Oscars Add UK Hub for Broadcast After Concerns About Travel | Entertainment News


With less than a month until showtime, the 93rd Oscars are taking another pass at the script.

Show producers Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher remain determined to have an in-person ceremony on April 25 in Los Angeles but told nominees Tuesday in a virtual meeting that they’ve added a British hub after some backlash from nominees about international travel restrictions.

The main event will still take place at Los Angeles’ Union station which will include a red carpet component but they are planning something special for the UK location. The show is also working with local broadcast affiliates around the world to provide satellite links for other international nominees. They said they are not totally ruling out Zoom but are hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Although plans and requirements remain fluid, attendees have been told they’re expected to quarantine for 10 days prior to the show. And everyone is being told to bring a mask, even if the show is being designed so that people don’t have to wear them on stage or in the audience. There will also be a rotation of nominees in and out of the room throughout the evening.

A story by The Hollywood Reporter said that there will be a “state-of-the-art” testing facility just for the Academy Awards and that additional quarantining costs for nominees will be offset by partnerships with airlines and hotels.

And while most of the traditional events leading up to the Oscars have been canceled, there will be an outdoor celebration for nominees the day prior the show.

The 93rd Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on April 25 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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ITB Berlin: Amadeus offers digital solution for Covid-19 health concerns | News

Monika Wiederhold from Amadeus has advocated integrating health information into IT solutions at ITB Berlin Now, arguing the move will allow for the reopening of the tourism sector.

“We cannot go back to the way things used to be,” Wiederhold quoted World Health Organisation general secretary, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in her keynote speech during the ITB Berlin NOW Convention.

The chairman of the management of Amadeus Germany advocated the creation of a “safe travel ecosystem” with the help of new technologies.

People all over the world are insecure when it comes to traveling: what is considered a safe test in Milan does not have to be in Shanghai, where is there a risk of quarantine, when and for how long?

All over the world it is clear that traveling will no longer be the same as it used to be.

Even if everything is allowed again, people have great concerns about travel plans.

“We have to give the travellers confidence again,” explained Wiederhold.

“Every country, every region and every company have its own answers to the worldwide problem of Covid-19.

“That means a very complex environment for travellers,” said Wiederhold.

Standards could make the world and travel easier.

First of all, information should be available in real time.

In addition, new technologies should ensure more contactless interaction.

“It is not only at airports that processes can be made safer and faster using biometric identifications, for example, this is also conceivable for hotels,” explained the tourism expert.

In this way, health certificates could be integrated into data systems and relieve the actors involved in the travel process.

Travellers can safely and smoothly prove that they have the necessary health documents and decide for themselves when and where they want to digitally prove their health status.

Airlines and airports could integrate the information directly into their own digital channels.

More Information

Find out more on the new tools available from Amadeus here.

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Stevenage tip shut by police after concerns of ‘heavy traffic’ on road

Police have closed a Herts tip this morning (February 28) after queuing traffic became a health and safety concern.

Stevenage Recycling Centre on Caxton Way has been shut by officers who were concerned long queues were a risk for motorists in the area.

Congestion had built up towards Gunnels Wood Road, a busier dual carriageway which had caused concerns for officers,

The carriageway is also used for access to Roberston House, which is currently being used as a mass Covid-19 vaccination centre.

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The closure has been in place since around 11am, with traffic still slow moving on Caxton Road.

In an update on social media, Stevenage Police wrote: “Officers have had cause to close the Household Waste site on Caxton Way in order to clear heavy traffic built up on Gunnels Wood Road.

“The traffic built up on the dual carriageway was cause for concern for officers who closed the road in the interest of health and safety.

“The site manager will be reviewing this in due course and hopefully will be able to reopen later on in the day.”

It’s not yet clear when the recycling centre will reopen at this stage.

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Denver Airport’s Traffic Hit a Near-Record Low in 2020 — but as More People Travel, COVID-19 Concerns Persist

Feb. 8—The pandemic nearly turned Denver International Airport’s clock back to its first full year of operation, with passenger traffic plummeting to below 34 million in 2020. New figures released Monday show that’s the lowest annual total since 1996.

But the low numbers — a drop of 51% compared to 2019’s record-high 69 million passengers — are fading on DIA’s trains and concourses, worrying some public health experts who view airports as among the largest potential Petri dishes during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the peak of the heavy Christmas travel period in 2020, traffic through DIA’s security checkpoints reached 60% of what it was in late 2019. That is a rough measurement of outgoing travel but doesn’t include connecting passengers.

After the holiday spike subsided, checkpoints returned to roughly half of the typical pre-pandemic flow. Pandemic restrictions in other parts of the state and U.S. economy are easing up, though, and it’s likely more stir-crazy travelers will take to the air.

Already, the strange pandemic upheaval has DIA officials anticipating its total of 33.7 million passengers in 2020 will be enough to rank the airport as the nation’s third-busiest for the year, behind Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s up from the fifth-busiest prior to the pandemic, and DIA has been faring better than many other airports, both in terms of traffic and finances.

And as crowds slowly return, DIA points out it has ramped up cleaning and taken other precautionary COVID-19 measures. It was among the first airports to require mask-wearing in its spaces, and that policy is now buttressed by an even stronger national mandate that requires travelers to keep masks up between bites of food or sips of drinks. The Transportation Security Administration announced last week that its agents may issue fines to mask-resistant travelers.

But DIA has several choke points, including one that’s unavoidable for the bulk of its passengers — the underground train that connects people flying into or out of Concourses B and C. Those on Concourse A flights can take the train or walk over a bridge to the terminal.

“It’s especially a concern now that we’ve got these virus variants that are circulating in the U.S. that have higher transmissibility potential,” said Glen Mays, a professor of health policy at the Colorado School of Public Health.

In fact, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, urged against air travel during a Monday briefing, citing the prevalence of COVID-19 cases and the crowding that can happen in airports.

Settings such as the DIA train are high-risk environments, Mays added, even though “masks can help to reduce that risk somewhat. But they aren’t by any means a complete solution to limit the risk. … In those places where there’s limited air exchange, the viral particles that we’re breathing out are accumulating rapidly.”

Dr. Kurt Papenfus strongly suspects his COVID-19 infection originated on DIA’s train. In the fall, the public health officer and chief of staff at a small hospital in Cheyenne County on Colorado’s Eastern Plains flew into DIA from rural Maine, where he and his wife were isolating. After boarding the terminal train, he grew concerned as a crowd filled the car around him.

He said he was wearing a cloth mask on the train but had removed his medical-grade mask after exiting the plane. He developed COVID-19 symptoms a week later, he said, and spent two extended stays in Denver-area hospitals with a life-threatening case.

“This is an extremely dangerous problem that needs to be addressed immediately,” Papenfus, who is recovering, wrote about the train in letters to city and state officials in November.

For its part, DIA said it’s difficult to pinpoint whether a person contracted coronavirus at the airport, adding that it urges all travelers to follow hygiene and masking recommendations in public places.

Train is only option for many

The train has been a vulnerability for DIA since it opened, with no walkways or other alternative to move people to and from its farthest concourses.

And the crowding at times has been more intense than the reduced flow of passengers last year suggests. Several times a day, crowds heading toward the terminal swell as banks of flights arrive during short windows.

During DIA’s busiest hours in recent months, 4,000 or more people went through security screening, according to DIA-provided estimates. Typically about 90% use the main-floor checkpoints and then head directly down to the train.

Mays said he’d like to see more “creative solutions” to limit crowding on the trains.

But DIA spokeswoman Emily Williams said the airport has done what it can to address the choke point, including cleaning the train cars each time they complete a loop and other disinfectant measures.

“The airport is running all 31 train cars as frequently as possible,” she said, putting the system at full capacity. “However, at peak times during the day, train cars can become crowded.”

Travelers spend up to six minutes on the train, which is shorter than the 15-minute period health experts typically highlight as posing a higher risk for coronavirus transmission. But crowding can continue on the escalators up to the terminal and into an plaza where construction walls from a renovation project constrict movement.

For months, DIA has offered an appointment-based service called VeriFLY that allows travelers to reserve time slots to use a dedicated screening lane and then ride limited-capacity train cars to their flights. More than 13,000 people made reservations between mid-November and the end of 2020, Williams said.

There’s no such option for incoming passengers. Williams’ tip: Linger in the concourse for 10 or 15 minutes, grabbing a coffee or using the bathroom, before heading to the train. And remember that trains arrive every two or three minutes — and the cars in the center typically are less crowded, she said.


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Tourism industry raises concerns over hotel quarantine | News

Industry experts have issued a series of dire warning about the likely impact of mooted plans to quarantine arrivals in hotels for up to ten days.

Some travellers coming to England will have to quarantine in hotels, amid concerns about new Covid variants, the government is expected to announce.

Prime minister, Boris Johnson, is expected to decide after discussing the proposals with senior ministers later.

Most foreign nationals from high-risk countries are already denied UK entry so the new rules will mainly affect returning UK citizens and residents.

Quarantine rules are set by each of the UK nations but tend to be similar.

Ahead of the move, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has said the introduction would force the “complete collapse of tourism as we know it”.

The concern follows nine months of devastating travel restrictions, which has left scores of businesses crushed, millions of jobs lost or put at risk, and confidence to travel at an all-time low.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president, said: “The UK tourism sector is in a fight for survival – it is that simple.

“With the sector in such a fragile state, the introduction of hotel quarantines by the UK government could force the complete collapse of tourism.

“Travellers and holidaymakers would simply not book business or leisure trips knowing they would have to pay to isolate in a hotel, causing a drastic drop in revenues throughout the sector.

“From airlines to travel agents, travel management companies to holiday companies and beyond, the effect on UK travel businesses would be devastating, further delaying the economic recovery.

“Even the threat of such action is enough to cause consternation and serious alarm.”

WTTC said the tourism sector contributes nearly £200 billion to the UK economy.

The sentiments were echoed by Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, the trade association for UK airports, and Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers.

In a joint statement, they said: “Less than two weeks ago the UK introduced some of the highest levels of restrictions in the world.

“Flights today are already banned from countries with high infection rates.

“Pre-departure controls mean anyone arriving in the UK has already tested negative.

“There is further quarantine upon arrival and the option of a second test.

“We have fully supported the government to do what is right in the face of this pandemic, but policy should be based on evidence and there must be a roadmap out of these restrictions as soon as it is safe.”

They added: “The impact of further measures would be catastrophic.

“They will impact vital freight and PPE supplies and jeopardise tens of thousands of jobs and the many businesses that depend on aviation.”

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