We’re nearing the busiest travel days of the year, as TSA workers also near the federal deadline to get their coronavirus vaccines.
There’s now concern over a possible staffing shortage come Thanksgiving. As of now, 40% of the TSA’s workforce is still unvaccinated.
They have until Nov. 22 to get the vaccine, but Thanksgiving is just three days later.
It’s not just a health concern for travelers as the busiest travel season approaches, but it’s also a security concern.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the TSA to work on a contingency plan before the federal deadline hits, worried that agents won’t get the shot in time and then the entire country would be down TSA staff.
His suggestion is asking the TSA to deploy more canine TSA dog teams to airports instead – highly trained dogs to detect a variety of explosives, screen luggage and reduce wait times while keeping airports safe from COVID-19 and other treats in the process.
News 12 reached out to the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents TSA workers. It says will continue to encourage its members to get the shot before the deadline.
After passing the deadline for its Covid-19 vaccine mandate, more than 99 percent of United Airlines’ U.S.-based employees have been vaccinated, according to a memo from CEO Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart to United employees.
“We know for some, that decision [to get vaccinated] was a reluctant one,” Kirby and Hart said in the memo. “But there’s no doubt in our minds that some of you will have avoided a future hospital stay, or even death, because you got vaccinated.”
The Sept. 27 deadline was for employees to get and upload records of their first dose of a vaccine. Employees have until Oct. 31 to be fully vaccinated.
United also is beginning the process of terminating the less than 1 percent of employees who opted not to get vaccinated, according to Kirby and Hart.
Submit a travel course proposal to your Academic Dean for Summer 2022 by Oct. 15, 2021 (extended)! Find the proposal form and important COVID-19 updates on the OIE Travel Course website. International AND Domestic course proposal applications accepted! Two key policy updates include a new requirement for 2 faculty/staff leaders for each program and each program will be subject to a risk assessment before final approval and continual assessments for travel and safety updates as deadlines and departure dates approach. Questions? Contact Jemma Lund (Study Abroad Program Manager) at [email protected] or 920-465-2413.
After Heated Controversy, Wakefield Residents Vote Whether To Keep Or Retire Warriors LogoWakefield residents are voting to decide the future of the Warriors mascot. WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports.
Man Accused Of Raping 9 Women Arraigned On New ChargesProsecutors said Alvin Campbell attacked a woman who refused to give him her phone number.
Damaged Sandbags Removed From Plum IslandDamaged “super sacks” are being removed from Plum Island beaches.
Real ID Deadline For Air Travel Delayed Again To 2023The date by which air travelers will need a Real ID or passport to fly in the United States has been pushed back again due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Massachusetts Bars And Amusement Parks Reopening In May; Road Races To ReturnMassachusetts is about to enter the final phase of its reopening process. WBZ-TV’s Mike LaCrosse reports.
Major Changes Coming To National Flood Insurance ProgramFor anyone who lives in or near an area prone to flooding, it could be good news or financially crippling. WBZ-TV’s Sarah Wroblewski reports.
Somerville To Move To Modified Phase 4, Step 1 Of Reopening On May 7Somerville will move to a modified Phase 4 Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan on Friday, May 7.
Boston To Delay Aspects Of State’s Reopening Plan By Three WeeksBoston will follow the state’s guidance on loosening the outdoor mask mandate.
Racist Graffiti Found At Abington Walking PathRacist and hateful graffiti was discovered by a woman and her son while walking along a popular path near the Union Point development. WBZ-TV’s Nick Emmons reports.
Massachusetts Reports 825 New COVID Cases, 4 Additional DeathsThere were 51,383 total new tests reported.
Keller @ Large: How Americans View Biden 100 Days Into His PresidencySo far, President Joe Biden’s low-key, non-tweeting turn as the anti-Trump has generated stellar personal approval numbers. WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller reports.
Bear Spotted Roaming Framingham NeighborhoodAnimal Control says if a bear is in your yard, make noise to try and scare it away. WBZ-TV’s Anaridis Rodriguez reports.
Man Killed In Tewksbury Crash On I-495A man was killed in a single-car rollover crash on I-495 south in Tewksbury Tuesday afternoon.
High Schools In Massachusetts Required To Bring Students Back Full-Time By May 17All high school students should be in classrooms for full-time, in-person learning by May 17, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley announced.
Mass. Outdoor Mask Mandate To Be EasedThe outdoor mask mandate will be eased this week. WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller reports.
Boston To Make COVID Reopening Changes Three Weeks After The StateActing Boston Mayor Kim Janey discusses the city’s reopening plan.
BAA President Tom Grilk On Boston Marathon PlansBoston Athletic Association President CEO Tom Grilk speaks with Paula Ebben about the Boston Marathon now that road races will be allowed in the state.
Gov. Baker’s Post-Pandemic Plans Include Going To A Concert With FamilyThe governor said he was most looking forward to going to a concert with his wife and kids once it is safe to do so.
Gov. Baker Says Outdoor Mask Mandate Will Be EasedMasks will only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance, and other times based on “sector-specific guidance.”
Gov. Baker Details Phase 4, Step 2 Reopening Plans In MassachusettsStarting May 10, amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks will be permitted to operate at a 50% capacity.
Massachusetts High Schools Must Resume Full In-Person Learning By May 17WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.
CDC Relaxes Outdoor Mask GuidanceWBZ TV’s Paula Ebben reports.
Marine Running ‘Food 4 Vets’ Initiative Selected To Announce Patriots’ First Pick In NFL DraftWBZ-TV’s Nick Giovanni reports.
WBZ Update For April 27, 2021WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben and Sarah Wroblewski have your latest news and weather.
The Department of Homeland Security will delay the requirement for air travelers to have a Real ID-compliant form of identification, according to two senior officials with knowledge of the plans.
The deadline was supposed to be October 1. Similar delays in the past have been the result of a lack of full state compliance with the requirements for issuing the more secure driver’s licenses. But this time, it’s due to the pandemic, these officials say, which made it harder for people to get into state motor vehicle departments and get the new IDs.
Real ID compliant cards are issued after a more thorough check of an applicant’s identification and incorporate new security features that make them harder to counterfeit. Under the Real ID Act, passed by Congress after the 9/11 terror hijackings of 2001, travelers 18 or older wanting to board an airplane by using a driver’s license for identification must have one that conforms with the law’s stricter requirements.
The new licenses have a star on the upper right-hand corner.
The requirement was delayed repeatedly over the past decade, at first because states said they were not prepared for the new rules. It was set to kick in last year.
But the Department of Homeland Security postponed the effective date when the Covid pandemic made it harder for drivers to get to local motor vehicle departments. Now it is being delayed again for the same reason.
Former Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said before leaving office that 114 million Americans had a compliant license and that all 50 states were issuing them. But while some states had issued Real IDs to 90 percent of their residents, others managed to get them to less than 25 percent of drivers, he said.
The Department of Homeland Security will shortly announce the new deadline, the officials said.
Jay Blackman is an NBC News producer covering such areas a transportation, space, medical and consumer issues.
Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.
Naples businessman David Hoffmann and the Hoffmann Family of Cos. has agreed to allow Hertz to store its idle rental cars on the arena grounds at no cost.
Fort Myers News-Press
A federal judge hearing Hertz Global’s bankruptcy case has put off crucial decisions on the company’s reorganization plan.
Not for long, however.
On Friday, the judge postponed decisions on the plan after an alternative offer surfaced to fund the company’s exit from bankruptcy a day earlier, giving Hertz little time to adequately review it.
Hertz attorney Tom Lauria, with White & Case, characterized the offer as a “classic bear hug,” and an “11th-hour uninvited proposal leaked to the press.”
The Wall Street Journal ran a story about the competing plan, ahead of the court hearing after getting a news tip about it from the investors behind it.
Investment firms Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management have strengthened their bid, in hopes of beating out the group Hertz chose over them a few weeks ago.
Knighthead and Certares made the initial offer to sponsor the reorganization plan, but lost their stronghold after the other group stepped forward with a more favorable one in the eyes of Hertz and its creditors.
Hertz hoped to get the judge’s sign-off on a disclosure statement related to a new stock offering and an equity purchasing commitment agreement needed to move ahead with its current plan with a sponsorship group made up of a trio of companies — Centerbridge Partners L.P., Warburg Pincus LLC and Dundon Capital Partners LLC
Judge Walrath ruled to put off those key decisions after Stephen Hessler, an attorney for Knighthead and Certares, asked for a brief pause in the case.
One of Hessler’s biggest arguments? The commitment agreement with the chosen group includes a break-up fee valued at upwards of $77 million that it could collect if Hertz decides to switch gears again — and go with his clients’ enhanced proposal instead.
‘We are driving an exit process’
Several attorneys, speaking on behalf of creditors, said they had no problem with a short delay and welcomed the time to review the new funding proposal for themselves — and to give Hertz time to “kick the tires” on it to see if it’s more suitable for the company and all of its stakeholders.
Hertz objected to the delay for multiple reasons.
One of those reasons: The judge’s approvals would have allowed the company to infuse capital into its European operations almost immediately, through a bridge loan, Lauria said. Hertz has fought hard to keep those operations solvent and out of bankruptcy, but they’re starved for cash.
Under the current reorganization plan, all European debt would get paid off in full, Lauria said.
Hertz also objected to a delay because it’s working on a tight timeline, so it can emerge from bankruptcy by the end of June.
“We are driving an exit process,” Lauria said. “I think everybody would tell you that we have been merciless in holding people’s feet to the fire, and we plan to continue doing so.”
By the third quarter, Hertz anticipates the demand for its cars to be much stronger, as it usually surges with travelers seeking summer getaways, so it doesn’t want to lose out on that business, Lauria explained.
The sooner Hertz can get out of bankruptcy the better, he said, because the process is so costly — and the company desperately needs cash to rebuild its fleet and remain competitive.
The bankruptcy forced the company to sell off roughly 200,000 vehicles to help pay off the lenders who financed them.
Under the current plan, the company has secured $7 billion for the purchase of vehicles through 2022 and 2023, and a grand total of $12.4 billion of “fully committed capital to fund our exit,” with many of its creditors paid in full, or close to it, Lauria said.
“It’s really quite amazing,” he said.
As amazing as the favored deal is for creditors, however, it still gives existing shareholders nothing.
Hertz has clearly stated under that plan “existing equity will be cancelled and receive no distribution.”
Ahead of last week’s meeting, the ad hoc group of shareholders objected to the plan, arguing there had to be a better one out there.
The plan by the competing group would pay unsecured bondholders in full, while offering existing shareholders equity in the reorganized company.
Under that plan, Hertz carries a higher enterprise value — at $6.2 billion.
May marks year since Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Hertz fell into bankruptcy after taking a huge financial blow from the coronavirus pandemic.
Just as it appeared the company had turned the corner on an ambitious turnaround plan, the pandemic hit, stopping the rental car giant in its tracks in March of last year.
Hertz lost most of its revenue when travel shut down due to COVID-19. The company has fought to make a comeback ever since.
At the time of its Chapter 11 filings last May, the company had accrued nearly $20 billion in debt.
In addition to its namesake brand, Hertz operates the Dollar and Thrifty car rental services.
In May 2013, Hertz announced the relocation of its global headquarters from New Jersey to Estero, following the acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
The new multimillion-dollar headquarters opened in 2015.
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UPDATED with latest: Friday was by far the deadliest day of the pandemic in California. On Wednesday, California saw a frightening new high of 432 Covid-related deaths. Thursday’s number dipped slightly to 428. On Friday, the number of lives recorded lost to the virus rocketed to 585. That’s a 37% rise in one day.
Some of the deaths were from a data backlog due to an L.A.-area Internet outage and the holidays, but that asterisk has been applicable every day this week. For comparison, the 7-day average of deaths was 239 on Wednesday.
According to its data dashboard, the state saw 47,198 new infections on Friday. As with Los Angeles County, that number represents a rise from generally much lower daily cases the past two weeks. The fear, of course, is that the rise could be related to gatherings and travel over the holidays. It could represent the beginning of a new, unparalleled surge.
Los Angeles County Covid-19 Update: Daily New Cases Jump For First Time in Weeks, Up 5,000 Day-Over-Day
The number of virus-related hospitalizations was very near the all-time high at 21,433.
PREVIOUSLY on Wednesday California Governor Gavin Newsom spent much of his Wednesday Covid-19 briefing discussing new plans to reopen schools. But amidst those details, he also reported the news that the state had recorded a shocking 432 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours.
For comparison, the already very high 7-day average of deaths was 239 on Wednesday. The previous daily record in the state was 379 deaths on December 16. Even more shocking, on November 30, the number of daily Covid-19 deaths was 70. So Wednesday’s number represents a mind-numbing 617% increase in the past 30 days. Over 14 days, announced the governor grimly, “that’s 3,477 lives lost.”
For those who early in the pandemic maintained Covid-19 was little more than the flu, 3,477 deaths represents more than 50% of California’s typical number of deaths from the flu in a year when the flu was widespread.
Newsom announced 30,921 new cases of Covid-19 had been identified in the state on Wednesday. He noted that number reflected a “plateauing we’re seeing outside of L.A. County, outside of Southern California more broadly.” L.A. County, of course, remained the epicenter of the virus in the state and possibly the country.
California’s test positivity rate in the state was 12.2% over the past 14 days. Newsom said, “There is now some evidence that that number is plateauing, as well,” but cautioned against putting too much faith in that dip.
He said there were over 20,000 people hospitalized with Covid-19. “You’re beginning to see that number decline modestly statewide,” he added.
The problem area — in addition to deaths — is in state ICUs, especially in the Central Valley and Southern California. “That’s our focus,” said Newsom.
While the diminishing daily case numbers do indicate the dreaded Thanksgiving surge may have worked its way through the state, CA’s Director of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, indicated the state may not yet be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Health officials are still worried, “not just because of thanksgiving,” said Ghaly, “but now because of Hanukah and Christmas.” If those holidays saw an equal or greater amount of travel and household mixing, the worst may be yet to come.
In fact, the state’s own modeling predicts California will see a 100% increase in total hospitalizations by January 29 and a 60% increase in Covid-19 patients requiring ICU care.
You can watch Governor Newsom’s news conference below.