Some airlines still aren’t selling alcohol aboard flights, and it’s one of the changes flight attendants hope will stay in place as travel rebounds

Airline Drink
Alcohol has been involved in some violence attacks against flight attendants.

  • Some flight attendants told Insider they favor limiting alcohol sales on flights due to recent violent outbreaks.
  • Airlines like Southwest, United, and American have delayed bringing back in-flight alcohol service.
  • Flight attendants previously told Insider the pandemic made passengers more aggressive.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For one Los Angeles-based flight attendant, not serving alcohol on board was the best part of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airlines reduced interaction between crew members and passengers by limiting in-flight snack and drink options – one of those changes being getting rid of alcoholic beverages.

Delta and American Airlines, for instance, stopped offering alcohol to economy passengers on domestic flights beginning the summer of 2020. Southwest and American reported an increase in passengers drinking their own booze on board, a move banned by the Federal Aviation Administration that can result in fines of up to $11,000.

But the LA-based flight attendant isn’t in any rush to bring alcohol back on board as travel rebounds following pandemic lows, despite her passengers still asking for drinks.

“When we have problems that escalate, they would be escalated ten times more if they were fueled by alcohol,” the flight attendant told Insider. She and other flight attendants Insider spoke to for this article wished to remain anonymous so they could speak without fear of retaliation.

Now, many airlines are extending the ban on booze. Southwest, for instance, announced it would not resume alcohol service until the end of July due to a recent surge in in-flight disruptions by passengers. United announced it would only offer beer, wine, and hard seltzer on flights longer than 800 miles, and American has suspended alcohol in the main cabin altogether.

Delta, however, resumed serving limited alcohol in the main cabin in mid-April after suspending the service during the pandemic.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our people and customers, and as such, we will not tolerate any unsafe behavior,” a Delta spokesperson told Insider. “We are confident in the robust set of procedures and support systems we have in place and do not plan to remove or adjust alcohol service at this time.”

Flight attendants say alcohol fuels already tense interactions about mask mandates

Flight attendants previously told Insider the COVID-19 pandemic made passengers more aggressive with them due to differences over mask policies. Airlines have banned thousands of passengers for violating onboard mask policies, and the Federal Aviation Administration proposed fines of more than $100,000 against four airline passengers accused of unruly behavior towards crew members.

Daz, a Las Vegas-based flight attendant for a major carrier, said eating and drinking on board made it more difficult for him to enforce mask policies. He said some passengers would wear masks incorrectly under the guise of slowly eating and drinking.

“Those are the things that irritate me because I can’t really dictate to you how to eat and drink your food,” Daz told Insider. “That’s definitely an annoying part of it, the whole mask compliance and people kind of using it to work the system a little bit.”

The FAA proposed a $15,000 penalty against one JetBlue Airlines passenger who hit and yelled obscenities to a flight attendant after consuming champagne from a first-class passenger, according to a release. The FAA fined another passenger $15,000 for yelling at a flight attendant after consuming his own alcohol.

A San Francisco-based flight attendant said she deplaned two passengers in the last year and a half due to them not abiding by federal mask mandates. She said all of the instances where passengers got overly aggressive about the mask policies were when they had been drinking.

“I think that a lot of people are not happy about having to wear the mask,” she said. “In my opinion, the only time it’s been a problem is someone who has also been drinking.”

Got a tip? If you are a flight attendant who would like to share your experience, email the author at aakhtar@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The new CDC mask guidelines are confusing and could actually make the spread of COVID-19 worse, a group of leading physicians said

Walmart lifts mask restrictions
  • The CDC’s new mask guidelines could mean more people catch the virus indoors, experts said.
  • The CDC got the science right for fully vaccinated people, but the guidelines lacked context, they said.
  • The guidelines could give the “misimpression” mask mandates were over, they said.
  • ,See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New federal mask guidance that says fully vaccinated Americans can go maskless in most settings risks more people catching coronavirus at work or in public, a leading expert has warned.

Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, a physician at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), said that the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance was scientifically sound. But the CDC had not given enough detail in its guidance, allowing for the “misimpression” that the mask mandates have been lifted, he said.

Therefore, the guidelines “could lead to increased risk in public spaces and workplaces with preventable COVID-19 spread primarily among the unvaccinated,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday, hosted by the IDSA.

The CDC guidance recommended that unvaccinated people still have to wear masks. Fully vaccinated people don’t need a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings. Businesses and states can make their own rules.

Duchin said that the information from the CDC was “suboptimal.”

“The return to normal activities is safe for vaccinated people, there is no debate about this fact. However, the announcement led to widespread confusion and frustration because it was unexpected and needed context,” Duchin, the Society’s liaison to the CDC immunization committee, said.

“There was no information on how to apply the guidance in practice, particularly related to the inability to verify vaccination status,” he said.

Duchin suggested that the CDC shouldn’t have issued a blanket statement, but instead made recommendations according to the number of coronavirus cases, or the proportion of vaccinated people, in an area.

Most Americans aren’t vaccinated. So far, less than 40% of Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Less than 30% of people in Wyoming are fully immunized, the lowest of any state, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Read more: How coronavirus variants called ‘escape mutants’ threaten to undo all our progress

The majority of states have followed the CDC’s more relaxed guidelines.

Duchin, who is also King County’s health officer, Washington State, issued a directive on Thursday that strongly urged all Washingtonians older than five to continue to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. Washington State’s Gov. Inslee said in the wake of the CDC’s update on May 13 that individual businesses may require masks for vaccinated people, but that there was no state requirement.

Duchin said King County “needed more time to get disease rates down and vaccination rates up before doing anything that would weaken our indoor mask mandates,” per CIDRAP. “The CDC guidance makes absolute sense in many areas, but many places are not there yet.”

Duchin’s comments follow a joint statement from the IDSA and the HIV Medicine Association issued Monday that acknowledged that the CDC’s recommendations were based on science, but that the “CDC should not send a message that the pandemic is over.”

Insider’s Aria Bendix reported May 13 that other experts said the CDC’s guidance was too broad.

Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner and contributing columnist at Washington Post and CNN medical analyst, told CIDRAP that the CDC got “the science right, but policy and communication was really wrong.”

“There are unintended consequences that can endanger people and sew distrust in the CDC,” Wen said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that people were misinterpreting the CDC’s guidance, but that it wasn’t the CDC’s “fault”.

“People either read them quickly, or listen and hear half of it. They are feeling that we’re saying: ‘You don’t need the mask anymore.’ That’s not what the CDC said,” Fauci said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Oregon will require businesses to verify vaccination before letting customers drop masks

oregon mask
People wearing masks in Lake Oswego, Oregon on April 11.

  • Oregon says businesses must ask for proof of vaccination from mask-less customers.
  • Asking for proof of the COVID-19 vaccine could create complications for workers and business owners.
  • Some businesses are worried about enforcing this rule, a spokesman for Oregon Business and Industry told the New York Times.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fully vaccinated Oregonians can now go mask-less in most places. But if you plan on heading to a private business, be prepared to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status.

On May 13, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated Americans will no longer have to mask up as rigorously in most indoor and outdoor locations. And shortly after, on May 18, Oregon updated its face mask and physical distancing protocols to match the CDC’s overhauled guidelines.

But unlike the CDC’s announcement – which left private companies without much guidance – Oregon says workspaces, businesses, and “faith institutions” that want to lift their own mask mandate must have a policy in place for checking the COVID-19 vaccination status of mask-less visitors and patrons. This is a deviation from states like Florida, which have already banned local businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.

As per the CDC’s guidelines, several private companies have also already lifted their own face covering protocols for fully vaccinated customers pending state and local mandates. And a few of these companies – including Costco and Trader Joe’s – have announced they will be relying on the “honor system” instead of requiring proof of vaccination from mask-less customers.

However, this trust system could create “great confusion,” Larry Barton, a professor of crisis management and public safety at University of Central Florida, told Insider.

“I have zero confidence if I’m a retailer that just because someone claims that they’re vaccinated, that they are,” Barton said. “It could be that they’re lazy and they don’t want to put on a mask, or it could be that they’re an anti-vaxxer and simply tell me what they want me to hear.”

Oregon is seemingly trying to stay away from this “honor system” with its new guidance. However, the state’s decision to require businesses to request proof of vaccination from un-masked patrons could create a new set of complications.

And now, several businesses in the state are worried about “putting their frontline workers in a potentially untenable position when dealing with customers,” Nathaniel Brown, a spokesperson for Oregon Business and Industry, told the New York Times’s Bryan Pietsch. OBI represents over 1,600 businesses in the state, according to its website.

“What will we have in society to prove vaccination?” Barton said. “We’re a long, long way from that.”

Barton explains that there are three possibilities of what a customer might do if a business asks them for proof of vaccination: the patron could either show their CDC vaccine card, verification of the vaccine on an app, or defy the protocols and not show any confirmation at all.

“We have serious concerns about the practicality of requiring business owners and workers to be the enforcer,” Sandra McDonough, president and CEO of Oregon Business and Industry, told Insider in an email statement.”We have raised our concerns with the state and asked regulators to give business owners maximum flexibility when it comes to vaccine verification processes.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nearly every US state is dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated people following new CDC guidelines. Here are the current rules in different states.

andrew cuomo mask car
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • The CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans don’t need a mask in most spaces, including indoors.
  • But states can ultimately decide their own rules on mask wearing.
  • Most states relaxed their mask rules, while a few, including California, said they would relax them soon.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a mask outside or in most indoor spaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in guidelines Thursday. Most states immediately took the guidance on board.

States and businesses can still maintain their existing mask rules if they want, and some retailers have already said that fully vaccinated people must continue to wear masks in-store.

After the CDC issued its guidelines, at least fourteen states said they would relax mask-wearing rules. These included Minnesota, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, Connecticut, North Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, Maine, Virginia, and New York.

California said before the CDC announcement that it would lift its mask mandate on June 15.

New Jersey said it was keeping its mask requirements while they review the evidence – making it the only state yet to announce a rule change.

Some states had already got rid of mask mandates before the CDC’s guidelines, including Texas, Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, and Mississippi.

Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have not enforced state-wide mask mandates throughout the pandemic.

Here is how states have reacted to the CDC’s new mask guidelines.

Minnesota

Gov. Tim Walz said in a press conference Thursday that Minnesota’s mask mandate would be dropped completely for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people from Friday.

The confusion of two sets of rules would be “untenable and unworkable,” he said.

Private businesses and local governments could keep mask mandates in place, though, he said.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that the city’s indoor mask requirement would stay in place while her team reviewed the data, consulted health experts, and analyzed the “unique circumstances and vaccination rates for our communities across our city.”

Jan Malcolm, health commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health, recommended that masks should be worn for those who aren’t fully vaccinated, but said dividing people into vaccinated and unvaccinated wasn’t “practically enforceable”

Kentucky

Andy Beshear
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Andy Beshear said in a video posted on Twitter Thursday that Kentucky would immediately follow the CDC guidance.

“You ought to go get your shot of hope if you haven’t,” Beshear said. “If you get vaccinated, the CDC says it’s safe to take that mask off.”

Nevada

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Twitter Thursday that Nevada would immediately follow the latest CDC recommendations.

Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown said in a video address Thursday that Oregon would follow the CDC guidance for vaccinated individuals with immediate effect.

“Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now, rather than worrying about verifying vaccination status, and that’s fine,” Brown said.

Pennsylvania

Junior Molly Day gets her first Pfizer Biontech COVID vaccine at Ridley High School in Ridley, PA
Junior Molly Day gets her first Pfizer BioNTech COVID vaccine at Ridley High School in Ridley, Pennsylvania on May, 3, 2021.

Alison Beam, acting secretary of Pennsylvania’s department of health, said in a statement Thursday that the CDC’s guidelines would automatically go into effect in the state for vaccinated Pennsylvanians.

If you’re not vaccinated, then the state’s current order requires you to wear a mask until Pennsylvania reaches 70% vaccinations in people aged 18 and over.

Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that the state would adopt the CDC guidance with immediate effect. Inslee said that individual businesses may require masks for vaccinated people, but that there was no requirement from the state.

“This is a heck of a benefit for people who have been annoyed by this mask,” Inslee said. “This is a ticket to freedom, that shot is a ticket to freedom from masks, and we hope people will avail themselves to it.”

Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker said on Twitter Thursday that he would revise his executive orders in line with the CDC’s guidelines for vaccinated people.

“The scientists’ message is clear: if you are vaccinated, you can safely do much more,” he said.

Connecticut

Gov. Ned Lamont.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that fully vaccinated people in Connecticut no longer needed a mask in most cases from May 19, in line with the CDC guidance. Unvaccinated people in Connecticut will still require them, though.

Lamont said that he hoped people would “do the right thing,” and that proof of vaccination would not be required.

Masks in school will be in place until the end of the school year, he said.

North Carolina

Roy Cooper
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks to supporters while joined by his wife Kristin during a primary election night party in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Friday that the state will remove its indoor mask mandate in most settings for fully vaccinated people in line with CDC guidance.

Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday on Twitter that from Saturday, all Michiganders that are two weeks out from their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can go without a mask indoors and outdoors.

Maryland

Gov. Larry Hogan said in a news conference Friday that the state would be lifting the mask mandate Saturday, in line with the CDC guidance.

Maine

Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement Friday that Maine was adopting the CDC’s recommendations from May 24.

Virginia

Gov. Ralph Northam lifted Virginia’s universal mask mandate from Friday midnight to align with the CDC guidance.

“It’s very simple. It’s either a shot, or a mask. It’s up to you,” Northam said.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday that New York state was adopting the CDC guidance, and from May 19 New Yorkers no longer required masks if they’re fully vaccinated.

“Be respectful of those who may still feel safest wearing their mask in public and business owners who may still ask patrons to don their mask,” Cuomo added.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

A new face-covering mandate that’s in keeping with the CDC recommendations will come into effect in Massachusetts from May 29.

At the moment, everyone over 5 years-old in Massachusetts must wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status in all indoor public spaces, and outside if physical distancing from non-household members is not possible.

New Jersey

The press secretary for Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Thursday that Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health were reviewing the new CDC guidance on mask requirements.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart and Sam’s Club are dropping their mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers and staff

Walmart
Walmart.

  • Walmart and Sam’s Club are dropping their mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers and workers.
  • The updated guidelines came 1 day after the CDC relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans.
  • The stores will still enforce masks in areas where local and state mask requirements are in place.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fully vaccinated Walmart and Sam’s Clubs customers and store associates will no longer have to wear face masks in-store, according to a memo emailed to employees on Friday.

The stores will still enforce mask requirements in areas where local and state mask laws remain in place.

This new announcement goes into affect immediately for Walmart and Sam’s Club customers, but vaccinated workers will still have to wait until May 18 before they can work without a mask on. Associates who want to work without a mask will have to note that they’re vaccinated in the “daily health assessment.”

The companies are still reviewing mask protocols for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will continue to follow mask mandates depending on city and state guidances, according to the note.

Non-vaccinated patrons are still required to mask up when shopping in a Walmart or Sam’s Club store.

These updated protocols come just one day after the CDC relaxed its face mask guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans. Stores like Costco and Trader Joe’s have since dropped their mask protocols as well, but many companies, including Dollar General and Kroger, will continue to uphold face covering mandates for now.

Walmart first began enforcing a face mask mandate for its 1.5 million US employees in April 2020. This guideline was then extended to include customers in July of that year.

Despite this all-encompassing mandate, the country’s largest retailer still told its associates to let customers who refused to wear a mask continue to shop in order to avoid any “physical confrontations,” CNN reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

8 states lifted mask mandates for vaccinated people following new CDC guidance, while New York, California, and others kept their mandates. Here’s how states responded.

andrew cuomo mask car
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • The CDC said Thursday that fully vaccinated Americans don’t need a mask in most spaces, including indoors.
  • But states can ultimately decide their own rules on mask wearing.
  • Minnesota, Nevada, and others relaxed their mask rules, while others, including New York, are sticking with their current mandates.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear a mask outside or in most indoor spaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in guidelines Thursday. But not all states immediately took the guidance on board.

States and businesses can still maintain their existing mask rules if they want – and some retailers have already said that fully vaccinated people must continue to wear masks in-store.

After the CDC issued its guidelines, eight states said they would relax mask-wearing rules. These were Minnesota, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, and Connecticut.

Other states – including New York state, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and California – say they’re keeping their mask requirements while they review the evidence.

Some states had already got rid of mask mandates before the CDC’s guidelines, including Texas, Montana, Iowa, North Dakota, and Mississippi.

Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have not enforced state-wide mask mandates throughout the pandemic.

Here is how states have reacted to the CDC’s new mask guidelines.

Minnesota

Gov. Tim Walz said in a press conference Thursday that Minnesota’s mask mandate would be dropped completely for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people from Friday.

The confusion of two sets of rules would be “untenable and unworkable,” he said.

Private businesses and local governments could keep mask mandates in place, though, he said.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that the city’s indoor mask requirement would stay in place while her team reviewed the data, consulted health experts, and analyzed the “unique circumstances and vaccination rates for our communities across our city.”

Jan Malcolm, health commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health, recommended that masks should be worn for those who aren’t fully vaccinated, but said dividing people into vaccinated and unvaccinated wasn’t “practically enforceable”

Kentucky

Andy Beshear
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

Gov. Andy Beshear said in a video posted on Twitter Thursday that Kentucky would immediately follow the CDC guidance.

“You ought to go get your shot of hope if you haven’t,” Beshear said. “If you get vaccinated, the CDC says it’s safe to take that mask off.”

Nevada

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Twitter Thursday that Nevada would immediately follow the latest CDC recommendations.

Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown said in a video address Thursday that Oregon would follow the CDC guidance for vaccinated individuals with immediate effect.

“Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now, rather than worrying about verifying vaccination status, and that’s fine,” Brown said.

Pennsylvania

Junior Molly Day gets her first Pfizer Biontech COVID vaccine at Ridley High School in Ridley, PA
Junior Molly Day gets her first Pfizer Biontech COVID vaccine at Ridley High School in Ridley, Pennsylvania on May, 3, 2021.

Alison Beam, acting secretary of Pennsylvania’s department of health, said in a statement Thursday that the CDC’s guidelines would automatically go into effect in the state for vaccinated Pennsylvanias.

If you’re not vaccinated, then the state’s current order requires you to wear a mask until Pennsylvania reaches 70% vaccinations in people aged 18 and over.

Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that the state would adopt the CDC guidance with immediate effect. Inslee said that individual businesses may require masks for vaccinated people, but that there was no requirement from the state.

“This is a heck of a benefit for people who have been annoyed by this mask,” Inslee said. “This is a ticket to freedom, that shot is a ticket to freedom from masks, and we hope people will avail themselves to it.”

Illinois

Gov. JB Pritzker said on Twitter Thursday that he would revise his executive orders in line with the CDC’s guidelines for vaccinated people.

“The scientists’ message is clear: if you are vaccinated, you can safely do much more,” he said.

Connecticut

Gov. Ned Lamont.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that fully vaccinated people in Connecticut no longer needed a mask in most cases from May 19, in line with the CDC guidance. Unvaccinated people in Connecticut will still require them, though.

Lamont said that he hoped people would “do the right thing,” and that proof of vaccination would not be required.

Masks in school will be in place until the end of the school year, he said.

Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker’s office said in a statement to Boston.com on Thursday that it welcomed the new CDC guidance, and would be updating Massachusetts COVID-19 restrictions “in the future.”

“In the meantime, the current mask order remains in place,” the statement said.

At the moment, everyone over 5 years-old in Massachusetts must wear a face covering regardless of vaccination status in all indoor public spaces, and outside if physical distancing from non-household members is not possible.

New Jersey

The press secretary for Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Thursday that Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health were reviewing the new CDC guidance on mask requirements.

North Carolina

Roy Cooper
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks to supporters while joined by his wife Kristin during a primary election night party in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s press secretary said in a statement Thursday that state health officials needed to review the CDC’s recommendations before amending the state’s indoor mask mandate.

“North Carolina two weeks ago removed the outdoor mask mandate, but the indoor mask mandate remains in effect while state health officials review the specific CDC recommendations,” the statement said.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Thursday that the state was reviewing the updated guidance with health experts in New York and surrounding states.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, said on Twitter Thursday that he was looking at the guidelines.

Virginia

Virginia’s mask mandate has not yet changed.

A spokesperson for Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement that Northam’s office was in the process of updating state policy to reflect the CDC’s recommendations. In the meantime, Virginia’s current guidelines remain in effect, they said.

California

Gov. Gavin Newsom said before the CDC guidance on May 12 that the state would eliminate its mask mandate on June 15, when the state plans to fully reopen.

“Only in those massively large [indoor] settings where people from around the world are convening & people are mixing in real dense spaces. Otherwise…no mandates,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cruise lines will have to mandate masks even by the pool and nix buffets for trial sailings without vaccine requirements, CDC says

Mardi Gras Sea Trial
Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras ship.

  • The CDC has unveiled the next two phases of its Conditional Sailing Order.
  • The new phases detail how a cruise’s “simulated” trail sailings should look.
  • New requirements include masking up when poolside, and the potential ceasing of buffet services.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On May 5, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines on how cruise lines should go about trial voyages, providing some insight into how cruising could look when it finally returns after over a year of no-sailing.

In the newly released next two phases of its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), the CDC detailed protocols that should be implemented on these “simulated voyages,” adding that cruise lines now have all the information needed to begin their trials. These sailings are meant to precede the COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate application needed to resume “restricted passenger voyages” again.

However, cruise lines that can prove that 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated will be allowed to skip this test sailing period.

It’s one step closer to the resumption of sailing in July after over a year of no large cruise ships in US waters, but according to the CDC’s guidelines, cruising may not look the same as pre-COVID-19 times.

“These instructions reflect CDC’s reasoned judgement based on the best available current science regarding the subject areas covered in the document,” the CDC wrote in its “COVID-19 Operations Manual for Simulated and Restricted Voyages under the CSO.” “Cruise ship operators should carefully consider and incorporate these instructions in developing their own health and safety protocols.”

Read more: Carnival and Royal Caribbean salaries revealed: From $32,000 to $383,000, here’s how much the cruise industry’s power players pay some of their employees

The CDC’s “requirements” and “recommendations”

roller coaster on Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras ship
The roller coaster on Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras ship.

It should be unsurprising that COVID-19 pandemic protocols are steeped into the trial sailings manual. As a result, some of the CDC’s guidelines will completely alter what traditional cruising once looked like.

The updated manual advises the typical protocols we’ve all grown accustomed to during the pandemic, including reducing face-to-face contact and social distancing around the ship. But if you long for the days of buffets and maskless lounging by the pool, cruise ships may not be the way to go.

The CDC’s mask order will be applied to the ships unless a passenger is eating or drinking for a short amount of time. or inside their own cabin. However, not wearing a mask during an “extended meal service or beverage consumption” is still considered a violation of the mask order.

This means masking up while on the pool deck as well. And while masks won’t have to be worn in the pool, water goers will still have to social distance.

This social distancing guideline will also apply to entertainment areas like show venues, casinos, and mini-golfing, and is why the CDC recommends encouraging passengers to take the stairs instead of elevators if possible.

In regards to dining, the guideline says cruise ships should consider letting passengers order meals ahead of time to limit their duration inside a restaurant, and offer prepackaged meals and single-use items like utensils and menus to limit contact. In line with this, the CDC is advocating for the end of buffet services aboard cruise ships.

The agency also recommends implementing “wearable recording technology [like] proximity bands” to create some form of onboard contact tracing that could tell the wearer when they’re not adhering to social distancing guidelines.

And when it’s time to disembark a ship for shore excursions, options may be limited. The CDC says cruise lines can’t allow “self-guided or independent exploration” at ports, and tour companies must still follow COVID-19 protocols like mask-wearing and social distancing.

“CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising following the phased approach outlined in the CSO,” the agency said in the press release. “This goal aligns with the prospective resumption of passenger operations in the United States by mid-summer, expressed by many major cruise ship operators and travelers.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A man taking a college-entrance exam in Tokyo was disqualified for refusing to keep his mask over his nose

mask
A woman holds a face mask in her hands.

  • A 49-year-old man in Tokyo was disqualified from college-entrance exams for not wearing a mask.
  • The man was told six times to pull his mask up, but he didn’t.
  • When he was barred from the test, he hid in the bathroom and refused to leave until he was arrested.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Japanese man was disqualified from taking the college-entrance exams after he repeatedly refused to keep his face mask up, the local news outlet Asahi Shimbum first reported.

The man, who was not named, was taking the exams at a test center in Tokyo on January 16. 

Proctors asked the student six times to pull his mask up to cover his nose, warning that if they didn’t it could result in disqualification, but he still left it down, Asahi reported.

The behavior was considered intentional disobedience. 

“We made our decision comprehensively because the test-taker, who was not even coughing, continued not to cover the nose intentionally,” an official at the National Center for University Entrance Examinations told Asahi. 

“It is not misconduct to occasionally uncover noses  when participants feel difficulty in breathing,” the official added. “The test-taker was disqualified for repeatedly refusing to follow the instructions.”

After being told he was disqualified, the test-taker went to the bathroom and refused to leave, Mainichi reported.

The 49-year-old man was eventually arrested, according to the outlet.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone who is taking the two-day university entrance exams is required to wear a face mask. 

Those who can’t because of special circumstances are allowed to be unmasked in another room if they apply for permission, but the test taker in this case hadn’t, Asahi reported.

The test-taker didn’t tell his proctor they weren’t wearing the mask or appeared to have “a special circumstance” justifying the behavior, the outlet reported.

The number of new positive COVID-19 cases in Japan has been on a steady rise for the last two weeks. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has had more than 335,000 cases and over 4,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Read the full story in Asahi »»

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