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White House Has No Immediate Plans to Shut Down US Domestic Travel

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In an interview today with Fox News, Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf answered a question that may be on many Americans’ minds since the federal government began instituting travel bans and closing U.S. borders, and as multiple state and city officials have issued “stay at home” orders to their residents in an effort to control the transmission of the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>COVID-19 virus.

Wolf said that the Trump administration has no plans at this time for a full shutdown of domestic travel within the U.S. or for restricting the entire nation’s movements, coronavirus-shutdowns/2020/03/22/id/959415/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Newsmax revealed.

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“There has been a number of governors, New York and California, that have taken the extra step and imposed additional strict measures,” he explained. Wolf said that the White House fully supports the tighter restrictions and community lockdowns being imposed in areas where COVID-19 case numbers are spiking, or there is a high potential for community spread of the virus simply because of population density.

He said that, in those parts of the country where the number of coronavirus cases is spiking, officials are working with federal authorities—the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Health and Human Services (HHS) Department and the Coronavirus Task Force—to determine appropriate measures.

“We will continue to look at that and if we see we need to put targeted travel restrictions in place we will do that,” Wolf explained. “I will say there’s no immediate plans as of right now for any widespread travel restrictions.”

For now, he said, “We’re focusing on those states and those localities that, again, have widespread community transmission—so, New York, California, Washington.” The approach, he said, is to implement “more aggressive measures” in these areas so that, hopefully, they won’t need to be enforced elsewhere in the country later on as the course of the epidemic continues.

“We continue to evaluate this, really, on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis,” Wolf commented.

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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