committee: “Airlines are exaggerating the problem.

“We’re in a trough at the moment. We will be coming out of it in the next two-and-a-half years, and airlines are egging the pudding too much to take advantage of the crisis, to make changes and downsize their workforce.

“This is an opportunistic land-grab by some of these airlines exploiting this situation.

“There should be a moratorium on job losses.

“We need to work out how the whole of aviation is going to recover.”

He also said that the government was making the situation worse because of the plan for quarantine for arrivals to the UK from June.

Jason Holt, chief executive of the ground-handling company Swissport UK, told the committee that the aviation industry was desperate: “This is a fight for survival. We are hand to mouth and we are running out of cash.

“At the moment there is not any coherence, from Treasury or No 10, with regard to the aviation sector.

“We don’t need bail-outs. We need cash-flow assistance.”

Mr Holt said “If the government remains asleep at the wheel, and our competitors in other parts of Europe – France, Germany and elsewhere – will shoot past us as we head towards a car crash.

“If we go bust, it will take many, many years for the aviation sector – which is the pride of the European skies – to get back on its feet.”

Kelly Tolhurst, the aviation minister, said: “We are in unprecedented times. We are working internationally with our neighbours who are facing some of the same challenges that we are.

“We will work hard to make sure we are clear about how we will work with the industry in order get that recovery that is required.

“We haven’t been asleep at the wheel.”

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Travel

NSW to allow regional holidays from June 1

New South Wales residents will be allowed to travel regionally, including for holidays, from June 1, the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian confirmed that while regional areas would be able to welcome tourists – holidays would now be very different than they were prior to the pandemic.

“You can go on a holiday with your family and friends, but know the holiday you’re taking from 1 June will be different to a holiday you have taken before,” she said.

“We want people to enjoy themselves, to feel free, but nothing we do is the same during a pandemic.”

Ms Berejiklian advised that tourists travelling around NSW would need to take extra care and plan ahead, book online and keep away from large crowds – reiterating that holidays in 2020 would be very different to what we’ve experienced before.

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NSW holidays are back on from June 1.Source:Supplied

“Think about opportunities to enjoy the environment in a different way,“ the Premier said.

“From that date, many of our cultural institutions, our art galleries, museums, libraries, will be able to open their doors. But again, they’ll have special qualifications. It may involve having a special time to allow the most vulnerable to use the facilities, it does mean booking ahead, but making sure you leave a record if you are visiting one of places.

“We want people to enjoy the extra freedom, but it means you need to think ahead and plan ahead, and accept that nothing we did before the pandemic will be quite the same during the pandemic. Please treat the good news with caution.”

During the pandemic, NSW is just one of two states to keep borders open during the pandemic. Tasmania, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia closed their borders as an extreme measure to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.

RELATED: New Zealand considers extra public holidays to encourage travel

Ms Berejiklian said NSW is open to all of AustraliaSource:istock

But Ms Berejiklian said she had no intention of turning interstate travel away.

“New South Wales is always open to welcome people from other states,” she said.

“We intend to keep our borders open. We think that’s best for New South Wales but also best for Australia.”

In addition to the relaxing of travel measures across the state, Ms Berejiklian confirmed pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes in NSW would be able to double their number of patrons within a month.

“Absolutely,” the Premier said when asked if the number would double within a month.

“That’s definitely on the cards. We’re looking forward to continuing to have those conversations with industry and the health experts but we’re also really pleased, can I say, the way in which the community has respected the restrictions.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warns holidays now will be much different than prior to the pandemic. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins.Source:AAP

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has urged state and territory governments to follow the lead of NSW and reopen their borders to domestic holiday-makers when safe.

“Even if some states don’t let us travel there, we’ll invite the other states here,” Ms Berejiklian told The Daily Telegraph.

“Those states who’ve got border controls in place, assuming we’ve continued to see very low rates of transmission of COVID-19, ought to be looking at opening up their borders,” he told Nine on Tuesday.

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Airline says passengers must ask to use the bathroom on upcoming flights


As airlines across the globe tackle plans to make travelers feel safe in a post-coronavirus world, one budget carrier is implementing a surprising strategy.

a close up of a door: Irish budget airline Ryanair announced that it will no longer allow passengers to wait in line for the bathroom on flights. Instead, they will have to ask for permission.

Ryanair, based in Dublin, announced on its website last week that it will require passengers to ask to use the lavatory on flights to prevent lines and crowding.

The decision is part of a series of changes that the airline hopes will minimize the spread of the coronavirus on board when it expands its services come July. The airline plans to return to 40% of its normal schedule and 90% of its route network starting Wednesday, July 1.


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Personal details of 9 million easyJet customers accessed in major cyber attack

Airline easyJet said the details of nine million customers have been “accessed” by hackers in a major cyber attack.

The Luton-based carrier said the figure includes 2,208 customers who had their credit card details exposed but there is no evidence that the data has been “misused.”

“There is no evidence that any personal information of any nature has been misused, however… we are communicating with the approximately nine million customers whose travel details were accessed to advise them of protective steps to minimise any risk of potential phishing,” the airline said in a statement.

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“We’re sorry that this has happened, and we would like to reassure customers that we take the safety and security of their information very seriously.

“EasyJet is in the process of contacting the relevant customers directly and affected customers will be notified no later than 26 May.”

The airline added that it is working with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and National Cyber Security Centre to get to the bottom of the attack.

Those whose credit card details were accessed should already have been contacted by the airline, while anyone else affected will be contacted by 26 May.

In the meantime, easyJet is advising customers to be “extra vigilant, particularly if they receive unsolicited communications” in case the hackers use the stolen details for phishing scams.

CEO Johan Lundgren added that easyJet, like other businesses, must “stay agile to stay ahead of the threat.”

He said: “Since we became aware of the incident, it has become clear that owing to Covid-19 there is heightened concern about personal data being used for online scams.”

Ryan Gracey, solicitor and technology law specialist at law firm Gordons, called the attack “significant”.

“There is no evidence that any personal information of any nature has been misused, however .. we are communicating with the approximately 9 million customers whose travel details were accessed to advise them of protective steps to minimise any risk of potential phishing,” a spokesperson said.

“We’re sorry that this has happened, and we would like to reassure customers that we take the safety and security of their information very seriously.

“EasyJet is in the process of contacting the relevant customers directly and affected customers will be notified no later than 26th of May.”

“The General Data Protection Regulation makes it clear that organisations must be accountable for the personal data they hold,” he said. “This includes ensuring proper technical and organisational measures are in place to protect personal data against unauthorised or unlawful access and disclosure.

“Aside from reputational damage, EU regulators have the power to issue significant fines for those firms who have their data breached.”

Ray Walsh, digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy.com, advises all easyJet customers to be cautious.

“Anybody who has ever purchased an easyJet flight is advised to be extremely wary when opening emails from now on,” he says. ”Phishing emails that leverage data stolen during the attack could be used as an attack vector at any point in the future. As a result, it is important for consumers to be vigilant whenever they receive unsolicited emails or emails that appear to be from easyJet, as these could be fake emails that link to cloned websites designed to steal your data.”

He recommends updating the password for any easyJet accounts, plus updating the passwords on any other accounts that use the same password.

EasyJet flights have largely been grounded since the coronavirus pandemic resulted in travel restrictions being imposed around the globe.

It’s not the first time an airline has suffered a serious cyber attack. In 2018, British Airways had the credit card details of hundreds of thousands of its customers stolen by hackers, prompting a record £183 million fine, while Delta and Cathay Pacific were both targeted the same year.

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Atlantic beach towns brace for summer vacationers — but know it won't be the same


After a stressful year, Terri Senter couldn’t be more ready for a beach vacation. But the coronavirus has thwarted her plans at every turn.



a group of people walking on a city street: People walk on the boardwalk as the area re-opens from the coronavirus pandemic on May 10, 2020 in Ocean City, Maryland. A popular summer tourist destination Ocean city reopened the beach but town officials said the initial reopening was designed primarily for locals.


© Eric Thayer, Getty Images
People walk on the boardwalk as the area re-opens from the coronavirus pandemic on May 10, 2020 in Ocean City, Maryland. A popular summer tourist destination Ocean city reopened the beach but town officials said the initial reopening was designed primarily for locals.

Senter and her husband, Gene, booked a trip from home in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Daytona Beach, Florida, for early May. When the chances of the city reopening by that point seemed remote, she rebooked for June 15, assuming the pandemic would have played out by then. Now with that date a few weeks away, she figures there’s still a heightened chance of contracting COVID-19. That’s a risk she’s unwilling to take as caregiver to her 90-year-old mother.

“I keep trying to tell myself so many people have it way worse off than we do,” said Senter, who worries she may lose the $1,000 in reservations she has plunked down already. “But that doesn’t discount my feelings. I am disappointed.”

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Other families are facing the same tough decisions about their vacations this year.

A visit to the eastern shore is a rite of summer for many. From Maine to Florida, Atlantic beach towns attract visitors ready to frolic in the waves, savor fries or frozen custard on the boardwalk or simply soak up rays under a beach umbrella.

But this year, fears of the coronavirus are throwing plans by the wayside. Those who considered the annual trek to East Coast beaches as fundamental as visiting family at Thanksgiving are being forced to reconsider.

The fears go beyond simply a higher risk of catching the virus. Inconsistent policies by states and communities are making it hard to plan as local leaders decide how to best try to salvage local economies while emerging from strict stay-at-home orders. 

Policies vary widely in some states, a hodgepodge of rules from one beach town to the next. In others, the states have rules in place that impede summer visitors.

In Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo said the next phase of reopenings won’t likely occur until after Memorial Day, including the continued closure of beaches.

In Middletown, Rhode Island, the town administrator said details on how to handle summer beach visitors were still being worked out. “Each beach is different, and the town council needs to decide what’s best for Middletown,” Town Administrator Shawn Brown said in an email.

Tourism-related businesses have been stymied by a policy of requiring out-of-staters to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“I’m hoping it’s the first week of June that the quarantine is lifted, but by July 1 at the latest,” said Walter Andrews, general manager of the Newport Marriott, the largest hotel in Newport, Rhode Island. “It’s crucial we have a date. I can’t make a move without direction from the state.”

New York state beaches will reopen the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. In announcing the reopening, the state joins New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut. 

But expect to find new rules at any beach. Those flocking to Cocoa Beach, Florida, must not gather in groups of more than five and must stay at least six feet from other groups. Violators face potential $500 fines. Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina has limited groups to 10 and doesn’t allow sunbathing or just sitting — only “non-stationary exercise activities” like walking, jogging, swimming and surfing/water sports.

As summer nears, the restrictions could ease and the crowds will follow, beach town locals predict.

“People are tired of being cooped up in the house, and once the governor gives that OK, it’s going to get crowded again,” said Devon Byrd, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

But if COVID-19 starts making a comeback, the rules — and perhaps new ones — could be reimposed. Against that backdrop of uncertainty, families are having to lay bets about whether try to attempt their usual vacations.

Scott Kessler of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, and his family typically visit Virginia Beach several times a year. They stay at the Best Western Sandcastle on 13th Street. They always eat at Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant. They schedule their trips for August or September so they can attend an Old Dominion University football game.

This year, the plan was to go Sept. 4 to watch Old Dominion University play Wake Forest University, then make a weekend of it by getting in some beach time. Facing COVID-19, Kessler is uncertain if that will happen. 

a wooden bench sitting in front of a building: A man rides a bike on the boardwalk as the area reopens from the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, May 10, 2020 in Ocean City, Maryland.

“We’re likely going to wait to see what happens to the virus before we make any concrete plans,” Kessler said. 

He’s hoping conditions are better later in the summer. Even if he can go, he knows it won’t be the same. 

Kessler said they probably won’t eat at Captain George’s. They’ll still likely take a swim in the ocean, but do so while practicing social distancing. 

Going to a crowded football game is a concern, but if the family goes, Kessler said they’ll wear face masks.

Amie Michael of Mount Sidney, Virginia, usually goes with her family to Virginia Beach shortly after school is out for the year. She’s a teacher and with one child still in high school and another in college; it’s an end-of-school-year celebration. They’re waiting to see what happens.

“It has been booked for months,” she said. “We are still hoping to go, but will cancel if the beach doesn’t open.”

If they do go, dining and activities around towns could be challenges. Even though popular Rehoboth Beach in Delaware’s boardwalk and beach have reopened, bars and restaurants are still takeout only. Short-term rentals and hotels are also not yet back. 

Merchants, whose fortunes depend on strong summer business, are hoping for the best. They know this will be a summer like no other — both in terms of how many customers to expect and the precautions they will need to take to keep them safe. 

“I think it could be a healthy mix of apprehension and excitement,” said Karen Sphar, executive vice president of the Southport Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina. “If you are a business owner, you are extremely excited and ready to go. You may have been limping along a little bit, but now you are looking forward to getting business back into your establishment.”

a person standing in front of a fence: Danielle Glassman, New Brunswick, and Paul Lavadera, Long Branch, walk along the north end of the Ocean Grove, NJ, boardwalk, May 5, 2020, with a “Sorry We’re Closed” sign behind them. The art is signed by #JackGreenArt and stands on the border with Asbury Park near the Casino building.

Vacationers may want to isolate themselves in beach shacks or seaside apartments that they can treat as their own homes with less worry about the coronavirus left behind by past guests. They will be encouraged to shun crowds.

“People want to get away and have a safe vacation,” said Isaac Baker, marketing director for Treasure Realty in Topsail Beach, North Carolina. “There’s no better place to be than in the sunshine on the beach.”

Contributing: Laura Damon; Hunter Ingram, Adam Van Brimmer, Jannette Pippin, Patrick Hite, Laura Peters, Leanna Smith, Katie Nussbaum, Rick Neale, Karen Croke, Rebecca King, Eric Williams, Danny LoGiudice


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