Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear: Mexico opens its first drive-through art show as coronavirus rages on – travel

When a group of artists and galleries grew tired of holding online events during the coronavirus pandemic, they came up with another idea: a drive-through exhibit in the underground parking garage of a Mexico City mall.

With videos, sculptures, photographs and even an old car, the contemporary show is called “Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” in an allusion to the experience of perceiving art from inside an automobile. The idea was inspired in part by a drive-through gentleman’s club that opened in Portland, Oregon, as a response to Covid-19, said one of the organizers.

“It’s a platform for artists to get their names out there and for people to experience art in person,” said co-creator Mariangeles Reygadas.


In other words, the art show must go on, even amid a worsening pandemic. The goal is to attract museum goers crimped by restricted hours and capacity limits at traditional venues, while also enticing people who are tired of months of staying home. In the exhibit, cars slowly drive through three levels of the parking garage while listening to an audio track that can be downloaded.

Outside the safety of a personal vehicle, the pandemic keeps getting worse. Cases in Mexico City stand at 179,791 with deaths at 16,683. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who tested positive herself last month, further restricted opening hours for restaurants, movie theaters and gyms last week.

Thus the potential attraction of events in which people never leave their cars. In the drive-through show, which has 37 pieces of art, there are currently six galleries involved and 24 artists, most of them Mexican and ranging from well-established to up-and-coming.


The exhibit charges 35 pesos ($1.73) and the proceeds will be donated to an artists’ foundation, Reygadas said.

The exhibition was mostly funded by the architectural group that designed the Antara mall in Mexico City’s swanky Polanco neighborhood. The exhibit will be open to the public Nov. 14 through Dec. 20 — though Reygadas says she hopes for additional drive-through shows even after the pandemic subsides.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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Former Miss World Australia Erin Holland reveals odd bedroom habit

Aussie TV host and former Miss World Australia Erin Holland has opened up about her odd bedroom habit.

Before the pandemic hit, Holland was flying overseas more than 10 times each year to take part in cricket coverage in India, Pakistan and Dubai.

When she was in Australia, she was flying domestically at least once a week, often to visit her fiance, Ben Cutting, who is a professional cricketer based in Brisbane.

So news.com.au asked Holland to share some of her best travel hacks, one of which included two must-have items that she takes to bed with her every night.

“Because I’m often travelling to different time zones, sleep’s incredibly important to me,” Holland said. “To help combat jet lag, I actually always sleep in an eye mask and ear plugs.

“It sounds crazy,” she said. “But it’s given me some sort of regularity no matter where I am.

“I’ve just found that by incorporating that into my daily routine, even when I’m at home, I’m getting a solid sleep and that helps me function.”

Here are Holland’s other travel hacks.

• “I’m big on going to the gym on the morning of a flight, particularly long-haul flights. You’re about to sit down all day and that’s not great for your body, so I find doing a gym session before you go to get the blood pumping helps. And then when I land, I’ll try and get a gym session in the first 12 hours before I sleep because it helps my body sleep better. I’ve found exercise is really helpful in terms of battling jet lag.”

• “With some of the places I go, it’s not actually that easy to get what you need. If I’m going to India or Pakistan or Nepal for work, I have to hit the ground running, so I don’t actually have any time to hunt down toiletries or make-up. So I actually have a travel pack that I leave stocked and ready to go 24/7 now. I grab these two little bags that are full of everything I need – shampoo, conditioner, bobby pins, fake tan – and I just throw it in my bag and I know I’m going to have everything I need to be on camera on the other end.”

• “Learning how to pack smartly is really important. This is where good quality brands and clothes that have multiple functions come into their own, which is why I absolutely love Icebreaker (New Zealand-based apparel company). They’re made of Merino wool that regulates your temperature, so I always have one of their jumpers with me in my carry-on bag too because it’s always cold on a plane. Also, when you’re travelling and you can’t clean your clothes as often, they’re actually odour resistant.”

Holland has been working with Icebreaker to promote the fact the company has pledged to go completely plastic free by 2023.

The company made the pledge after statistics revealed more than 500,000 tonnes of textiles and leather end up in landfill in Australia each year.

“I try to think about the environment as often as I can and I think it’s important we educate ourselves on our personal impact with our life choices, but fashion just wasn’t one of the things I thought of,” Holland told news.com.au.

The model urged Aussies to try to buy quality items rather than cheap goods.

“When I was younger I’d see items that I’d really like, but I couldn’t afford it so I’d just buy the cheap and nasty version,” she said. “And that would quickly fall apart because it was poorly made and then I’d buy something else.

“The older I get the more I’m trying to redirect my mind to go, OK, invest in something that’s way better quality. It might cost you a bit more at the time but you’ll get so much more wear out of it and therefore your overall consumption of fashion is much less in the long run, so quality over quantity.

“I think it’s time we all put a little more thought into the things we’re buying,” Holland added. “So if we can make more sustainable opinions without feeling we’re compromising on the look and the quality, why shouldn’t we?”

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CEO Jayne Hrdlicka unveils plan to save airline

Virgin Australia’s new chief executive, Jayne Hrdlicka, has unveiled her grand plans to resurrect the airline from its financial woes, sparked by the coronavirus lockdown.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Ms Hrdlicka said the new Virgin would target the mid-market of the aviation industry and would cater to price-conscious travellers wanting a premium experience.

“Australia already has a low-cost carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won’t be either,” she said, in reference to Jetstar and Qantas, respectively.

“Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a great value airfare and better service.”

Virgin Australia collapsed in April and went into voluntary administration following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with debts of 6.8 billion.

Ms Hrdlicka replaces Paul Scurrah as CEO who announced his resignation in October.

The former boss of rival airline Jetstar between 2012 and 2017 said the Adelaide COVID-19 cluster outbreaks highlighted the ongoing uncertainty plaguing the travel market, but demand for flights was improving.

“As we have seen with the recent issues with South Australia, the travel market remains uncertain. We are however seeing some positive signs of recovery,” she said.

“We expect continued volatility, but as demand recovers, we’ll achieve a market share consistent with our pre-COVID position and continue to invest in, and grow, the fleet in line with increases in demand.”

Virgin Australia has also confirmed all its lounges will reopen on Wednesday, however Darwin, Cairns and Mackay lounges would permanently close and its Canberra lounge remains under review.

The airline will retain its regional flight business and expects to retain one-third of the Australian aviation market, which it held before the health crisis.

No changes will be made to its Velocity frequent flyer program and will be the only domestic airline to offer three different seating classes.

International private equity firm Bain Capital acquired Virgin following its entry into voluntary administration for $700 million.

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What Virgin Australia will look like after Bain Capital takeover

Free snacks will go, business class will stay and fares are promised to be cheaper as Virgin Australia’s new boss unveils details of the new-look airline.

Incoming chief executive officer Jayne Hrdlicka said Virgin Australia 2.0 would be a “mid-market” airline that would retain its Economy, Economy X and Business classes.

Complimentary snacks in economy will be replaced by purchase-only food, although free tea, coffee and water will keep being offered.

In-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi on Virgin Australia flights are under review.

Virgin Australia’s lounges will start reopen from today in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Gold Coast.

The Darwin, Cairns and Mackay lounges will close and the Canberra lounge is under review.

Virgin Australia said there would be no material change to the Velocity Frequent Flyer program.

The changes were announced this morning as US private equity firm Bain Capital formally takes over Virgin Australia as it emerges from seven months in administration.

Administrator Deloitte handed over the reins after the $3.5 billion sale to Bain Capital was completed on Tuesday.

Today is also Ms Hrdlicka’s first day in the top job as she replaces Paul Scurrah, who announced his departure from the airline last month after steering Virgin Australia through its worst year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Hrdlicka said this morning Virgin Australia would be neither a low-cost carrier or a full-service airline, but in the “mid-market”.

“Australia already has a low-cost-carrier and a traditional full-service airline, and we won’t be either,” she said.

“Virgin Australia will be a mid-market carrier appealing to customers who are after a great value airfare and better service. We will continue to evolve our offering for our customers based on data and feedback, but the Virgin Australia experience millions of travellers know and love is here to stay.”

The announcement today also talks up a “re-imagined” business class lounge at Adelaide Airport as well as new state-of-the-art check-in facilities that will be rolled out across major airports by December 2021.

The company will also keep Virgin Australia Regional Airlines after a strategic review of its operating model. It has already closed its low-cost subsidiary Tigerair Australia.

Little has been revealed today about Virgin Australia’s domestic network or whether international travel would make a return.

“As we have seen with the recent issues with South Australia, the travel market remains uncertain. We are however seeing some positive signs of recovery,” Ms Hrdlicka said.

“Borders are beginning to open and a potential vaccine is on the way. We expect continued volatility, but as demand recovers, we’ll achieve a market share consistent with our pre-COVID position and continue to invest in, and grow, the fleet in line with increases in demand.

“Shaping our future will be a collaborative effort across the Virgin Australia Group and I’m thrilled to see the genuine excitement from our people about the future of their airline.”

Ms Hrdlicka previously served as chief executive at Jetstar and A2 Milk and was part of the team that helped secure Bain Capital’s purchase of Virgin Australia.

Speculation has mounted in recent months Bain Capital planned to strip the airline back to a low-cost carrier, reneging on assurances in its purchase bid that was accepted by creditors in September.

Virgin Australia has already announced it would streamline its aircraft fleet to only Boeing 737s, axe budget subsidiary Tigerair and lay off around 3000 workers as it rebuilt into a “value” airline.

There has been little clarity on what the on-board experience would be like with Virgin Australia 2.0, or the future of the company’s frequent flyer scheme, Velocity.

Virgin Australia went into voluntary administration in April, with a debt pile of around $6.8 billion, after years of financial trouble.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the airline to suspend its international operations and ground almost its entire domestic fleet.

The job cuts announced in August affected about one-third of the Brisbane-based airline’s workforce across cabin crew, ground crew, engineers, baggage handlers and some international head office staff.

The airline’s transition to a single Boeing 737 fleet for domestic and short-haul international travel means it has ditched its ATR, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and A320 aircraft.

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Virgin’s Paul Scurrah gives insight into final months

Former Virgin Australia boss Paul Scurrah has given a rare insight into his final months at the airline and how his initial plan to restructure the airline was put “on steroids” as he worked to save it.

As borders closed around the world, and then around the country, Mr Scurrah was already working to get the company out of financial hot water.

The initial aim of his 18-month stint at Virgin was to overhaul the operation and make it profitable.

That included the future of Tigerair, which he believes would still be operating if not for COVID-19.

But once the borders had slammed shut and Virgin Australia was down to one flight a day – Melbourne to Sydney – the lack of financial security began to hit home.

Mr Scurrah’s restructuring plan for the airline was already in motion when Virgin went into administration, so he was left with no tricks in the bag.

“Basically it was the restructuring plan we already had on the way but on steroids,” he told NCA NewsWire.

“We actually did what we would have done in five years in three months.”

Virgin Australia was forced into administration as a result of the pandemic, despite Mr Scurrah’s efforts.

The process resulted in budget airline Tigerair collapsing, about 4500 staff across both Tigerair and Virgin Australia being made redundant, Bain Capital becoming the new owners and installing a new CEO.

His efforts in steering Virgin Australia out of administration meant he became the public face of the airline through its darkest days.

Not that it bothers him or appears to have done him any harm.

His name is now being whispered in high-powered circles as a potential CEO for Australia Post and chair of Channel 9, vacated this week by Hugh Marks.

There’s even speculation the Queensland Government has sounded the 52-year-old out as a consultant for the 2032 Olympics, should Brisbane be awarded the Games.

And while he’s flattered, Mr Scurrah says he’s unlikely to be sitting behind a desk anytime soon.

“This will be one of those events that is pinned to my name and reputation forever and I’m really proud of the way we did it,” he said.

“I haven’t thrown my hat in the ring for anything, but I’ve been sounded out for a number of roles, which I will not say which ones.

“But I haven’t sent in any expression of interest for anything.”

Relaxing at home, Mr Scurrah said he needed time to unwind and unpack the toughest nine months of his working life but bears no grudge against the airline, which he desperately wants to succeed.

“I made a promise to myself not to say yes to anything pre-Christmas but to be honest I’d be surprised if I am gainfully employed within the next six months,” Mr Scurrah said.

“I’m still consulting to Bain until the end of January, to assist with the transition and set it up for success and I think I owe it to myself to have an extended break and take the opportunity.”

Having been involved in every tough decision since COVID-19 shut down the industry until Virgin Australia found new owners, Mr Scurrah has always maintained his departure was on “mutual” terms.

That’s despite weeks of speculation before his departure that Bain Capital would bring in Jayne Hrdlicka as CEO.

Ms Hrdlicka had experience leading budget airline Jetstar and had served as president of Tennis Australia.

“Jayne is the right person for Bain because she is familiar with them and they are familiar with her and (she is) the right person to execute their plan,” Mr Scurrah said.

He also credits Deloitte administrator Vaughan Strawbridge for his diligence and ability to find a buyer for the airline within three months.

Now it is in safe hands, he said the company would focus on its core customer base of 10 million Velocity members while he expected notable changes for in-flight service.

“In the long term this will create a stronger competitor to Qantas and Jetstar because we have taken the opportunity to completely reset the cost base,” he said.

“The product will stay pretty similar but you will probably end up seeing things like charging for food.”

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State officials eye McCall-area land swap amid opposition

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A investment firm’s proposal to swap private timberland in northern Idaho for up to 44 square miles (114 square kilometers) of public state land in and around the tourist destination of McCall faced opposition Tuesday from local governments, environmental groups and private citizens.

Trident Holdings LLC pitched the plan to Republican Gov. Brad Little and four other statewide-elected members of the Idaho Land Board, all of whom remained non-committal in what was an information-item only on the agenda with no action allowed to be taken by the board.

The Land Board manages nearly 4,000 square miles (10,300 square kilometers) Idaho received at statehood to benefit mainly public schools. The board is constitutionally mandated to manage that land, as well as market investments, to get the greatest long-term return. The Land Board last fiscal year generated about $85 million for distribution.

Most of that revenue is generated through timber sales. But state-owned land in and near McCall, which is also a popular area for vacation homes, has skyrocketed in value. That means timber revenue and other uses, such as developing the land, make it conceivable that the best financial return on that land might be to simply dispose of it in exchange for some other type of asset.

Trident’s founder and manager, Alec Williams, pitched the plan as a way for the state to fulfill its mission of generating money for endowment land beneficiaries while also signing off on a deal that will preserve public access and recreational opportunities in the McCall area. He said the plan will preserve open space and create the state’s largest park. But there would also be development.

“There is a profit motive here,” Williams told the board, which met remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal given to the board says “a limited amount of development will occur in targeted areas.” This is described as both residential areas and hospitality areas, meaning such things as homes, hotels or resorts. But the plan doesn’t contain precise details.

McCall is a destination for many people, including the governor, who has family history in the area.

“I readily admit I’m biased toward McCall because of my long affiliation,” he said. But he also said the board has to be aware that any decision could set a precedent for other areas of the state that have their supporters.

“We need to think about what the ramifications are for the portfolio,” Little said.

The state manages about 285 square miles (740 square kilometers) in the area, with 115 square miles (300 square kilometers) primarily as timberlands. About 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) are within McCall’s designated area of impact, including highly sought-after shoreline along Payette Lake. That land is classified as timberland assets, but it is surrounded by land classified with higher values.

The Idaho Department of Lands, which the Land Board directs, also presented a plan for the area. It’s separate from Trident’s plan but includes much of the same land.

A primary problem for the state is that some lands in the area are not producing as much money as they could, and revenue isn’t commensurate with the actual value of the land. That potentially means the Land Board isn’t meeting its constitutional requirement to maximize the long-term financial return on that land.

So the department is looking at how best to change that situation, meaning transitioning those lands to some other use. The department proposed a three-phased approach to the board involving short-term plans up to five years, medium-term plans of five to 10 years, and long-term plans of more than 10 years. The different phases would apply to parcels of land as they transitioned to different uses to maintain an appropriate return on the investment.

The board also took public comments.

Dave Bingaman, a Valley County commissioner, speaking on behalf of the county and the city of McCall, asked the board to extend a moratorium on leases and land exchanges in the area to allow for additional study.

“We only have once chance to do this right,” he said.

Nick Harris of Burgdorf Hot Springs, a tourist draw currently closed because of the pandemic, said Trident was low-balling the state, and would get about $1.1 billion of land in and around the McCall area for about $45 million of timberland under the current proposal.

“It would take an incredible amount of timberland to make this deal even remotely fair,” he said.

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NSW residents not to travel to SA unless necessary, Berejiklian warns

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned residents not to travel to South Australia unless necessary, as the state battles an alarming outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

Ms Berejiklian, who has not made any changes to border arrangements between both states in light of the outbreak, said residents should delay all non-essential travel “for a few days”.

“We are confident that South Australia has it under control,” Ms Berejiklian told media on Wednesday morning.

“We’re just saying to our community – yes, the borders are completely open, but if you can delay it for a few days unless you have to go there, please do so.

“Essential travel is still allowed on the borders are completely open.”

South Australia’s outbreak continues to grow, with the current figure sitting at 20 cases linked to the original source. NSW has reached 10 days without a single locally transmitted case of coronavirus.

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard echoed the Premier’s comments, saying that while they will not be making any “knee-jerk reactions”, residents should avoid South Australia for now.

“We’re not worried, we are obviously watching and being briefed on what has been going on…but no matter how hard you try, these things can happen,” he told Sunrise.

“But I think it’s a very telling reminder to all of us in NSW, particularly those living in Southwest and Western Sydney, that complacency, apathy, it’s not good. If you have any symptoms, go and get tested.

“What I would say to residents of NSW is, don’t go to Adelaide unless you really need to at the moment. It’s not wise, not good for you, not good for the community.

“I would say to people from Adelaide, please don’t come to NSW unless you really need to.

“We are not going to do any knee-jerk reactions and I think, each state and territory has its right to respond the way it wants to respond, but that’s certainly not the way NSW has responded.

“We have tried to strike a balance between living with COVID and making sure our economy is moving on.”

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Island mayor in Hawaii wants additional COVID screening

HONOLULU (AP) – An island mayor in Hawaii is asking Gov. David Ige to consider new rules that would make a second coronavirus test mandatory for all arriving travelers to Kauai and require that everyone has an initial negative test before flying.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami made a similar request in October when the state launched its pre-travel testing program that allows travelers to skip two weeks of quarantine if they get a single negative test within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii.

Now Kawakami wants to mandate that all air travelers get a second test three days after they arrive. They would have to remain in quarantine on Kauai during that time.

Gov. Ige denied Kawakami’s first request for mandatory second tests in October. The governor’s office said the governor is reviewing the new request Tuesday and had no further comment.

Kawakami also asked the governor to allow Kauai to require anyone flying to the island have their initial negative test result before flying. Currently, people are allowed to fly to any island in Hawaii and if the results from their first pre-travel test have not yet come back, they can quarantine in their hotel room or home until the results are available.

“We know this announcement will result in a lot of frustration for travelers and those in our visitor industry, but the outbreak of COVID-19 across the nation is occurring at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen before,” Kawakami said in a statement released Monday night. “We have the unique opportunity to see the wave of disease coming, and in order to avoid a full shutdown, we must take decisive, aggressive action.”

The statement said Kauai has had 9 travelers arrive since the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program that did not have their test results before landing and then they came back positive once there.

Kauai also had 12 people come to the island with a negative pre-travel test and then subsequently test positive in secondary screening.

Residents of Kauai, which implemented strict lockdown measures early in the pandemic, enjoyed a mostly COVID-free summer.

“A month into the state’s Safe Travels program, it is clear that a single pre-travel test is not sufficient to protect us from the spread of COVID-19. Our cases are increasing much faster than initial state projections,” said Kawakami. “Since Oct. 15, Kaua‘i has reported 26 travel-related cases, including 14 cases from returning residents.”

Mayors across the state had urged Gov. David Ige to implement a mandatory second test, but there was pushback as the state tried to get its tourism-based economy moving again.

The governor said island counties could implement their own secondary testing programs if they wanted to.

Maui and Kauai counties decided on voluntary secondary testing for visitors. The Big Island requires secondary rapid screening upon arrival for visitors to avoid quarantine. Oahu officials have said they want to put another layer of screening in place but do not yet have the testing capacity.

Previously anyone traveling to Hawaii was required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

Kawakami’s proposal would require that travelers quarantine for three days after arrival and then get a second test. If they test negative then, they would be released from quarantine.

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States tightening anti-virus restrictions amid case surge

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The deadly rise in COVID-19 cases across the U.S. is forcing state and local officials to adjust their blueprints for fighting the virus, with Republican governors adopting mask mandates – skeptically, in at least one case – and schools scrapping plans to reopen classrooms.

The steps face blowback from those who question the science behind mask wearing and social distancing and fear the new restrictions will kill off more jobs and trample on their civil liberties.

In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds had pushed back against a mask mandate for months but imposed a limited one Tuesday, becoming the latest GOP holdout to change course on face coverings. At the same time, she claimed “there’s science on both sides” about whether masks reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, public health officials are bracing for a holiday-fueled surge. Doctors are urging families to stick to small gatherings.

Governors in Ohio, Maryland and Illinois imposed restrictions on business hours and crowd sizes Tuesday, and their counterparts in Wisconsin and Colorado proposed economic relief packages. Los Angeles County, with a population of 10 million, ordered similar business restrictions.


The key measures of the country’s effectiveness in managing the pandemic are all heading in the wrong direction. Hospitalizations, deaths and cases are all skyrocketing in the U.S.

In its weekly internal report, the White House coronavirus task force warned of an “aggressive, unrelenting” spread of the coronavirus across the country “without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration,” a senior administration official said Tuesday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations, said the task force concluded that existing efforts to slow the spread “are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve” and that Thanksgiving travel and gatherings could “amplify transmission considerably.”

More than 73,000 people – an all-time high – were hospitalized with the virus in the U.S. as of Monday, an increase of over 3,000 from just a day earlier, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitals are running out of space, and nurses and doctors in Kansas are converting waiting areas to patient rooms and spending upwards of eight hours on the phone trying to secure beds at other hospitals.

More than 166,000 newly confirmed infections were reported on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The average number of new cases per day has more than doubled over the past few weeks.

The virus is blamed for more than 1.3 million deaths worldwide, including over 247,000 in the U.S. Deaths per day in the U.S. have climbed to an average of 1,145, up from 828 two weeks ago.

The national death toll is on pace to keep climbing in the coming days as states set new records. Wisconsin reported 92 new deaths Tuesday, shattering its daily record of 66 set last week.


Since the election, Republican governors in hard-hit Iowa, North Dakota and Utah have reversed course and put in place requirements on masks, and others have extended or expanded earlier orders.

Plenty of other elected officials and residents are balking at such requirements despite the surge. And some local law enforcement authorities have refused to enforce mask requirements.

In Utah, dozens of people opposed to a statewide mask mandate protested outside the home of Gov. Gary Herbert. In South Dakota, the state with the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths per capita in November, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has no plans to issue mask requirements.

Doctors serving Idaho and eastern Oregon spent hours Tuesday trying to sway health districts, city leaders and the public to do more to stop the spread of coronavirus, warning that rationed care is looming in Idaho’s future. But in Idaho, they were met with skepticism, as some residents in attendance either denied the existence of the virus or disputed its severity. Idaho is experiencing a severe and unchecked community spread of COVID-19 in much of the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says masks can help protect you and those around you.

A more stringent mask mandate took effect on Tuesday in California, where Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said residents will be required to cover up outdoors, with limited exceptions.

And in New Orleans, officials took the drastic step of canceling the beloved, but traditionally packed Mardi Gras and Carnival parades that draw visitors from around the world. The city has a 250-person cap on outdoor crowds to limit the virus’s spread.

“You can’t have traditional parades with that small a group,” city spokesman Beau Tidwell said Tuesday. The next Mardi Gras is Feb. 16; the parades usually run for about two weeks.


The rising infection rates are prompting some school districts to revert to remote learning or postpone a return to classroom instruction.

In South Dakota, the Rapid City-area school system plans to close all schools and move to virtual instruction on Wednesday. The district’s latest data showed 94 students and 47 staff with an active case of COVID-19, while 105 staff and 676 students were in quarantine following exposure.

In metro Las Vegas, the Clark County school district postponed plans to resume partial in-class instruction and will continue with remote learning through at least the end of the calendar year.

West Virginia’s largest teachers organization urged Republican Gov. Jim Justice to make public schools online-only. The state recorded more than 4,400 cases during the week ending Sunday, a 63% increase from the previous week. The governor already has barred in-person instruction from Thanksgiving through Dec. 3 to avoid outbreaks from holiday travel.


The world received welcome news in the past week with positive preliminary results on two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but scientists are worried that volunteers will stop coming forward take part in studies of other vaccines under development. Thousands are still needed.


Kunzelman reported from College Park, Maryland. Associated Press writers across the country contributed to this report.

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Boston mayor doesn’t rule out economic shutdown

BOSTON (AP) – Mayor Marty Walsh didn’t rule out shutting down Boston restaurants and other businesses again if the number of coronavirus cases reported in the city continues to rise.

The city’s positivity rate for the week ending Nov. 12 was 9.6%, up significantly from summer averages of 1.8% to 2.8%, he said at a City Hall news conference Tuesday.

“I don’t want to be standing in front of this podium three weeks from now shutting down restaurants and retail shops and businesses and sports and schools and everything that we’ve done,” Walsh said. “We don’t want to go backwards.”

He said an economic shutdown would be a last resort.

Walsh also urged people to spend Thanksgiving only with immediate members of their household.

The city will start releasing data on six key metrics twice a week in an effort to better track the spread of infections and monitor hospital capacity, he said.

Those metrics include the average number of daily cases, the community-level test positivity, the average number of daily tests administered, ICU capacity and percentage of nonsurge beds occupied, overall number of beds available and the average number of emergency visits related to COVID-19, according to Marty Martinez, chief of the city’s Office Health and Human Services.



Massachusetts’ state courts will resume jury trials at the end of this month to deal with a growing backlog of cases caused by the coronavirus, but with new safety measures in place.

The first trials with six-person juries presiding over simple criminal and civil cases at nine courthouses will serve as a test for a broader reopening, The Boston Globe reported.

If the plan works, higher profile cases with 12-member juries will be heard starting in February.

“We are determined to provide due process to the parties in the cases that are pending, while balancing risks to jurors, trial participants and court staff,” said Superior Court Chief Justice Judith Fabricant, a member of an advisory committee that in July issued a report on how to safely resume trials.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers worry about trials being indefinitely delayed, depriving defendants of their right to a speedy trial.

“There’s no easy solution to this, so you’ve got to be careful that people’s very important constitutional rights are upheld, even in this stressful, unique time,” said Randy Gioia, deputy chief counsel of the public defender division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Jurors will be required to notify the court if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to anyone with the disease. Everyone in the courtroom will be required to wear a mask at all times, except for witnesses who may remove them on the stand, which will be shielded by plexiglass.

Jury duty can be deferred for several reasons, including health concerns.


Boston University students who go home for Thanksgiving are being urged to stay away until next semester as a precaution to avoid bringing the coronavirus back to campus.

In a recent message to students, university officials implored students to stay on campus for the holiday, adding that those who travel will be required to isolate for seven days and receive three negative virus tests upon their return to campus.

Since the isolation period would end shortly before the end of this term’s classes, officials said students who travel will be better off finishing their classes remotely. The university cited surging virus rates across the state and nation.

Boston University joins a growing number of schools taking measures to curb travel around the holiday.

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