No Hawaii till October
Travelers who gambled on planning a trip to Hawaii for later this year may need to rethink their timing. The state has officially delayed its reopening to mainland travelers until at least Oct. 1. The move replaces a program that was set to allow entry with a negative test on Sept. 1 and comes after a recent surge in coronavirus cases that prompted the state to impose quarantine restrictions on inter-island flights between Kauai, Hawaii Island and Maui. All residents and non-tourist visitors will continue to be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, according to guidelines. Officials say any potential new reopening date will be announced in advance to give the islands' hospitality and tourism staff time to prepare for an influx of visitors.
Airbnb bans house parties
Airbnb announced a global ban on parties and events listed on its platform in a bid to comply with COVID-19 health protocols. The home-sharing company said the ban, which applies to future bookings, will limit occupancy to 16 people and will remain in effect indefinitely. Citing changing public health mandates on gatherings, Airbnb said some customers have chosen to "take bar and club behavior to homes, sometimes rented through our platform." The company said it will expel or take legal action against hosts and guests who don't comply with the new rules. "We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible," Airbnb said in a blog post. "We do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform." Airbnb cracked down on "party houses" last year after a fatal Halloween night shooting at a listed home in California.
Delta keeps seats open
Delta Air Lines will continue blocking middle seats through the winter holidays, but flights will soon be fuller. Starting in October, the Atlanta-based airline will increase capacity limits in coach from 60% to 75% while extending its blocked middle seat policy through Jan. 6. Delta said Thursday it will open up additional aisle and window seats and will allow families to book seats next to each other beginning Oct. 1. Middle seats will remain blocked for solo passengers and parties of two through at least Jan. 6. The airline's executives have said that while six feet of distance between passengers isn't possible on airplanes, empty seats offer at least some extra space that — along with the wearing of face masks — helps reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Kristen Leigh Painter