Israel And Cruise Lines Ease Travel Restrictions Plus Mass British Airways Layoffs!

Israel is to reopen to unvaccinated international tourists as the country declares victory over the Omicron variant. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has announced a rollback of a slew of pandemic restrictions in recent days including the suspension of Israel’s vaccine passport scheme for entry to restaurants, cafes, bars, and other public spaces.

Following a meeting with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, which was also attended by tourism ministry officials, Bennett said Israel would drop vaccination rules for foreign visitors from March 1.

Tourists will, however still be required to have two PCR tests – one test must be taken within 72 hours of departure, while a second will be required on entry into Israel. Tourists won’t be required to quarantine while they are waiting for the results of the test.

Carnival Cruise Line won’t require masks on board starting next month, making the company the latest cruise line to ditch mandatory face coverings.

“Effective with sailings departing March 1, masks are recommended on board but not required,” the company wrote under its guest protocols. “However, masks may be required in certain venues and events. Please pay close attention to onboard signage.”

In addition to updating its mask policy, Carnival will change its pre-boarding testing rules. Starting March 1, passengers who are “up to date” with their vaccines — which includes getting a booster shot when eligible for one — will be allowed to take a test within three days of sailing. Those who are vaccinated and eligible for a booster but have not received one must get tested within two days of their trip.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are each relaxing onboard mask protocols that were implemented in response to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Starting March 1, Norwegian will drop all mask requirements, and instead, simply recommend passengers wear them indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces, according to the cruise line. Norwegian originally had this protocol in place before the outbreak of the omicron variant.

The cruise line also requires all guests to take a COVID-19 antigen test before boarding, but starting March 1, the company will require all guests to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within two days of their check-in at a United States port and taken within three days of their check-in at an international port.

British Airways passengers face the possibility of a fresh wave of disruption and mass flight cancellations after outsourced catering staff announced two days of strike action on March 4 and 5 in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The powerful Unite union has warned that the strike not only threatens to leave passengers hungry but could also ground the vast majority of flights because food has to be loaded onboard flights for pilots and cabin crew as part of their contracts.

Around 100 catering truck drivers employed by the upmarket airline catering firm DO & CO intend to stage a 48-hour walkout after voting 94 percent in favor of strike action following failed talks with the company.

“The impact would be most severe on flights of more than six hours in duration – three hours to the destination and three back to the UK. No food on board equals no flights,” she continued.

The union blasted DO & CO for paying staff “some of the lowest rates in the London region” while claiming to treat their employees like family.

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