Omicron Travel Safety Tips: 5 things to remember before you travel

Omicron scare: 5 things to remember before you travel

Omicron scare: 5 things to remember before you travel

Omicron, the new variant of Coronavirus, has left the world scared once again. The variant, first detected in Botswana, Africa, has now reached 40 countries, including India. Till now, India has repor…

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Editorial: Winter weather safety tip: Just slow down (1/8/22)

It snowed Thursday in Southeast Missouri.

Close to home, we got about an inch, or less in some places. Our neighbors to the east got 2-3 inches and extreme southern portions of the Bootheel saw 4-6 inches.

Let’s be honest. A lot of folks in our area aren’t used to driving in snowy conditions.

But that still doesn’t make the nearly 100 crashes throughout Troop E an easier figure to grasp. That number accounts for only the accidents the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to on state highways, which tend to receive more and faster treatment than some of our rural roads.

It doesn’t capture all of the slide offs and accidents that city and county officials responded to, or the ones that weren’t reported to law enforcement.

Sgt. Clark Parrott with the Missouri State Highway Patrol didn’t pull any punches when he gave the reason for the accidents. It was “recklessness,” he said bluntly.

“That’s what we’ve seen in all 13 counties of Southeast Missouri, is people driving too fast for the conditions,” he said.

We may not get a lot of snow here, compared to our neighbors to the north, but folks, we do get a lot of rain and even ice at times.

We know we need to slow down when the roads get slippery. Unfortunately, we just choose not to.

And how much of a difference does not slowing down really make in our day?

A Butler County first responder explained it this way, when dealing with far too many high speed crash deaths.

You can get to your destination in 60 minutes, at 60 miles per hour.

If you drive 120 miles an hour, with no interruptions (farm traffic, the slow driver with the persistent left hand turn signal, just to name a few), then you’ll arrive in 30 minutes.

If you can manage 90 miles an hour, with no interruptions, you’ll arrive in 45 minutes.

None of those scenarios are likely. So at full speed, pushing the speedometer up is likely to save you less than 15 minutes of travel time overall.

Those numbers shrink even more in stop-and-go town traffic.

And if you drop your speed below the posted limit, to a safe, slow crawl to allow for weather conditions, you’re not adding much to your commute. Again, it might be another 15 minutes or so.

But the cost of sliding off into the ditch, into another vehicle or worse is so much higher.

We still have a lot of January and February left.

We hope this first measurable snow will be a teaching moment for those drivers who keep their foot on the gas pedal as roads get worse.

Just slow down. That’s all it takes to make your day much better, and that of our first responders who spent a lot of time out in the cold Thursday helping people who knew better get home.

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Improvements For NYC’s Delivery Workers’ Safety And Working Conditions To Start In January

This holiday weekend, as many New Yorkers once again hunker down at home during the latest surge of Covid cases, the city’s intense reliance on delivery apps for essential goods is highlighting advocates’ call for better protections for the delivery workers who have toiled without a safety net.

A slate of city laws for delivery workers is set to kick in the new year and will roll out in stages, commencing in January with more oversight of the delivery apps and increased transparency for the more than 65,000 delivery workers in New York City.

Starting next month, delivery apps must be licensed by the city to operate in the five boroughs. By January 24th, licensed apps that take customer orders directly will be required to notify delivery workers how much each customer tips for each delivery, and the total pay and tips for the previous day. The city will now require that restaurants provide the delivery workers with better access to restrooms.

More reforms will come in April, when delivery workers will then be able to control how far they are willing to travel, the details of routes and addresses before accepting a delivery order, and the right to be paid weekly without a processing fee. The delivery apps must also provide a free insulated bag for food deliveries once the worker has made six deliveries.

The reforms also allow delivery workers to avoid bridges and tunnels on their routes, a recognition of the violence that some have faced in the course of their work. The city said it will add additional lighting and NYPD cameras at Willis Avenue Bridge bike paths, more safety resources at bridge crossings into Manhattan, an e-bike-etching program to deter theft, and more helmet giveaways for delivery workers.

Los Deliveristas Unidos, the subset of the Worker’s Justice Project that organized delivery workers to demand better protections, will help the city mount an extensive outreach campaign to educate workers about the new policies, said Hildalyn Colón Hernández, Director of Policy and Strategic Partnerships for Los Deliveristas Unidos.

“Laws are great. But if the workers don’t know what those rights are, and what happens if it doesn’t work, it’s like having nothing,” Hernández said.

Peter Hatch, the commissioner for the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, said New York City is among the first cities in the country to offer better protections for delivery workers after the pandemic fueled “an explosive growth of the industry.”

“We are essentially building a floor of worker protections that didn’t exist in the unregulated industry. And we think they are robust,” Hatch said.

Enforcement will fall on the apps, who will need to follow the new policies in order to be licensed or eventually face fines. Hatch said the workers themselves will have legal recourse as well: “We would work with the city’s law department, and potentially…file a case in state court” if investigations reveal patterns of violation, Hatch said. “In addition, individual workers who have these protections, they also have private rights of action and they can go to court as well.”

While Grubhub previously told WNYC/Gothamist that they support the package of reforms, the company joined DoorDash and UberEats in a lawsuit in September to fight a permanent fee cap on delivery services.

Perhaps the biggest change will come next year, when the city will set a new minimum pay rate for delivery workers who currently make a median hourly wage of $7.94, or $12.21 with tips included, according to a study released in September. The rate will be determined by the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection in consultation with workers and other stakeholders.

Hernández of Los Deliveristas Unidos said she hoped the New York movement spurs national reform for delivery worker protections.

“It’s just the beginning. And we need to start from somewhere,” she said. “We are setting minimum standards in an industry that just emerged.”

“It’s like 2021 and I have to go through the legislation process to vote for somebody to use the restroom,” she added.

As for customers who use the delivery apps before the reforms set in next year, Hernández has a request – a quick friendly chat with the delivery worker to ensure the tip was actually paid to them will help ensure transparency, she said.

“What they’re asking us for is for respect, to be treated fairly,” she said. “Just take five seconds and say, ‘hey, thank you for the food. Did you get the tip? Can you check that you make sure you got the tip?’”

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COVID-19 travel safety is once again a priority this holiday season | News

As the Omicron variant of COVID spreads, we’re learning how it’s impacting local holiday plans. The simple things you can do to keep you and your family safe.

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Millions of Americans are getting ready or have already hit the road for the Christmas holiday. 

With the Omicron variant causing concern, travel safety is that much more important. 

Just like last year, local doctors are saying that holiday travel will be a tricky one to manage, but taking the right steps will keep you safe. 

Doctors say that airports are tough to stay healthy in. 

This is because they are always full of people with little room while on a plane. 

COVID-19 numbers are also expected to increase once the holiday season is over. 

But doctors say that you can keep control by getting vaccinated, getting a booster shot, and testing regularly even if you have been exposed. 

They insist to plan ahead before you leave. 

“I think that planning ahead is important so you don’t get caught in unpredictable situations,” said Dr. Dan Shirley, UW Health infectious disease physician.

At Chicago Rockford International Airport, the safety of passengers is its top priority. 

As passengers get ready to walk through the terminal doors, the airport is doing everything they can to keep people safe. 

Zack Oakley, deputy director of operations and planning at RFD stated, “For the health and safety of everyone, we continue to follow all federal guidelines which requires all passengers, staff, and guests to wear face masks while visiting the airport and to follow social distancing guidelines.”

Oakley added, “We recommend all travelers check with their airline to ensure they follow all health and safety requirements.”

However, doctors are saying the challenge is still there when traveling on an airplane. 

“The problem is they’re obviously full of people and how can you space out in that situation,” said Shirley. “Secondly, getting on an airplane involves going through an airport and all the travel to get there.”

Shirley adds that regular testing is encouraged for those that travel this holiday season, as doing so can keep you and your family safe. 

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Airlines, FAA Concerned 5G Technology Could Affect Flight Safety

Major wireless companies Verizon Communications and AT&T are switching over to spectrum for 5G service in early January, but an airline trade group warned the change could be extremely disruptive to air travel.

Set to begin January 5, the Federal Aviation Administration said last week that interference from 5G wireless spectrum could result in flight diversions. Trade group Airlines for America said that will be costly to its industry.

“Airline customers rely on airlines to transport time-sensitive perishable products such as pharmaceuticals, vaccines, organs, critical supply chain parts, and many other high-value items,” the trade group said, according to CNBC. “The lack of serious mitigations on the part of 5G telecom companies to address interference issues will significantly disrupt and harm the economy.”

The trade group and others are asking regulators to work with the White House, cellular companies, and the aviation industry to find a solution. But the clock is ticking.

“While some AT&T and Verizon customers will gain service in many regions, the trade-off is that millions of people traveling by plane in the United States will be impacted with flight cancellations and delays in an already strained system,” the Aviation 5G Coalition said. “Time is running out before millions of air travelers and the shipping public experience significant disruptions.”

Neither Verizon nor AT&T have commented on the coalition’s claims, but a cellular industry trade group dismissed them as being overblown.

“Despite no credible evidence of a risk to aviation safety, U.S. wireless providers have voluntarily put in place the world’s most comprehensive set of temporary protections,” CTIA chief executive Meredith Attwell Baker told “We are working closely with the aviation industry and are on track to join the nearly 40 countries safely using 5G in the C-Band in January.” 

But Airlines for America said its analysis shows the plan could cost passengers $1.6 billion annually in delays. If new FAA directives were in place in 2019, approximately 5,400 cargo flights and 345,000 passenger flights would have been delayed, diverted, or canceled.

AT&T and Verizon delayed the launch of 5G to allow time for concerns to be worked out, but neither appears ready to push it back any later.

Locations already approved for the new service include areas around Seattle, Portland, most of California, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City in the western United States; most of Florida and the urban areas of New England; major cities in Texas; and cities in the Midwest from Minneapolis to Nashville.

FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel told CNBC she believes the issues can be resolved and that cellular companies can safely use the new service.

For more travel news coverage:

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Traveling Abroad Alone As A Woman Safety Tips

“Never stay in one place for too long just staring at your phone. You can easily become a target that way.”

If you’re a solo traveler or have ever been interested in traveling alone, meet Alexa Renee. She’s a 26-year-old travel blogger and content creator who’s been sharing her experiences online for about three years — and lately, her content about travel safety has been getting extra attention.

Alexa, who’s based in DC and works as a coordinator for a nonprofit, has been to about 37 countries so far and shares content focused on culturally immersive travel and budget traveling. Over time, people started asking her about staying safe while traveling alone, which inspired her to start sharing her tips.

BuzzFeed spoke to Alexa, who began sharing her travels on TikTok earlier this year. “I think a lot of people want to travel the world but may not have people to do it with,” she said. “Solo travel can be a bit nerve-racking for many, including myself sometimes. So, I figured I would make some videos about how I personally like to keep safe and try to blend in when traveling abroad.”

In this TikTok on keeping safe while traveling, Alexa shares how to keep your real-time location private, even while sharing your travels online.

“First, I never post in the moment. If I’m posting a location, it’s because I’ve already left. All of my posts are delayed by several days, or I don’t even post until I’ve come back from the trip,” she said in the video.

“With my [Instagram] stories, I try to delay [them], even when I’m home, at minimum one to two hours. I never share Airbnb, hotel information, or my itinerary during my trips, but I’m more than happy to share them when I get home. So, who does have my location? I always share my itinerary and live location with my family — that way, they can check on me.”

Alexa recently shared another TikTok on how to not stick out as a tourist, and it went viral with over 2.4 million views. “Here’s how I attempt to not stick out and stay safe while I’m traveling, keeping in mind that I’m a Black American woman who always sticks out when I travel,” she begins the video.

“I never tell people I’m traveling alone; I always say I’m on my way to meet friends or family. When I was single, I used to always say I was traveling with my husband, and I would keep a fake ring and put it on my ring finger.”

“The biggest way to become a target is if you are walking and looking down at your phone or looking at directions. Never stay in one place for too long just staring at your phone. You can easily become a target that way.”

“Before you leave your hotel, already have your directions out and mapped in preview — that way, you know exactly where you’re going. If you get lost, you can ask for directions. Just make sure you let that person know someone’s expecting you somewhere,” she continued. “I ask Ubers and taxis to pick me up or drop me off across the street from my hotel, and I always let them know I’m going to go meet a friend.”

“Never count your money in public, and always keep in mind the culture and customs when you’re packing. Like, if you’re traveling somewhere modest, you’re gonna wanna wear modest clothes so you don’t stick out too much.”

As a fellow Black woman who loves to travel, I also appreciate Alexa’s candidness about her experiences traveling abroad. For example, when one TikTok user asked if she’s ever experienced racism abroad and if there are any places they should avoid because of it, Alexa expressed, “As a Black woman, I’ve experienced racism everywhere, including here at home, in the United States, and multiple places abroad.” She concluded video saying, “Yes, I’ve experienced racism abroad, but no, I don’t think you should avoid any specific places unless there’s a safety aspect involved.”

@lilmsawkward / Via

With a history of racism, fetishization, and discrimination — as well as other safety concerns — that Black women have faced, the mere thought of traveling solo can be overwhelming. Many Black women have shared their hesitations about traveling alone — but many have also shared why they started embracing solo travel. In fact, the number of Black solo travelers has been increasing, especially as more stories are highlighted and more online communities have formed for support. According to this 2018 study, “Tweeting the Black Travel Experience,” Black tourist communities are one of the fast-growing travel groups.

For some, Alexa’s videos have also helped highlight the reality that many women in general have to take extra precautions in order to stay safe:

Overall, her content has created an engaging community where many comment with their own insights and tourist safety tips:

“It’s been so exciting to see the comments [and] a community of people contributing tips on traveling and sharing how they keep themselves safe. Lots of important conversations have started as well!” Alexa said.

Ultimately, Alexa wants to encourage people to stay safe so they can enjoy their travels even more. “Some people felt that I was contributing to some paranoia or making people not want to travel, which is the complete opposite of what I was trying to do. There’s absolutely a way to have fun and be free, but also travel safely. I wanted to just relay my perspective and tips as a Black American woman who travels often,” she said. “My end goal in anything that I do is to encourage people to see this incredibly beautiful planet we have.”

“I want people to [know] that solo travel can be safe and incredible! It’s truly an eye-opening experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. I’ve never felt more confident and sure in myself after a solo trip. I hope people are encouraged to travel and take with them some of these safety tips along the way.”

To keep up with Alexa’s adventures abroad and get more content on solo travel, be sure to follow her on Instagram @lilmsawkward and TikTok @lilmsawkward, and check out her website

TikTok videos not playing for you? You might need to change the settings on your device — here’s how.

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Travel safety protocols for COVID-19 during the holidays

By: Matt Nagy

Posted: Dec 9, 2021 6:59 PM EST

Dr. Jennifer Yu, a Senior Manager at Healthline, discusses what travelers can expect for safety protocols that will be in place at airports during the holiday season to lower COVID-19 transmission numbers.

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FHP Holiday Driving Safety Tips: Check your tires

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Checking your tire pressure might not be at the forefront of your mind before you hit the open road for the holidays but it is important.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol in 2020, there were over 3,000 tire-related crashes in Florida.

So if you are traveling during this holiday season making sure your car is in tip-top shape because it could save your life.

“Plan your trip accordingly check your tire pressure check your tire wear,” Lieutenant Jason King with the Florida Highway Patrol said. “We had over 3,000 crashes last year that resulted from poor tires. In that were over 180 serious injuries and 61 fatal’s that occurred just from tires alone. Tires are very important it is the foundation to what moves us across the highway safely.”

An additional holiday travel tip from FHP, never travel if you are tired. Driving if you have been deprived of sleep can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence

Copyright 2021 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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