Interest in the purchase of international flight tickets went up by 250% on Sunday as the Health Ministry announced that people who receive their third COVID vaccination will not have to enter full quarantine after returning from orange-designated countries, according to N12’s Lee Abramowitz.

Demand jumped immediately by 50% after the announcement in comparison to last weekend, and the air travel website Gulliver said that traffic on its website had risen by 250%, according to Abramowitz.

Israelis did not just surf the web but opened their wallets, as the number of tickets sold also rose sharply.

Israeli airlines are preparing to fly to many destinations to meet the growing demand and according to the report,  Israir will be resuming flights to Athens, Rhodes, Baku, Cyprus, Montenegro, Marrakesh and other destinations.

Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, Bulgaria and Georgia are still designated as red countries and as of Monday, travel to those countries is still restricted.    

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced at a press conference on Sunday evening that the third coronavirus vaccine shot is available for anyone who has been fully inoculated for at least five months. It was previously available only to adults over the age of 30 and workers in fields deemed essential, such as healthcare.

 Health Nitzan Horowitz attends a press conference about the Coronavirus, in Jerusalem on August 29, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Health Nitzan Horowitz attends a press conference about the Coronavirus, in Jerusalem on August 29, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
In addition, under the new rules, which are due to take effect on Friday, all those who are either vaccinated within the previous five months or who were vaccinated earlier and received a booster, will be exempt from isolation if they return from all countries, except those labeled as red.

Currently, all inbound travelers to Israel are required to quarantine for a minimum of seven days, unless they come from a very limited group of countries.

The leaders of the state House and Senate are saying that tourism marketing is no longer needed given the summer surge, and invited the Hawaii Tourism Authority to figure out what role it should play in managing tourism.

House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi made these remarks during Wednesday’s Spotlight Hawaii online broadcast. That conversation preceded today’s easing of restrictions for domestic travelers that are fully vaccinated for COVID — a move that is fueling concern that the state is unready to handle a greater swell of travelers.

Concern about overtourism has been a resounding theme that culminated Tuesday with a rare legislative override of House Bill 862, which fundamentally changes HTA’s funding and leaves its future uncertain. Hawaii’s visitor industry and business community lobbied hard to sustain Ige’s veto of HB 862, but their efforts fell one vote short in the Senate.

Asked about HTA’s role, Kouchi said: “What we’re hoping for is that we’re going to see a better collaboration between HTA and the visitor industry, the Legislature as well as the general public before we get to the point where we have incredible pushback from residents and really hurt our brand by having people who are unhappy with the visitors’ movement. We need to all be at the table working together. I think this creates a pathway for that to occur.”

Saiki later said, “I’m not sure that tourism needs to be marketed here anymore as we see now with the numbers increasing so rapidly. But I think that HTA has to help us be more strategic in how we target the kinds of the tourists, the visitors that we want to target for Hawaii.”

Their comments and the veto override are a sign that lawmakers recognize that some of their voters now hold such negative sentiments toward tourism that their views don’t change whether tourism is up or down.

Tourism hasn’t fully recovered but many residents are feeling greater effects now than during the previous peak. While the pandemic brought angst, residents also enjoyed the empty roads, beaches and hiking trails that accompanied the tourism pause.

The state’s difficulties in scaling up after the pandemic-induced slowdown also have contributed to resident and visitor dissatisfaction.

John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said the organization has been listening, and is reorganizing.

“We have realigned HTA’s primary focus from brand marketing to brand management, in our accelerated pivot toward being a more effective destination management organization that rightfully prioritizes the well-being of our communities and the initiatives in our 2020-25 Strategic Plan that are shaped by the principles of regenerative tourism,” De Fries said.

De Fries said destination management requires a long-term approach.

He said it must “encompasses environmental and cultural stewardship as well as brand marketing to ensure Hawaii maintains its globally competitive brand and can deliver on its destination promise in a way that is coordinated, authentic and market-appropriate.

“The purpose of marketing for HTA is not solely to

The Canadian government has approved a travel exemption for the final two rounds of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs that will allow teams to cross the Canada-USA border without having to quarantine, according to the CBC.

NHL players and team personnel will enter and leave the country on private planes. Players and team personnel from the United States to Canada will undergo pre- and post-arrival COVID-19 testing in addition to daily coronavirus testing. 

Players will also live in a modified quarantine bubble that includes the team hotel and arena, and they must avoid interaction with the general public. 

All players will continue to abide by the NHL’s health and safety protocols and other public health measures in Canada. 

The winner of the NHL’s all-Canadian North Division will take on an opponent in the United States. It will mark the first time regular cross-border travel occurs in the NHL since the start of the pandemic. 

The Montreal Canadiens are currently leading the Winnipeg Jets 2-0 in the North Division final. The winner of that series will face one of three U.S. division winners in the league semifinals. 

The NHL had reportedly been discussing a plan for cross-border travel for a while. 

Aaron Wylie is looking for a second job as a long-haul truck driver in order to get an exemption to travel to neighbouring New Brunswick to visit his dying mother.

During his day job, you’ll find Wylie behind the wheel of a bus, working as a transit operator for the Halifax Regional Municipality, but now he’s looking for a part-time job as a truck driver, in order to get through the provincial border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Wiley’s mother Sandra lives in Saint John, and she’s been diagnosed with liver failure, and on Tuesday, finally broke the news to her son that doctors say she could have two to four months to live, says Wylie.

“It’s trying, I’m not able to be there,” said Wylie. “And when I was hit with this Tuesday, the reality of it hadn’t set in yet.”

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The last time Wylie saw his mother and family was in December 2019. He says his mother had tried to keep her diagnosis from him, knowing he was stuck in Halifax during the third wave lockdown.

As a transit driver, Wylie holds a class 1 license and he’s able to drive any vehicle on the road except for a motorcycle.

The 45-year-old has worked as a long-haul truck driver before, and now in his desperation, getting a job as a truck driver could be his ticket to seeing his mother and getting across the border without having to quarantine when he returns, as he couldn’t afford the time off work.

“I know what I get paid. I’m not eating lobster and caviar,” said Wylie. “I’m like most blue-collar East Coasters or Canadians for that matter and I’m working pay-to-pay.”

Wylie posted a job ad, looking for work and shared his personal story on the employment page on Kijiji. Once someone shared it to Facebook, the ad went viral on social media.

Wylie said he was ready to drive a truck and do a shipment for free, if in return, he got to see his mother. Already the job offers have rolled in, with companies looking to hire him.

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Nova Scotia rotational workers concerned by new ‘application process’ for returning home


Nova Scotia rotational workers concerned by new ‘application process’ for returning home

He’s had several people reach out to offer financial support, and many others reached out and shared similar stories, which he says has left him feeling overwhelmed by the compassion and support of strangers.

“I’ve had hundreds of emails, texts, offers and phone calls,” said Wylie. “The offers started rolling in even before it hit Facebook.”

Wylie said the language in the public health orders regarding

Question: I am a military dependent who was vaccinated on Oahu, but my driver’s license is from out of state. Will I be able to get the vaccine exemption to travel interisland?

Answer: Yes, assuming that you meet the other requirements, including being able to supply your original CDC vaccination card or Vaccine Administration Management System printout verifying that you were vaccinated against COVID-19 in Hawaii, according to the state Department of Health.

Currently, this exemption is only for interisland travelers vaccinated in Hawaii.This includes military/students with out-of-state ID, who received their vaccination in Hawaii, and are fully vaccinated,” DOH says on Hawaii’s COVID-19 portal.

“Travelers are considered fully vaccinated on the 15th day after the completion of their vaccine,” it says.

Q: Can I upload my vaccine card on Safe Travels now even though I don’t have my plane tickets? I want to get it done and just do it once for all future travel.

A: No, at this time the Safe Travels system “will only allow intercounty travelers to upload their vaccine card or Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) printout if it is linked to a trip,” the portal says.

Reminder: There is no fee to create an account on the Safe Travels system, which is found at travel.hawaii.gov/#/.

Q: Both my spouse and I are fully vaccinated, live on Oahu and want to travel interisland with our child. Because our 3-year-old is not vaccinated, would we have to quarantine on the Big Island if we go there? There is no COVID-19 vaccine for toddlers.

A: No, because Hawaii’s travel quarantine doesn’t apply to children under age 5. The vaccine exemption allows eligible interisland travelers to avoid pre-travel COVID-19 testing or quarantining upon arrival in Maui, Kauai or Hawaii counties. Your toddler wouldn’t be subject to those rules anyway.

Q: Can we choose which vaccine we want?

A: Yes, if you are an adult and you make your appointment at a location that offers your preferred COVID-19 vaccine, or walk into such a location (if walk-in service is available). You can use the website vaccines.gov to search for the availability of a specific vaccine near you. This website primarily lists retail pharmacy locations and allows you to limit your search to a specific vaccine type within your ZIP code.

You also can check hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine, on the state of Hawaii COVID-19 portal, which lists most vaccination sites in the state, including mass-­vaccination clinics, mobile clinics and retail pharmacy locations. This broader list does not specify the type of vaccine offered at each location, but with a little extra searching you can narrow it down.

Children ages 12 to 17 are limited to the Pfizer vaccine, but adults 18 and older are eligible for the Pfizer, Mo­derna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: When should I start worrying about my driver’s license? I submitted my renewal by mail on April 5 and haven’t heard anything.