United, Delta, and American Airlines call for Biden lift restrictions and approve transatlantic travel between the US and UK

Scott Kirby 1   Photo by Chip Somodevilla:Getty Images
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby.

  • Airline bosses have called for restrictions on US-UK travel to be relaxed in a joint statement.
  • United Airlines and Delta Air Lines are among the six carriers calling for a travel corridor.
  • Airlines have suffered record losses since the start of the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airline bosses have called the opening of a travel corridor between the US and UK amid both countries’ “world-leading vaccination programmes” in a joint statement released Monday.

The chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and JetBlue joined British carriers Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways in urging President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift travel restrictions between the two countries.

The bosses of the US Travel Association and London’s Heathrow Airport also joined the call ahead of the G7 meeting in Cornwall, England this week.

“There is a clear opportunity to safely open up travel between these two low-risk countries,” the statement said.

The group urged the US government to allow fully vaccinated UK travelers, or those who can show a negative COVID-19 test, to enter the country.

The US is on the UK’s “amber list” for travel, meaning that visitors arriving from the US into the country must quarantine for 10 days, and take two COVID-19 tests.

“Experts have encouraged governments, businesses and the public to follow the science,” United CEO Scott Kirby said. “United and other airlines have done that and implemented the necessary safety protocols to re-open key international routes like the air corridor between our two countries. We are ready.”

Airlines posted record losses in 2020 after the pandemic forced them to suspend international travel. American Airlines reported a $8.9 billion annual loss in 2020.

International airlines are expected to lose up to $157 billion across 2020 and 2021, the International Air Transport Association predicted last year.

Many have announced new incentives to encourage people to travel – United offered its MileagePlus passengers a chance to win a year of free flights.

United said last week that it would require all external US-based hires to be vaccinated against COVID-19, following a similar decision by Delta last month.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The pandemic took the homebody economy mainstream – and it’s here to stay

homebody economy
Elevated home spending will coexist with spending on experiences in a post-pandemic world.

Americans are going on a spending spree.

In a post-stimulus, increasingly vaccinated world, they’re ready to live like it’s 2019 again. They’re buying dresses, jeans, and crop tops and booking beauty services like mani-pedis and haircuts for their hot vaxx summer. They’re taking public transit, dining at bars and restaurants, and taking flight.

It’s good news for the economy, which needs Americans to spend a good portion of the $2.6 trillion they’ve saved during the pandemic to help fuel what could be the biggest boomtime in a generation.

But something is different – the spending on private or homebound matters, which spiked during lockdown, is staying high. Americans’ yearlong stint inside boosted the homebody economy, a phrase coined in 2018 by Vox’s Kaitlyn Tiffany coined to describe the growing market among millennials, who couldn’t afford to do much but stay at home. Now, many Americans seem to be enjoying this way of life, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

Home spending grew at a strong pace in April, according to a Bank of America Research note from May 14. It found that for the week ending May 8th, the average daily spending in home categories grew by 37.8% over a two-year basis. A recent survey by McKinsey & Co. found that consumers intend to continue the investments they made in their home life post-pandemic.

What McKinsey predicts is a “rebalancing” of the homebody economy. What emerged in 2020 is a new category of spending in the form of private consumption, that might be here to stay even as we return to normal. Home improvement, at-home cooking, comforts like bedding and pajamas, and online entertainment may all now get as much attention as experiences like travel and dining out traditionally have.

The home improvement boom

Many Americans turned to home renovation projects during quarantine, the beginning of a long-lasting boom.

Home improvement and repair spending grew by nearly 3% to $420 billion in 2020, per a recent study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). Abbe Will, one of the report’s researchers, previously told Insider they expect the home remodeling market to expand even further in 2021 – by 4% – as homeowners complete discretionary projects or those they put off during quarantine.

Spending at home improvement retailers is currently outpacing spending at product retailers, per the BofA data. And UBS’ Evidence Lab DIY survey found that a record percentage of homeowners are planning projects. In March, 71% showed intention to do a project within the next three months.

contractor home remodel design
Higher spending on home improvement is set to continue through the rest of the year and beyond.

Baby boomers with equity led the home improvement boom, driven by newfound time on their hands, the desire to stay in their homes, and a historic housing shortage. With moving to a different place in such a cutthroat market an unattractive option and the value of homes going up amid record-high housing, they became more willing to spend on remodeling than past generations.

But millennials were cashing in on home projects, too. DIY renovation became a new form of discretionary spending during the pandemic for wealthy millennials, who no longer had travel and brunch to spend on. But it also became a way for the less wealthy subset of the generation to get their hands on a house amid a shrinking housing inventory.

Some, unable to outbid all-cash offers, resorted to buying fixer uppers. Many checked off their smaller, more budget-friendly renovations last year and are now facing more expensive renovations like bathroom and kitchen remodels that will continue to fuel the boom through 2021 and beyond.

Newfound at-home hobbies and luxuries

While home improvement spending has been one of the biggest sectors driving the sustaining homebody economy, the BofA note also found that spending in furnishings and bedding is playing a role. They’re both an offshoot of home renovations, but bedding also symbolizes an upgrade in comfort – with coziness a common theme in pandemic spending.

A spokesperson for Liketoknow.it told Insider’s Bartie Scott in April that consumers “are very much still in the cozy mindset,” continuing shopping for the things that began trending since the start of lockdown: loungewear, matching sets, nap dresses, and home bedding.

Self-care items like pajamas took the place of what Lorna Hall of London-based trend forecasting firm WGSN calls “scheduled spend” – the purchases people regularly made in their pre-pandemic routine, like coffee, commuter fare, and lunches out. These regularly scheduled budgets changed as routines did, but they might have found a permanent place as we change routines yet again. As Hall told Scott, “bedtime is a thing that comes around every day.”

millennial cooking
At-home cooking might be here to stay, even as people venture out to restaurants more.

As part of this routine shift, people also took on new at-home hobbies and domestic activities. The pandemic changed Americans’ cooking prowess, as many turned to the kitchen with nothing better to do. They made more meals at home, experimented with different palates, and focused more on healthy ingredients – all of which could have long-lasting effects on how people cook and shop for years, CNBC’s Melissa Repko reported.

It sparked a resurgence in meal kit delivery services, which McKinsey doesn’t see abating. Between 60% to 70% of respondents said they expect to continue digital food related activities after the pandemic, such as meal-kit delivery services and new store and restaurant apps. Respondents also expect to accelerate their digital spending in pet products and consumer electronics going forward, two categories that are also seeing two-year growth, per BofA data.

Spending on consumer electronics will only enhance the at-home entertainment experience. McKinsey also forecasts that the online entertainment and wellness habits adopted during the pandemic – think the TV watching and streaming surge and the turn to digital fitness apps and social channels – will remain for medium to long term.

A new era for the economy

Now, this isn’t all to say that Americans want to sit in their home forever. After a year locked up, they’re ready to break free and resume normalcy.

Vaccinated consumers are beginning to return to out-of-home activities and spending at near pre-pandemic levels, according to McKinsey. And consumers overall plan to spend extra on travel and mobility, out-of-home entertainment, and restaurants after the pandemic. But they’ve also “made substantial investments in their home life which they want to continue, even after the pandemic subsides,” the report reads.

The private consumption that gained foothold during quarantine finding its way into a post-pandemic landscape says a lot about the American mindset right now. For one, it’s likely that people realized both some of the conveniences and joys of a life at home, such as the ease of a meal kit or the luxury of sleeping in silk pajamas.

It also signals that for all the progress we’ve made, we’re not quite out of the pandemic just yet. The return to normalcy will be gradual, as many people need to more time to unfreeze from the trauma of the pandemic before transitioning to more out-of-home activities.

It’s also a sign of how the pandemic has introduced new ways of life. Some companies have announced long-term remote work options, and some Americans are ready to work from home forever. That means investing in a good home experience is more important than ever.

The predicted economic boomtime could usher in a new era in the US economy, one that will be reshaped by the pandemic. If consumer spending indicates anything, that will include a more pronounced desire for experiences, but also a more pronounced desire for being a homebody.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The UK’s ‘red list’ now bars travel from India to contain the spread of COVID-19 variants. Here’s what it means, which countries are on the list and how it works.

Hotel quarantine arrivals
A couple arrive with their luggage by coach to the Holiday Inn hotel near Heathrow Airport in west London on February 17. Since February, travel to the UK from countries on the ‘red list’ has been subject to mandatory hotel quarantine.

  • India is now on the UK’s “red list” to prevent the spread of a new COVID-19 variant identified there.
  • Travel from the 40 countries on the list is only permitted for UK residents and citizens, after a mandatory quarantine.
  • There are no exemptions to avoid quarantine and no way of being allowed to shorten it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As India’s daily COVID-19 cases surge to global records, the UK has added the country to its “red list” of places from which travel is banned to to prevent the spread of coronavirus and its variants.

The red list could be compared to “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory issued by the US State Department, which now covers most countries in the world because of the coronavirus.

But while that is a plea for US citizens not to go abroad, the red list works in the opposite direction – it forbids travel from 40 countries.

India was added at 4 a.m. on Friday, after 77 cases wre confirmed in the UK of the “double mutant” B.1.617 variant – which contains two mutations of the original virus – that was identified in India.

Before this, anyone who had been there within 10 days could travel to the UK if they self-isolated on arrival and tested negative twice.

Now, only UK and Irish citizens and those who permanently reside in the country can enter – and only after a 10-day quarantine in an approved hotel where they are closely monitored.

A quarantine requirement for 33 countries was first introduced on February 15 to stop the spread of coronavirus variants that may be more transmissible or deadly.

The red list has been expanded in the last two months. Kenya and the Philippines were added on April 9, along with India’s neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not rule out adding France to the list earlier this month but stressed “it would have consequences” given the scale of trade between the two countries.

All the 40 countries are in Central America, South America, Africa, the Middle East or Asia.

The red list in full: Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Countries are added by ministers, who review scientific data and advice from experts in infectious disease at the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, the Department for Transport told Insider.

Ministers consider a country’s capability to monitor and sequence COVID-19 variants, how fast coronavirus is spreading in the community there and the number of cases, and any evidence new variants are coming to the UK from that country.

Those quarantining in hotels must test negative on day two and day eight and cannot leave for any reason. There are no exemptions.

One couple who quarantined in February passed the time by exercising, playing cards and watching 70 episodes of “Suits.”

Travellers must pay the bill. A single person pays £1,750 ($2,435) and every extra person in a party cost another £650 ($904). For children aged between five and 12, it is an extra £325 ($452).

Failure to quarantine can mean a fine of £10,000 ($13,913).

More than 500 people – a tiny proportion of those who’ve travelled to Britain – have been fined for failing to isolate

Lucy Moreton, a spokesperson for the ISU union that represents borders, immigration and customs staff, said there were isolated examples of people refusing to quarantine.

“We are seeing a small number of individuals leaving. They don’t want to go, so they don’t,” she said. “We know in the first 24 hours of starting hotel quarantine in Northern Ireland, three people had left.”

Since the start of the pandemic, police have issued 511 fines in England and Wales to people who failed to self-isolate after arriving from a country on the UK government’s quarantine list, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

The number is 0.0044% of the approximately 11.6 million people who have travelled into the UK since the start of restrictions.

British residents who travel abroad without an essential reason – such as work, education or family – face a £5,000 ($6,957) fine for doing so, until the restriction on international travel is lifted.

The Home Office said it could not provide figures on how many of these fines had been imposed.

A lack of reliable data can result in countries being added to the red list at short notice, long after a COVID-19 outbreak appears to have taken hold.

Professor Linda Bauld, a public health expert at the University of Edinburgh, said Britain’s previous policy of “travel corridors” (in which travel to certain countries with low case rates was allowed with fewer restrictions) suggested it was using a threshold of the number of cases to determine which countries to add.

“That’s almost meaningless because countries are testing at different levels,” she said.

“It’s difficult to say there’s a strong scientific rationale why some countries are on a list and others aren’t, when other countries are likely close to the threshold.”

But Bauld said quarantine has proven effective in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Vietnam that mandated them from an early stage and have kept infections low.

Bauld is producing a paper for the Independent SAGE group, a group of scientists set up to provide an alternative voice to the government’s scientific advisory group, that will urge authorities to waive quarantine fees for low-income passengers who were forced to travel for family reasons such as bereavement.

Before the pandemic, 92 direct flights departed from India to the UK every week, carrying up to 22,737 passengers, according to VisitBritain. Hundreds of thousands more travelled weekly through connecting airports to the UK.

In January, just 631,500 passengers arrived at British airports – down 91% from the 7.1 million who flew into the country the previous January, before the pandemic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We’re living in the golden age of pajamas

GettyImages 992250636
Caroline Daur in printed pajamas during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019.

  • If you splurged on a matching pajama set for the first time over the last year, you’re not alone.
  • Those fortunate enough to maintain an income shifted “scheduled spend” from normal routines to indulgences.
  • People also satisfied their “skin hunger” with silks, satins, plushes, and Peruvian cottons.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In March 2020, Vanessa Diaz was supposed to be in Mexico getting married. Instead she was quarantined in her Los Angeles apartment with her fiance and their chihuahua/pug mix, Raisin Bran. But she had just splashed out on a new set of pajamas she was planning to wear on her wedding weekend, and with no reason to leave the house she started wearing them more – like, a lot more.

Soon, Raisin Bran had his own set, too.

Diaz didn’t stop there, deciding to treat herself when she had to postpone her nuptials. Since she chose a lower-price-point Target set for $22 and kept her job in PR, Diaz was able to splurge on more sets, and over the course of a year she spent more than $100 on new pajamas. She said she’d never bought this much sleepwear before.

Prior to the pandemic, Diaz said, her leisure clothes consisted of oversized T-shirts. On the subject of pajamas, she said, “I just thought it was kind of like an unnecessary, luxury purchase, you know?”

Yes, we all know. Last April, PJ sales spiked 143% compared to March, launching an intimates-fueled year of quarantine. And in the year leading up to January 2021, market research firm NPD Group told Insider, pajamas priced at $50 or more grew at triple the rate of the total pajama market. In 2019, the global industry was worth more than $10 million, and it’s projected to reach more than $18 million by 2027.

Even the ultrawealthy got in on the action, fueling a boom in $1,000 pajama sets for the 1%.

The durability of this golden age for modern pajamas may even be a part of the new normal as the world reopens. That will depend on how long “skin hunger” and disruptions of “scheduled spend” continue to change the shape of the economy.

A post shared by Raisin Bran The Dog (@raisinbranthedog)

From unnecessary luxury, to comfort and self-care

When Ashley Merrill founded the pajama brand Lunya in 2014, she said her biggest task was convincing people to pay nearly $200 for something to wear around the house.

“They’re very comfortable spending $250 on a cocktail dress, despite the fact that they’ll maybe wear it once or twice, and very uncomfortable with the idea of spending $200 bucks on a sleep set which they will probably wear 197 out of 365 days a year,” she said.

That changed in a big way in 2020, as pajamas took the place of office clothes, red carpet glam, and streetwear. Those in the $50-to-$200 range from brands like Lunya, Eberjay, and Lake brought luxury to middle-class bedrooms, and sub-$50 sets from the likes of Target and Marshalls also served as a self-care indulgence for many in quarantine.

The market has shifted, Merrill said. Her brand, which has historically sold its washable silk sets in solid, neutral colors, is launching its first pattern. Merrill said she believes people have proven they’re willing to splurge on at-home clothes and are ready for a little more distinctive.

“We’re playing with some things that are a little more special, a little novelty, because we’re realizing, people are ready,” she said. “They now get the value of what it would mean to have something that they feel great in around the home.”

We’re suffering from ‘skin hunger’

In the last three months of 2020, searches peaked for pajamas on the shopping app Liketoknow.it, with over 200,000 unique queries for the term. A spokesperson for the company said shoppers are on the hunt for “silk pajamas,” “pajama sets,” and “satin pajamas” – all of which had triple-digit month-over-month growth last year and still sit in the top searches today.

These fabrics satisfy what Lorna Hall of London-based trend forecasting firm WGSN calls “skin hunger.”

“Many of us are starved of touch,” Hall said, “so tactile fabrications become really important, because they sort of mimic touch.” She said silks, satins, and plushes are examples of fabrics that satisfy this need.

The spokesperson for Liketoknow.it separately agreed with Hall. “Our consumers are very much still in the cozy mindset, with search data for things like loungewear, matching sets, nap dress, and home bedding all trending since the start of lockdown last year,” the spokesperson said.

Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, the cofounders of pajama brand Lake, said their most popular product had a blowout 2020. They sold 38,816 Peruvian pima cotton short sets, contributing to a 136% year-over-year increase in revenue. Lunya, which Hall credits with bringing washable silk to the masses, claims it has doubled revenue every year since launching in 2014, but declined to share exact figures.

The pandemic disrupted our ‘scheduled spend’

Among a certain set of customers, Hall told Insider, the pajama splurge could be the result of “lots of cash, nowhere to go.”

“The luxury pajama really fulfills a way to spend that makes sense, because you can wear them straight away, which, with a lot of apparel at the moment, you just can’t,” Hall said. “And you don’t have the event to wear something luxury and decadent to, because those events really don’t exist.”

Self-care items like pajamas took the place of what Hall calls “scheduled spend” or the purchases people regularly made in their pre-pandemic routine, like coffee, commuter fare, and lunches out. As routines changed, so did our regularly scheduled budgets. After all, Hall said, “bedtime is a thing that comes around every day, and lounging around in the house certainly is like a ubiquitous state for many of us.”

Plus, as Paris Fashion Week demonstrated, it’s no longer just about bedtime. Designers brought pajama-inspired looks to the catwalks this year, Hall said. “With pajama dressing and luxury nightwear, there’s a real crossover at the moment on the catwalks,” she said, describing Jil Sanders’ slip dress as “ostensibly going-out wear, but it’s a slip dress that could also be worn as a night dress, or is related to the night dress in terms of its shape.” In addition, Fendi’s wide-legged pants and intimates-inspired dresses fall in this category of “silky, satin-y, easy-to-wear, pajama-type wear as well.”

Hall said she believes the pajama boom will stick around post-pandemic, bolstered by designers’ pajama-inspired going-out wear. “Once you’ve treated yourself to something that’s of a certain fabric and quality level, it’s quite hard to go back when you’ve had the luxury sleep item.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The hottest fashion of the pandemic is the pajama set

GettyImages 992250636
Caroline Daur in printed pajamas during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019.

  • If you splurged on a matching pajama set for the first time over the last year, you’re not alone.
  • Those fortunate enough to maintain an income shifted “scheduled spend” from normal routines to indulgences.
  • People also satisfied their “skin hunger” with silks, satins, plushes, and Peruvian cottons.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In March 2020, Vanessa Diaz was supposed to be in Mexico getting married. Instead she was quarantined in her Los Angeles apartment with her fiance and their chihuahua/pug mix, Raisin Bran. But she had just splashed out on a new set of pajamas she was planning to wear on her wedding weekend, and with no reason to leave the house she started wearing them more – like, a lot more.

Soon, Raisin Bran had his own set, too.

Diaz didn’t stop there, deciding to treat herself when she had to postpone her nuptials. Since she chose a lower-price-point Target set for $22 and kept her job in PR, Diaz was able to splurge on more sets, and over the course of a year she spent more than $100 on new pajamas. She said she’d never bought this much sleepwear before.

Prior to the pandemic, Diaz said, her leisure clothes consisted of oversized T-shirts. On the subject of pajamas, she said, “I just thought it was kind of like an unnecessary, luxury purchase, you know?”

Yes, we all know. Last April, PJ sales spiked 143% compared to March, launching an intimates-fueled year of quarantine. And in the year leading up to January 2021, market research firm NPD Group told Insider, pajamas priced at $50 or more grew at triple the rate of the total pajama market. In 2019, the global industry was worth more than $10 million, and it’s projected to reach more than $18 million by 2027.

Even the ultrawealthy got in on the action, fueling a boom in $1,000 pajama sets for the 1%.

The durability of this golden age for modern pajamas may even be a part of the new normal as the world reopens. That will depend on how long “skin hunger” and disruptions of “scheduled spend” continue to change the shape of the economy.

A post shared by Raisin Bran The Dog (@raisinbranthedog)

From unnecessary luxury, to comfort and self-care

When Ashley Merrill founded the pajama brand Lunya in 2014, she said her biggest task was convincing people to pay nearly $200 for something to wear around the house.

“They’re very comfortable spending $250 on a cocktail dress, despite the fact that they’ll maybe wear it once or twice, and very uncomfortable with the idea of spending $200 bucks on a sleep set which they will probably wear 197 out of 365 days a year,” she said.

That changed in a big way in 2020, as pajamas took the place of office clothes, red carpet glam, and streetwear. Those in the $50-to-$200 range from brands like Lunya, Eberjay, and Lake brought luxury to middle-class bedrooms, and sub-$50 sets from the likes of Target and Marshalls also served as a self-care indulgence for many in quarantine.

The market has shifted, Merrill said. Her brand, which has historically sold its washable silk sets in solid, neutral colors, is launching its first pattern. Merrill said she believes people have proven they’re willing to splurge on at-home clothes and are ready for a little more distinctive.

“We’re playing with some things that are a little more special, a little novelty, because we’re realizing, people are ready,” she said. “They now get the value of what it would mean to have something that they feel great in around the home.”

We’re suffering from ‘skin hunger’

In the last three months of 2020, searches peaked for pajamas on the shopping app Liketoknow.it, with over 200,000 unique queries for the term. A spokesperson for the company said shoppers are on the hunt for “silk pajamas,” “pajama sets,” and “satin pajamas” – all of which had triple-digit month-over-month growth last year and still sit in the top searches today.

These fabrics satisfy what Lorna Hall of London-based trend forecasting firm WGSN calls “skin hunger.”

“Many of us are starved of touch,” Hall said, “so tactile fabrications become really important, because they sort of mimic touch.” She said silks, satins, and plushes are examples of fabrics that satisfy this need.

The spokesperson for Liketoknow.it separately agreed with Hall. “Our consumers are very much still in the cozy mindset, with search data for things like loungewear, matching sets, nap dress, and home bedding all trending since the start of lockdown last year,” the spokesperson said.

Anne Read Lattimore and Cassandra Cannon, the cofounders of pajama brand Lake, said their most popular product had a blowout 2020. They sold 38,816 Peruvian pima cotton short sets, contributing to a 136% year-over-year increase in revenue. Lunya, which Hall credits with bringing washable silk to the masses, claims it has doubled revenue every year since launching in 2014, but declined to share exact figures.

The pandemic disrupted our ‘scheduled spend’

Among a certain set of customers, Hall told Insider, the pajama splurge could be the result of “lots of cash, nowhere to go.”

“The luxury pajama really fulfills a way to spend that makes sense, because you can wear them straight away, which, with a lot of apparel at the moment, you just can’t,” Hall said. “And you don’t have the event to wear something luxury and decadent to, because those events really don’t exist.”

Self-care items like pajamas took the place of what Hall calls “scheduled spend” or the purchases people regularly made in their pre-pandemic routine, like coffee, commuter fare, and lunches out. As routines changed, so did our regularly scheduled budgets. After all, Hall said, “bedtime is a thing that comes around every day, and lounging around in the house certainly is like a ubiquitous state for many of us.”

Plus, as Paris Fashion Week demonstrated, it’s no longer just about bedtime. Designers brought pajama-inspired looks to the catwalks this year, Hall said. “With pajama dressing and luxury nightwear, there’s a real crossover at the moment on the catwalks,” she said, describing Jil Sanders’ slip dress as “ostensibly going-out wear, but it’s a slip dress that could also be worn as a night dress, or is related to the night dress in terms of its shape.” In addition, Fendi’s wide-legged pants and intimates-inspired dresses fall in this category of “silky, satin-y, easy-to-wear, pajama-type wear as well.”

Hall said she believes the pajama boom will stick around post-pandemic, bolstered by designers’ pajama-inspired going-out wear. “Once you’ve treated yourself to something that’s of a certain fabric and quality level, it’s quite hard to go back when you’ve had the luxury sleep item.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Doing laundry in the bath, playing cards, and watching 70 episodes of ‘Suits’: This is what it’s like to quarantine for 11 days in a small hotel room

Wagner and Elaine Aruajo
Wagner and Elaine Araujo play cards during quarantine.

  • Wagner and Elaine Araujo quarantined for 11 days after landing in the UK the day new rules came into force.
  • At the Radisson Blu Hotel at Heathrow, they washed laundry in the tub and watched 70 episodes of “Suits.”
  • They left the modest twin room just once to stretch their legs in the car park.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Brazilian-born couple Wagner Araujo, 43, and his wife Elaine Araujo, 41, had to isolate in a small hotel room for 11 days thanks to the UK Government’s order that anyone travelling from a “red list” of countries would have to quarantine on arrival to combat the spread of new variants of COVID-19.

Their trip had not gone to plan. Their return from Sao Paulo, to which they had travelled on January 11, had already been delayed by 11 days and they were apprehensive about another 10 days of being away from their four children, aged between six and 17, who were at their home in North London.

The couple travelled to visit Wagner’s elderly parents. They knew going during the pandemic was a risk, but Wagner told Insider he felt he had to.

“My parents are old and have a lot of health issues,” he said, “and I didn’t know if I would be able to spend time with them again.”

They were awaiting a new return flight when the UK government announced on February 5 that any travellers coming from any one of 33 countries  – including Brazil – would have to immediately isolate on arrival.

The policy would take effect on February 15, the day the Araujos were due to land.

After the announcement, the admin took its toll on the pair. “I started to be upset about it,” Wagner said, but eventually they had everything prepared.

They landed at 11a.m. at Heathrow and went through a special lane at immigration to collect their luggage and be  driven to the Radisson Blu hotel, all under security escort.

They paid £2,400 ($3,343) for a double room. The £1,750 ($2,436) mandatory cost widely reported in the press is for a single room.

Their first night was “really bad”, said Wagner, as the room received little natural light through the window that faced onto the bricks of another building.

The hotel manager moved them to a room overlooking a main road and one of Heathrow’s runways. “Every morning we open the curtains and let the light in, and it makes us happier,” Wagner said. 

The days were virtually identical. Their days within the same four walls came to be structured by the arrival of meals at the door; food which Wagner said was “delicious” but sometimes came in small portions. The hotel always accommodated them when they asked for seconds.

After eating the breakfast dropped in cardboard takeout boxes by their door, Elaine would go back to sleep briefly while Wagner would exercise.

pjimage (6)
Left: Wagner Araujo does sit ups in their hotel room. Right:Elaine Araujo at her laptop

For the rest of the day, Wagner would play “Fifa” on his PlayStation 4 and watch Netflix on the TV.

They would read and play cards. Every night, the couple watched their favorite show, “Suits”. Each episode is around 45 minutes but the couple managed to get through 70 episodes in quarantine.

There were also the practical aspects of living to think about. The couple both prefer showers to baths and they ended up using the tub to wash small items and delicates in, as they were each only permitted to leave seven items of clothing outside their door to be washed by hotel staff.

Likewise clean sheets were left outside the door, and Wagner asked for a hoover at one point so he could vacuum the room.

All of this is recorded in a quarantine diary Wagner kept of their stay to, he said, “remember the experience for life and to learn something from it”.

But while Wagner and Elaine have stayed upbeat by keeping themselves busy, it has at times felt like being “in a prison”, he said.

They only left the room to go outside once. They were permitted to walk in the hotel car park but the experience of having to fill out forms and then be watched by staff dissuaded them from venturing out a second time.

Wagner and Elaine Aruajo
The couple during their one trip outside during their quarantine

“Writing about how hard it’s been to be locked in a room for 24 hours all day every day has helped,” Wagner said. “It’s like you’re not free at all and we didn’t like it.

“It’s a bit like a prison, if you do want to do something different you need permission. So it’s been quite stressful.” 

Regularly FaceTiming with their children has kept the pair going. “We are so excited to leave and go home,” Elaine said on Wednesday as their departure on Friday loomed.

Wagner added: “We are anxious to return home back to our kids because we are missing them a lot … Though we’re passing through it really well, it has been really hard.

“We can’t wait for our freedom, to see our kids and return to the comfort of our home.”

They took their second COVID test at the hotel on Tuesday, having had a negative test the previous Wednesday.

Despite everything, they don’t regret leaving the country and being delayed and caught up in quarantine.

“It was worth every minute because I got to see my parents,” Wagner said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New CDC advice says people are exempt from some COVID-19 quarantine rules after a 2nd vaccine dose

Hartford CT, Vaccine, US
A healthcare worker receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

  • “Fully vaccinated” people need not quarantine if after they are exposed to COVID-19, the CDC said.
  • Full vaccination is the point two weeks after getting a second COVID-19 shot.
  • The CDC said the benefits of not quarantining outweight the risks of passing on the virus.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

People who have been fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, according to newly-updated guidance from the CDC

The new rules mean people can skip quarantine if they:

  • Got the second dose of a vaccine more than 2 weeks ago, but less than 3 months ago.
  • Experienced no symptoms of COVID-19 since they were exposed. 

Only the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine are being distributed in the US at the moment.

People who aren’t vaccinated are still supposed to quarantine for 14 days after they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Full protection against COVID-19 is reached by the immune system one week after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and two weeks after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, according to Insider’s Hilary Brueck.

The new CDC guidance said that if a single-dose vaccine becomes available, one dose will be enough to skip quarantine after being exposed to someone who might have COVID-19.

The guidance admitted that it is not yet clear whether someone who has been vaccinated could still pass on the coronavirus to someone else

However, in their decision, they said that less quarantining is a benefit that outweighs the risk of increased transmission.

It is not yet clear whether vaccines will protect against new variants of the coronavirus, so people who have been fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and respect social distancing rules, the CDC said.

Public health guidelines have continued to change as experts find out more about the virus and how to treat it.

A study from the agency recently showed that wearing two masks at once, one surgical mask underneath a cloth mask, improves the protection given by about 50%.

It is not yet clear whether the vaccines continue protecting against COVID-19 beyond three months after the second dose is taken.

However, “there is confidence in protection for those 90 days following vaccination”, Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist and infection preventionist at George Mason University in Virginia, told NBC news.

The recommendations will “likely evolve” as we learn more about how long the vaccine protects against COVID-19, Popescu said. 

Read more: All the ad agencies benefitting from HHS’s $115 million vaccine education campaign

The CDC had previously recommended that people who have recovered from COVID-19 don’t need to go into quarantine for 90 days

The guidance will be reviewed when new data becomes available, the CDC said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I went through a luxury hotel quarantine in Singapore to beat the coronavirus – and it works. But Americans just wouldn’t find it acceptable.

singaporejulie
Right: A selfie from quarantine. (I’m very bad at taking selfies). Left: The view we had for 14 days.

  • I have been locked in a luxury hotel room 24 hours a day for two straight weeks, as part of Singapore’s strict anti-coronavirus regime.
  • Singapore’s approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19 is one of the most successful in the world.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, the city-state of more than 5 million people has had around 59,000 cases and just 29 deaths.
  • It’s a system that has saved countless lives, but it would never fly in the US. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Greetings from Singapore. 

My husband and I are currently confined to a hotel room, unable to go out into the city until we’ve quarantined for a full two weeks and received negative COVID tests. We’re not allowed to leave our one-bedroom suite under threat of punishment of heavy fines or deportation.

It’s a strange type of purgatory. Singapore’s stringent COVID prevention rules and policies would likely outrage many Americans who believe that personal liberty is at the core of what it means to live in the US.  The notion of liberty has been at the center of so many American protests about lockdowns over the last few months.

But the reality is: Singapore’s lockdown is working, and the American approach to the coronavirus is not. 

Confined to a hotel room 24 hours a day

In February, Singapore instituted its Stay-Home Notice program. It requires everyone coming into the country – visa holders or permanent residents – to serve out a compulsory 14-day closely monitored quarantine. 

hotelroom
We lucked out and were given a junior suite to quarantine in.

After you arrive in-country and make your way through customs, you shuffle off to a bus and are driven to one of the dozen or so hotels taking in quarantining travelers.  You do not get a choice of hotels.

The quarantine rules here are strict: You are confined to your hotel room 24 hours a day. All food is provided by the hotel and delivered outside your hotel room door to ensure contact-free delivery. Anything you order to your room – like takeout or groceries – is sent to you contact-free, too. Upon arrival, you’re asked to record and monitor your temperature (with a hotel-provided thermometer) three times a day.

Your key card is programmed to only work one time, so if you venture out of your room, you’ll be locked out and at the mercy of the authorities. 

On the eleventh day of the quarantine, we’ll be given PCR coronavirus tests, which will determine whether or not we’ll be able to leave three days later.

HOMER
We were required to take our temperatures several times a day and record it both on a piece of paper and via an app called Homer.

For the last week and a half, our lives have been limited to the confines of a 200-square-foot hotel room. It’s not prison. But it is prison-like. It’s certainly not freedom. We cannot leave.

And it works

The SHN program has been paying off. In the past week, Singapore health authorities have discovered 19 cases of coronavirus among incoming SHN participants. Eighteen of those cases were asymptomatic and, had they gone untested, could have infected countless in the community. 

Singapore has a population of 5.69 million people crammed into an area only slightly larger than New York City. But it has had just under 59,000 cases – and only 29 deaths – since the pandemic began. Compare that to Los Angeles, a city with 4 million people, which has had 611,000 cases and 8,800 deaths.

It would seem ridiculous to try to implement a plan like Singapore’s in a country that’s nearly 14,000 times larger in landmass and has 326.4 million more people. But looking at their success in stanching the flow of COVID cases across its border does offer a few hypotheses on why the US’s plans – or lack of plans – haven’t worked. 

For one, Singapore was able to effectively shut down and closely monitor its borders during the pandemic. There are only two ways in and out of the country. You can travel by air into its one airport, or you can travel overland via two causeways from Malaysia, and either way, your movements across borders are closely monitored. The country’s ability to tightly monitor and track people has helped vastly reduce its COVID case numbers. 

quarantine food
Some of the meals we were served while in quarantine.

American exceptionalism has poisoned its ability to react to a crisis

Singapore is one nation operating under consistent policies, but the US is not. Instead, the localization of response and the lack of unifying message from the federal government has meant that every state is essentially acting as its own country – even though there are no border controls between states in place and states rely heavily on federal funding and federal agencies for information. With no consistent policy, states have been left to fight amongst themselves for resources

But beyond that, the American attitude of exceptionalism has poisoned the country’s ability to react to a crisis like this. The American belief that personal liberty and freedom trump social responsibility has created a narrative in which personal choice is more important than the public good. These notions have not been just tacitly encoded into the core of what we believe it is to be American. They’ve been called up time and time again in the arguments about whether coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions impede the American way of life. 

The free flow of people across what are essentially arbitrary borders of city and state, along with the resistance to contact tracing and monitoring, has all but guaranteed that more people than necessary will die. 

‘Choice’ has meant a failure to protect public health

For Americans, the idea of choice – the choice to even put yourself in harm’s way for the notional belief in what it means to be “free” – has engendered, at best, a scenario in which cities and towns have failed to enforce COVID safety policies, and at worst, propagated the idea that the creation of any policy at all, even for the public good, is anti-American. 

checkin
Right: Upon completion of our 14-day SHN we were issued certificates in recognition of our stay. Right: These QR code signs are outside of nearly every building. They’re connected to the Trace Together app.

For proof of that attitude, you can cite any number of anti-lockdown advocates whose commitment to personal freedoms over public health is almost pathological. 

“The fact I am protesting does not mean I think it is a good idea to have gatherings,” one Washington state anti-lockdown protester told the BBC in April. “I just believe that the government has no authority to prohibit them.”

Openly flouting masking rules – despite overwhelming evidence that masks prevent transmission – has practically become a national pastime.

‘Americans have been actively discouraged by their leaders from making sacrifices’

Donald Trump is the apotheosis of this mentality, leading by the example of hosting myriad White House celebrations while not enforcing masking – even after contracting the virus himself.  

“Americans have been actively discouraged by their leaders from making sacrifices in support of larger efforts – including wars, fossil fuel consumption, global warming, the Great Recession, and the current pandemic,” wrote Brandon Jett and Christopher McKnight Nichols in a December op-ed for the Washington Post. “Confronting the looming public health, economic and climate challenges today requires a wholesale change in how citizens and the state conceive and construct a rhetoric as well as a practice of collective sacrifice.”

This inability for some Americans to curb their individual freedoms in the face of this virus, and against basic common sense, seems to belie a lack of faith in the very concept of personal liberty. If it’s such a foundational American value, then why are we so afraid that it will disappear if we temporarily put the greater good over the rights of the individual?

The concept of liberty has become a type of currency – a way for the government to pretend that they’re giving you more when they’re actually giving you less.  

tracetogether
Trace Together keeps track of every place you’ve visited via QR code and alerts you if you’ve been some place where someone with COVID has been.

‘Emergency measures do not simply work. They work when a populace has been conditioned for years to accept instruction’

Singapore has often been referred to as a “nanny state” because of the government’s intervention in so many aspects of its citizens’ lives.

You famously cannot chew gum, or spit, or “fly a kite that interferes with public traffic.” Connecting to your neighbor’s WiFi without their permission could land you a $10,000 fine. Forgetting to flush the toilet will cost you $150. Punishment for jaywalking can be as high as $1,000 and three months in jail. 

The curbing of personal freedoms seems largely antithetical to the American way of life. And yet, it’s likely what has prevented the coronavirus from taking more lives here.

“Singapore is able to respond quickly and efficiently in times like this because its government has always wielded absolute control over the state, with an iron fist and a whip in it,” wrote Jerrine Tan in an April 2020 editorial for Wired. “In times of crisis, when this form of authoritative instruction saves lives, we might call it good. But in order for it to work in times of crisis, one must be willing to always live under this yoke. This, it seems, is the price many Singaporeans are willing to pay.”

marinabaysands
Right: The view from the 55th story of the Marina Bay Sands. Right: An on-the-ground view of the 2,600-room hotel.

“Emergency measures do not simply work. They work when a populace has been conditioned for years to accept instruction,” she continued. 

The Singaporean government, which has been ruled by one party since 1959, actually embraces its “nanny state” label. Its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once wrote, “If Singapore is a nanny state, then I am proud to have fostered one.”

Restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and schools are all open

The city-state has returned largely to normal. People are required to wear masks in public and limit the size of groups in public spaces. But restaurants, stores, movie theaters, and schools are all open. On December 28, the country entered Phase 3 of its recovery plan, and citizens are now permitted to gather in larger groups. Things like live concerts have resumed (though concerts of spittle-producing wind instruments are apparently still verboten).

The move to Phase 3 was only permitted after the widespread adoption of Singapore’s TraceTogether contact-tracing program. The app uses Bluetooth technology to identify and inform people who are within a six-foot radius of a person who has tested positive for coronavirus. Another app, SafeEntry, uses QR codes to track people entering and exiting businesses, and it’s been made compulsory by the government.

foodanddrinks
A sampling of the cocktails and meals we had when we finally got out of quarantine.

Some Singaporeans expressed privacy concerns, and adoption of the app took much longer than the government and hoped, but in the end, nearly 70% of residents have registered with the app. Early on, the government announced that lying to COVID tracers about your whereabouts could result in a $10,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Just last week, a 65-year-old woman was sentenced to five months in jail after investigators found that she’d lied to contact tracers about her whereabouts when meeting a friend for lunch, dinner, or tea while her husband played badminton.

Trace Together recently came under fire because the government announced they would be using it to track criminal activity.

subway
The metro has signs up encouraging people not to talk while riding, as both a courtesy and to prevent possible COVID transmission via saliva.

But Singapore sees these privacy curbs as worth it: In the past week, there have been zero cases of COVID in the community

And there’s the rub: Do you want more government oversight if it’ll save people from coronavirus? Or do you want more freedom at the cost of more lives?

I know which choice I’d make. 

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