Psst! Countries are opening
More countries have announced plans to reopen to vaccinated American tourists this summer — but don't tell the State Department and the CDC. U.S. travelers to Greece will no longer have to quarantine if they have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or negative PCR test from the previous three days. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron told CBS' "Face the Nation" that France would "progressively" lift travel restrictions in May, with a "special pass" in the works for vaccinated Americans. And TravelPulse reported that Israel will open to individual travelers in July with a negative PCR test or serotological test proving vaccination. Previously, Iceland and Croatia said they were open to inoculated Americans.
At the same time, the U.S. State Department announced that it would update its travel warnings for about 80% of the world's countries, classifying them as "Level 4: Do Not Travel" — including France, Greece and Croatia. Most other countries would be rated "Level 3: Reconsider Travel." The department's evolving list and map are at travel.state.gov. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month that fully vaccinated travelers are low-risk, but still does not recommend travel due to rising COVID‑19 cases and the potential spread of variants.
Simon Peter Groebner
From City Hall to hotel
Duluth visitors will soon be able to sleep in former council chambers when a 13-room boutique hotel opens this summer in the historic Old City Hall. "We are designing the space to bring the stories of Duluth to life in a big, bold way," owner Rod Raymond said in a news release. "The interior design blends the glamour of the Roaring '20s with bright contemporary art, against a Romanesque backdrop, telling a new story of vibrancy and abundance for the future of Duluth." The Oliver Traphagen-designed building served as City Hall from 1889 to 1926. Four of the rooms will be "affordable hostel-style" accommodations, while the Council Chamber Suite will sleep up to six and include a fireplace, bar and views of Lake Superior. A name for the hotel will be released in the coming weeks, Raymond said.
Airbnb extends party ban
Airbnb effectively banned parties in 2020 by placing a 16-person cap on rentals. The company is now putting further restrictions in place through the July 4th weekend. People who want to rent an Airbnb for one night will now be blocked from booking if the renter doesn't have a history of positive reviews from hosts. As the holiday weekend approaches, Airbnb said it will put in place "more stringent restrictions on one- and two-night reservations that may pose heightened risk for parties." Guests who violate Airbnb's recent restrictions could be subject to removal from the platform.
Dallas Morning News
Vegas casinos to go full tilt
Hotel casinos in Las Vegas, Reno and the rest of Nevada can begin to operate at full capacity beginning June 1, Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced. The announcement, reported in the Las Vegas Sun, was long in the making for businesses, especially in Las Vegas. Sisolak finally relented in the wake of decreasing COVID-19 cases combined with more than three months of vaccinations. Nevada is currently at 50% capacity, although some of the resort corridors have featured shoulder-to-shoulder traffic on recent weekends. "Nevada, we are closer to the end than the beginning," Sisolak said.