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Cruises

Temptation Cancun Resort and Desire Riviera Maya Resort to Reopen in June

Original Group will reopen its Desire Riviera Maya Resort on June 4 and the Temptation Cancun Resort on June 10. Its Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort will reopen on July 1, and any guests booked at this resort will be transferred to Desire Riviera Maya Resort.

Leading up to the reopening, the resort company will implement new sanitation and safety protocols at all three properties.

“We have spent the last month undertaking preparations and consulting with local and international organizations to make sure our enhanced safety measures are up to the highest standards,” said Rodrigo de la Pena, CEO of Original Group. “We look forward to welcoming back guests and are confident that we will all adapt to our ‘new normal’ with minimal disruptions to the Temptation and Desire Experience.”

Temptation’s Sexy & Sanitized and Desire’s Seductive & Sanitized protocols are detailed on each brand’s website in print and in video format.

The new measures include daily health screenings and temperature monitoring of all employees and guests upon arrival; retraining of all employees on new international health and safety guidelines; staff must wear face masks at all times; guests will be given branded face masks upon arrival for optional use; social distancing markers will be set up in common areas such as the lobby for check-in/check-out, and restaurants and bars will have a 50 percent maximum capacity; pool and beach chairs will be 1.5 meters apart.

Sanitation and cleaning will be enhanced to meet new industry standards and those outlined by the Mexican government. Original Group will also be reinforcing all health and sanitation certifications including, Mexico’s Distintivo H and Cristal International Standards.

The company will also be launching new marketing campaigns for each resort: Temptations “Reloaded, Recharged & Sexier Than Ever” and Desire’s “We are Back and More Seductive Than Ever.”

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Travel

7 Couples on Navigating Long Distance Amid Coronavirus



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Countless couples have been separated as governments race to contain the spread of COVID-19, limiting movement of citizens to their home countries and even their own homes. In some cases, one party was away on business or visiting family abroad when borders closed with little warning. In others, a twosome was already in a long-distance relationship but had to postpone future get-togethers. Here, seven couples around the world explain how they’re handling their sudden split and share their most creative tips for making it work in the interim.

Communicating through voice recordings and music

When New York City-based musician and actor Randall, 59, booked a gig as a bass player for a national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar last fall, he was stoked. His girlfriend of 15 years, Muriel, could visit him on tour in Denver, Austin, and other U.S. cities. Muriel, 43, a group director at a digital product company, also landed a sweet opportunity: working abroad in her company’s Copenhagen office from December through June. Randall made plans to visit Muriel in Denmark in May—and then the coronavirus hit.

Randall was in Cleveland when the outbreak ramped up. The musical production was being staged for three weeks, but shut down after just two nights. He grabbed the first flight he could back to NYC to repack, grab his passport, and fly to Copenhagen; if they were going to weather a pandemic, they wanted to do it together. “I was hours away from boarding a plane when Muriel called me and said the Danish government closed their borders,” Randall says. “I was heartbroken.”

That was March 12. They’ve been FaceTiming twice a day since. “We’re resigned to the fact that we missed a small window, and it might be months now before we can see each other again,” Randall says.

When they were first separated in early March, he would stay awake until 3 a.m. so he could “walk” Muriel to work. “She would flip the camera around so that I could see the architecture, sights, and sounds of her neighborhood,” he says. “It looked so beautiful there.” He also plays new songs for her on his guitar (“I try not to take her feedback too hard”) and sends her voice recordings with snippets of his favorite poems to listen to before bed. They’ve bonded through cooking—setting their alarms, getting their mise en place ready, and chatting through the meal prep. It’s just like their life in New York, says Randall, except “her dinner is at 7 p.m. and mine is at 1 p.m.”

Making travel plans for the future

Vanessa, a 29-year-old American working in human resources, met David, a 29-year-old British creative director, on Tinder six months ago. They were living in Brooklyn at the time and the relationship progressed quickly. Because David’s visa was set to expire in mid-April, he planned a trip abroad to renew it at the American embassy in England while visiting family.

David’s flight to London was scheduled for Saturday, March 14. When President Trump first announced the European Union travel ban on March 12, it excluded the United Kingdom. Within hours of David’s departure just two days later, Trump announced the U.K. ban.

“The immigration system is complicated enough on its own,” says Vanessa. “And now we’re dealing with a COVID-19 response and a U.K./U.S. travel ban. When even your attorney says ‘it’s uncertain times,’ you know you’re in a situation.”

a screen shot of a man and a woman looking at the camera: David and Vanessa are unexpectedly nearly 5,500 miles apart for the time being.

With David stuck in London for the foreseeable future, Vanessa flew to Los Angeles to hole up with her family. The couple’s approach now is to make things feel “as normal as possible,” incorporating one another into their new daily routines. In practice, that means sharing recipes and doing mundane things like brushing their teeth together. “I think we talk more apart than we do when we’re together,” says Vanessa, who recently met David’s dad for the first time via video chat.

They’ve also started a list of things they plan to do once they’re reunited in New York, like eating at Peter Luger Steakhouse, walking across the Williamsburg Bridge, and sipping cocktails at Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel. “And, of course, we daydream about future travel,” says Vanessa. “I told David that I’ve always wanted to stay in a hut on stilts over the ocean and he told me to google the Seychelles. That’s at the very top of our dream list now. It sounds romantic and seems very far away from our current realities.”

Handwriting Valentine’s Day cards

Billy, 32, a choreographer in the U.K., and Ariel, 29, a performing artist in Hong Kong, were already in a four-year, long-distance relationship when COVID-19 restrictions were enacted. The couple was supposed to meet for a five-week trip in India in March, but canceled after Ariel was unable to secure a visa. The last time they saw one another was over the New Year break.

“We are uncertain when we’ll meet up again,” says Billy, who is hoping for a summer reunion. In the meantime, they’ve been arranging video-call movie dates, always pressing play at the same time. “We’re both deaf, so I have my captions in English and she has hers in Cantonese,” he says. “We did that with the TV series Peaky Blinders, too.”

The couple eats one meal a day together: Because of the eight-hour time difference, that usually means breakfast for Billy and dinner for Ariel. In a sweet gesture, Billy recently sent Ariel a Valentine’s Day card written in Cantonese. “It took me a whole day to write one card and it made my wrist ache,” he says, “but it also made me realize how beautiful the Cantonese language is.”

Bonding over the pup

Leila, 28, a director of brand marketing in New York City [Editor’s note: Leila is an employee of Condé Nast], and Nikola, 37, a kinesiologist from Belgrade, Serbia, met in Italy in 2016. Leila moved to Florence on a whim, with one suitcase in hand; Nikola was already living there. They met at a friend’s barbecue and were inseparable for nearly four years.

That changed in December when Leila moved to NYC. “It was a whirlwind,” she says. “Nikola proposed on Thursday, I boarded a flight with a one-way ticket on Friday, moved into an apartment I hadn’t seen in person on Saturday, and started the dream job I moved back for on Monday.”

The last time the newly engaged duo saw one another was in mid-January, when she made a quick weekend trip to Italy. Nikola is currently quarantined in Florence; Leila is on lockdown in New York. The travel ban, coupled with visa-related headaches, means they don’t know when they’ll see each other again. “Long distance relationships are hard,” says Leila. “FaceTime holds you over, but what ultimately gets you through is the end date.”

To keep the fire going, the pair plans virtual date nights where they cook a meal in sync and queue up the same TV show or movie. Nikola also helps Leila practice her Italian. One of the happiest bonds they share is their dog Sonny, a Golden Retriever/Cocker Spaniel mix living with Nikola in Florence. The trio FaceTimes together, but when the six-hour time difference proves too tricky, Nikola sends Leila photos of Sonny with captions like “Ciao mommy.”

Dressing up for dates

It was a love of salsa dancing and bachata that first brought Megan and Angel together—and it’s also what is keeping them going while separated by a pandemic.

Megan, a 34-year-old U.S. life/business coach and semi-professional dancer, and her boyfriend Angel, a 25-year-old Dominican systems engineer and dance instructor, met at a nightclub in 2015. They were living together in Santo Domingo for two years, until Megan recently moved to Atlanta for work. The last time they saw one another was over Christmas break, when Angel visited the States. Megan’s plans to visit him in the Dominican Republic in April have been foiled.

“Before the coronavirus hit, Angel was looking for jobs [in the United States],” says Megan. “But with the state of the economy, it will be much more difficult for him to find work now.” They don’t anticipate seeing one another for at least three to six months.

Planning out activities for date nights helps. “On Friday, for instance, we played virtual dominoes, listened to bachata music, and drank wine,” Megan says. “We’re also doing a fancy dress-up dinner where we’ll prepare pasta bolognese at the same time over Zoom and then eat together by candlelight.”

a screen shot of a person: Angel and Megan are now dressing up for dancing and date nights over video chat.

Other bonding efforts include simultaneously reading Conscious Loving by Gay Hendricks, partaking in online couples therapy “to make sure our relationship stays strong,” and, of course, dancing. “Angel specializes in salsa and I specialize in swing,” says Megan. “Since we can’t dance together right now, seeing each other dance alone is the next best thing.”

Buying a new plant every week

This American-born, Beirut-based couple has been together 24 years—until now. Lorinda, 46, is an international social worker. Brian, also 46, is an artist and the chair of a university art and design department. He was en route to Casablanca, Morocco to work on a mural project when the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Beirut announced its airport would close to all flights on March 18, with 10 days notice for those abroad to return. Thinking he could finish the project in Morocco and fly back before then, Brian stayed. But the next day, without warning, Morocco shuttered its land, sea, and air borders, stranding thousands of tourists, Brian among them.

“We do not know when he will return,” says Lorinda. “So, I am here, alone in Beirut with our two cats.” The Lebanese government has ordered people to stay at home and instituted a nightly curfew. But Lorinda isn’t just separated from her husband—her whole family is spread out. Her 23-year-old daughter is in Nebraska and her 20-year-old son is on lockdown in Doha, Qatar.

The family leans heavily on Facebook and WhatsApp to stay in touch, and Lorinda and Brian read to one another each morning “to make sure we are both up and ready to ‘live the day’, whatever it brings.” Brian is painting pictures for Lorinda each afternoon, and the couple has agreed to order a plant for every week they are separated. “So far, I have three big new plants, which make me smile each time I water them,” says Lorinda. “They remind me that life is a journey of growth. This will pass, and we will see each other again, with a new determination to make each day we have together count.”

Working out and solving crossword puzzles

Lara and Ruben, both 28, were just starting a long-distance relationship when the pandemic struck. Lara works as a publicist in New York and Ruben in tech sales in Los Angeles. The couple met at a wedding in September; and for four months, they flew back and forth every two weeks. The last time they saw each other was March 7; Ruben’s next weekend visit, from March 20 to 22, was canceled.

a person cooking in a kitchen: Lara and Ruben have taken to Facetime dinner prep—to mixed success.

Lara says it’s been surprisingly fun getting to know one another in such an unexpected way. Originally from Paris, Ruben is tutoring Lara in French. They’re also screening movies virtually, solving the New York Times crossword together, and tackling the same jigsaw puzzle in their respective homes. They’ve agreed to stay mutually sober (“We’ve been sending one another different types of coffee to try”) and even purchased Peloton bikes so they can work out together.

They’ve been watching cooking videos from Bon Appétit’s Andy Baraghani, too, and choosing two or three dishes a week to create together. “Ruben has almost no prowess in the kitchen,” jokes Lara, “so it’s fun to make mistakes together and see who will set their apartment on fire first.”

“It’s a trying time,” she adds, “but if we can get through this, our relationship is set for the future.”

WATCH: 50 people from 50 states tell us how to fit in with the locals



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Categories
Transport

Renovation work to resume at Denver airport

Construction on Denver Airport’s central terminal will
resume this week. 

The resumption comes seven months after the airport
terminated a $1.8 billion deal with previous contractor Great Hall. 

New contractor Hensel Phelps will begin the $195 million
Phase 1 of the resumed project. Primary portions of Phase 1 include demolition,
construction of new airline ticket counters and prep work for the installation
of new TSA checkpoints.

Phase 1 is expected to be completed late next year.

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Travel

How Coronavirus Is Impacting Disney World and Disneyland

With the busy spring break season upon us and COVID-19, aka novel coronavirus, today declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, families with plans to head to Walt Disney World and Disneyland have a lot of questions about how the virus could or should impact their travel plans.

Internationally, four Disney parks remain closed in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai, although Shanghai has begun reopening its shopping and dining district. A Disneyland Paris worker tested positive for coronavirus but that park remains open.

Domestically, Walt Disney World and Disneyland also remain open for business. Dr. Pamela Hymel, Chief Medical Officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a statement on the Disney Parks Blog that “Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort are open and welcoming guests and we continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local health agencies.”

What Steps Is Disney Taking to Keep the Parks Safe?

In her statement, Hymel detailed the additional steps Disney is taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other diseases in the parks, including “frequent cleaning and disinfection of targeted areas,” “easy access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizers,” and “frequent cleaning of outdoor locations, including walkways and queue.”

Hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the parks, and today new portable handwashing stations began showing up at Walt Disney World. Disney has published the locations of many of the hand sanitizer stations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Should Travelers Keep Their Plans to Visit Disney Parks and Resorts?

It’s well known by now that the CDC is recommending that high-risk individuals, mainly older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, avoid crowds, cruise travel, and non-essential air travel.

But, for healthy individuals, it remains more of a personal choice. A statement by a coalition of 150 travel-related organizations issued by the U.S. Travel Association seeks to reassure healthy travelers:

“Though the headlines may be worrisome, experts continue to say the overall coronavirus risk in the U.S. remains low. At-risk groups are older individuals and those with underlying health conditions, who should take extra precautions. The latest expert guidance indicates that for the overwhelming majority, it’s OK to live, work, play and travel in the U.S.”

A Doctor’s Take

We asked Dr. Colleen Nash, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Rush University Children’s Hospital and Medical Director of the Pediatrics Antimicrobial Stewardship Program for her advice on how families should decide whether to take a Disney vacation. She recommends families evaluate the potential outcomes.

“Visiting a theme park or partaking in any activity involving very large crowds always poses a risk of (any) infection transmission,” she says. She suggests those considering travel evaluate the health of those in their party as well as family members back home and how illness could potentially affect them.

Even for healthy individuals, she recommends considering “how coronavirus infection (if it were to happen) could impact your family and if that is a tolerable risk and potential time away from school, work, normal daily activities, say, if you had to undergo quarantine.”

For those comfortable with those possible outcomes, there aren’t currently any official recommendations that go against proceeding with travel plans.

What’s It Like to Be at Walt Disney World Right Now

I visited Walt Disney World last week and found almost no discernible difference in the experience from other times I’ve visited the parks. This week, aside from the noticeable uptick in hand-sanitizing stations and handwashing stations, it feels like business as usual for vacationing families. Meet-and-greets, buffet meals, and other higher-contact experiences haven’t been reduced.

Len Matela of Western Springs, Illinois, is currently at Walt Disney World with his wife and three sons and said the main difference their family noticed was that guests were utilizing personal hand sanitizer and hand-sanitizing stations more frequently.

“We’re not germaphobes so it’s not stressing us out,” Matela says. “If you didn’t watch the news or look at your phone and continuously see new information about the virus spreading, you wouldn’t notice any changes.”

Matela says concerns about the virus haven’t impacted their vacation at all. “We’re having a blast,” he says, noting that worries don’t seem to have had an effect on crowd levels yet. “Selfishly we were hoping for smaller lines and less of a crowd!!”

What If Disney Does Decide to Close Walt Disney World or Disneyland?

Should the spread of coronavirus or official government recommendations lead the domestic parks to make the decision to close, as was the case in Asia, it’s safe to assume Disney will offer refunds of park tickets and resort stays, as they’ve done in Asia. Should guests electively cancel a Disney vacation, standard resort cancellation terms will apply. Park tickets are changeable but non-refundable.

Now that most major airlines have issued waivers and have given travelers the flexibility and peace of mind to change their flights without fees, guests who are planning or looking forward to planned Disney vacations should feel reassured that any official park closures will likely see them fully reimbursed or able to change their vacation plans without fees.

How to Stay Healthy During Your Disney Vacation

We asked Dr. Nash what families can do to stay healthy during a Disney trip, and they are much the same as recommendations you’ve been hearing across the news media—mainly, wash your hands!

She recommends frequent, meticulous handwashing or hand sanitizing before and after meals and regularly at the parks, particularly after each ride.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of washing your hands (and doing it well, at least 20 seconds, with soap and water OR using alcohol-based hand sanitizer) and not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth),” she says. “This provides so much protection against many infectious diseases and cannot be overstated.”

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