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Unruly air passengers hit with $500,000 in new fines

By Maureen O'Hare, CNN

Updated: Sat, 21 Aug 2021 07:21:31 GMT

Source: CNN

While our passports haven't been getting many stamps since March 2020, at least our vocabularies are expanding. Variants, mandates, quarantines and requirements -- who knew 2021 would be so polysyllabic?

CNN Travel has, as always, been keeping an eye on the week's developments and here's our roundup of what we learned in Covid travel in the last seven days.

1. American Airlines won't serve alcohol in coach until 2022

It turns out AA has a problem with alcohol.

American Airlines now says it won't serve alcoholic beverages in the main cabin of its flights until January next year, having previously planned to get the drinks flowing come September. The postponement is in line with the US mask mandate on public transportation also being extended until January.

The airline says the move is part of a two-pronged approach to improving safety on board, both in terms of Covid-19 spread and curbing unruly passenger behavior. On Thursday, the US Federal Aviation Authority proposed more than $500,000 in new fines against rule-breaking travelers.

2. Hong Kong has strict quarantine rules -- but not if you're Nicole Kidman

Hong Kong has some of the strictest Covid-19 quarantine rules in the world -- but a special exemption has been granted to Hollywood star Nicole Kidman.

Kidman arrived in the city from Sydney by private jet on August 12, reportedly to film a series for Amazon. She and four crew members were granted a special exemption to "perform designated professional work," avoiding a quarantine which would ordinarily mean spending 14 to 21 days in a hotel at your own expense.

3. A locked-down tourism board is promoting vaccination instead

Back in Kidman's home country, Australia's borders are closed and Sydney's lockdown has been extended to September. Its neighbor and former travel-bubble partner New Zealand has also just extended its national lockdown. Let's just say it's not a boom time for vacations.

So Tourism Australian's new campaign has taken a different tack. "It's Our Best Shot for Travel" launched domestically this week and is a drive to get more people vaccinated.

Although Australia has been relatively successful in keeping out the virus, the country's vaccination program got off to a slow start. About 23% of the population has been fully vaccinated as of August 20.

4. The US has extended border restrictions and added more countries to 'do not travel' list

The US Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that it's extending nonessential travel restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico until at least September 21.

The US has been limiting nonessential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic, with exceptions being made for cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for reasons such as medical purposes or to attend school.

Meanwhile four new destinations -- Dominica, Jersey, Montenegro and Turkey -- have been added to the highest-risk Level 4 category on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's travel advisories list.

In happier news, Chile, Mozambique and Uruguay have all moved down to Level 3, which urges unvaccinated travelers to avoid nonessential travel to those locations.

Uruguay has closed its borders to all but citizens and residents since the start of the pandemic, but this month it announced it would open on November 1 to all travelers showing proof of vaccination.

5. A man was sentenced to six weeks in prison for flouting mask laws

A Singapore court sentenced a 40-year-old British man to six weeks in prison on Wednesday, after he repeatedly breached local Covid-19 protocol by refusing to wear a face mask in public, reports Reuters.

Having earlier been put through a psychiatric assessment because of his behavior and remarks in court, Benjamin Glynn was found guilty on four charges over his repeated failure to wear a mask, as well as causing a public nuisance and using threatening language towards public servants.

6. From coast to coast, major US cities are introducing vaccine mandates

San Francisco has become the first US city to mandate proof of full vaccinations for certain indoor activities, effective August 20.

City residents aged 12 and older are now required to show their vaccine credentials in order to enter indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and theaters, as well as large event spaces with at least 1,000 people.

Over on the East Coast, New York City's new "Key to NYC" vaccination requirement became effective on August 17 and compliance will begin being enforced September 13. In response to the Delta variant surge, proof of vaccination is required for patrons and employees of the city's indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues.

Compliance will begin being enforced on September 13, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is already facing a lawsuit from restaurants challenging the executive order, reports CNBC.

And representing the Gulf Coast, New Orleans' vaccine mandate went into effect Monday and will start to be enforced the week beginning August 23. Everyone aged 12 or older needs to show proof of at least one Covid jab or a negative PCR test taken in the past 72 hours to enter indoor restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment spaces.

7. Turks and Caicos will require all visitors to be fully vaccinated

At the start of March 2020, CNN Travel called it "the unspoiled Caribbean" and now Turks and Caicos wants to keep it that way.

From September 1, all travelers aged 16 and over will need to show proof of vaccination before entering, with jabs being completed at least two weeks before arrival.

Most of the local population has already popped its shots, with more than 70% of adults fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, says the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board.

8. Canada has announced a vaccine mandate for air travel

Canada will require most commercial passengers traveling by air, rail or large ship to be fully vaccinated by the end of October.

The vaccination requirement "includes all commercial air travelers, passengers on inter-provincial trains and passengers on large, marine vessels with overnight accommodations such as cruise ships," said Omar Alghabra, Canada's transport minister, during a virtual press conference on August 13.

9. Face masks will be needed in America's national parks

If you want to get a lungful of the pristine air of America's legendary national parks, you'll also need to bring a face mask to wear inside National Park Service (NPS) buildings and at the parks' busiest outdoor spots.

This applies regardless of your vaccination status or transmission levels within the community and the requirement will be in effect until further notice, the NPS said Monday.

10. The Navajo Nation is reopening its parks and monuments

The Navajo Nation -- the Native American reservation that stretches across parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico -- on Monday reopened its historical parks and monuments on a phased basis.

These include the Four Corners Monument and Canyon de Chelly, says the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation. Monument Valley is temporarily closed due to inclement weather, but will reopen once all roads are cleared and maintained.

Most businesses, including restaurants, casinos, museums and parks, are now allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

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