Tag Archives: reopen

Croatia holidays: Stunning Adriatic coastline to reopen to tourists – can Britons visit?

Croatia has reopened its beautiful, sun-drenched Adriatic coastline to visitors, and has become the first European country to drop most of its coronavirus restrictions. The Adriatic coastline is simply stunning with more than 1,000 islands. The coastline is lucky enough to have almost year-round sunshine and is home to a plethora of resorts.
Those who have an essential purpose to travel to Croatia are subject to “strict epidemiological measures”.

UK nationals must carry evidence of their health status which includes a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result taken up to 48 hours before their arrival in Croatia, proof of vaccination, or a certificate of recovery following a positive test result between 11 and 180 days prior to their arrival.

The FCDO website added: “Travel is permitted within defined purposes, including, but not limited to, residence, business and tourism.

“In addition to evidence of your negative COVID-19 status, those travelling under the tourism exemption are required to hold a valid accommodation booking or proof of property ownership in Croatia.

“In the case of a rapid antigen test, and a stay longer than 10 days in the Republic of Croatia, a test must be repeated within 10 days from the date of issuing the first test.”

Croatia has upped the pace of its coronavirus vaccine rollouts, with officials predicting that almost half of the country’s population will be fully vaccinated by the summer.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.9 percent of Croatians have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 16.8 percent of people have received both doses.

Croatia has also seen a welcome drop in coronavirus cases after hitting a spike late last year and early this year.

The number of cases peaked at more than 50,000 on January 10 but dropped to 2,071 on May 22.

The country has had over 350,000 cases in total and just under 8,000 deaths from coronavirus.

Currently, there is only a small list of countries on the UK Government’s “green list” for travel.

Travellers returning from a country not on the green list don’t need to quarantine and will only be required to take a Covid test two days after arriving in the UK.

Countries on the green list are Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and several small remote islands that are British Overseas Territories.

Gibraltar is not requiring UK visitors to be tested or vaccinated, however, entry to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore is restricted.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Camping, caravan & staycations: Center Parcs, Butlins and more reopen facilities

From May 17, the UK emerged into step three of “unlocking” the lockdown. For UK holiday parks, this meant the reopening of shared facilities, indoor dining and allowing groups of six from mixed households to enjoy quality time together.
Here are the latest updates from Center Parcs, Butlins, Haven, Parkdean Resorts, Pontins, and Hoseasons.


Butlins reopened its UK-wide resorts on May 17, but with some changes to the way facilities may normally run onsite.

In a statement on its website, the holiday provider explained: “The safety and well-being of our guests and team has always been, and will remain, our biggest priority.

“We’ve changed the way we do a few things, introducing a series of new and increased measures across every touchpoint of our breaks, as well as reducing the guest capacity on resort to ensure you have plenty of space to practise social distancing.”

New Covid safety measures will impact dining facilities, shows and activities, accommodation and check-in.

For shows and activities, Butlins states: “We’ve implemented lots of measures including limited capacity to ensure social distancing, booking in advance and thorough sanitising.”

READ MORE: Pound to euro exchange rate: Sterling had a ‘poor’ day yesterday

Dining facilities will see guests order via the Butlins app and receiving table service. Cleaning measures have also been ramped up.

Thorough cleaning of accommodation is also in place across all accommodation.

“We have a strict cleaning and hygiene policy in place and you’ll be assigned a room that has been thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and sealed before arrival; look out for a Butlin’s seal of approval across the front door,” states the holiday park.

“To minimise contact with others, we will be removing our accommodation servicing during your stay.

“If you need additional towels and bedding during your stay, you can request these from our Guest Services team via the app.”

The check-in procedure will also be contactless.

“You’ll receive an email 24 hours before you arrive telling you the village you’re staying in and your room or apartment number; you can also find this information on the app or in My Account,” explains Butlins.

“Your key cards will be sealed in your welcome pack along with any activity passes you have pre-booked.

“You’ll collect these via your designated drive-through check-in.”

Guests will also be required to provide their contact details throughout the site.

Butlins states: “To help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, we’re legally required to record contact details of all guests in our venues on resort, the easiest way to do this is by downloading the NHS COVID-19 app which will allow you to scan a QR code in each venue and have your visit recorded.”

Center Parcs

Center Parcs reopened some of its accommodation and facilities from April 12, but this has been extended with even more options to choose from as of May 17.

All of its parks, including Sherwood Forest, Elveden Forest, Longleat Forest, Whinfell Forest and Woburn Forest are now open.

The holiday park will be utilising the Test and Trace app for all people over the age of 16, and encourages all guests to download the app in advance of their arrival.

“We are delighted to confirm that our Subtropical Swimming Paradise will open from Monday 17 May as well as indoor dining,” states Center Parcs on its website.

“Our Aqua Sana will also be open for guests on a Center Parcs break for spa sessions and treatments, excluding Elveden Forest (which is closed for refurbishment until further notice).

“We are also delighted to confirm our hotel rooms and apartments will now be available and two households will now be permitted per lodge.

“Guests visiting from May 17 can book to visit the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, restaurants and Aqua Sana around four weeks before arrival.”

However, guests are reminded to stay up-to-date with the latest Government advice, as “rules and advice are constantly under review”.

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Haven has reopened its parks across the UK, though local measures vary for each of the devolved nations.

“Your health and safety is at the heart of everything we do,” reads a statement on Haven’s website.

“As we welcome you back, you may notice that one or two things have changed in line with Government guidance.

“Some venues and activities might be subject to changes and restrictions as the situation evolves.”

In England, accommodation has reopened but will be limited to two households per unit.

All facilities are open as normal but with social distancing in place.

Touring and camping breaks have also resumed.

In Scotland, up until June 6, accommodation is open but limited to six people from three households per unit.

All facilities are open as normal with the exception of indoor play. Bars and restaurants are open until 10:30pm and 10:00pm outdoors. Alcohol can be consumed indoors. Social distancing will be in place throughout the park.

Touring and camping breaks are also available.

In Wales, all parks have reopened and accommodation is limited to two households per unit.

All facilities are open as normal alongside camping and touring breaks.

Parkdean Resorts

All Parkdean Resorts are now open across the UK, however, onsite rules vary based on each of the devolved nations.

In England, all facilities have now reopened, but some may see reduced capacity in order to aid social distancing.

Furthermore, all activities both indoor and outdoor require prior booking up to two weeks in advance.

Communal changing facilities, such as those attached to swimming pools, will be closed for a “little while longer”.

In Scotland, all facilities have reopened with the exception of soft plays which are closed for now.

Bars and restaurants have reopened but will be closing at 10:30pm. Alcohol is permitted to be consumed indoors.

All services will operate at reduced capacity to aid social distancing, but activities must be booked up to two weeks in advance.

Communal changing facilities remain closed.

In Wales, all facilities have reopened but will operate at a reduced capacity to ensure social distancing.

All activities must be pre-booked up to two weeks in advance and communal changing areas remain closed.


Pontins has now reopened its parks across the UK.

On its website, the holiday provider states: “When making a reservation at any of our parks, please ensure that you are complying with national as well as local Government guidelines of the destination.

“This can include but is not limited to restrictions on maximum group sizes, mixing of households and the purpose of your stay.”

While facilities and activities have resumed, some Covid-safe measures such as social distancing will be in place.


Hoseasons has reopened but continues to operate under Covid-safe guidelines.

On its website, the holiday provider explains: “In Step 3, domestic overnight stays will be permitted provided that the party size is no greater than six people (from up to six households) or is no more than two households (of any size, which can include a support bubble if eligible).

“We have emailed all customers that we believe are affected by this rule with the option to reduce party size or cancel for a refund or voucher.

“If you have not received an email from us, and you are unable to use your booking in compliance with the household/party size restrictions or updated Government guidance, please contact us to discuss your options, which will include the choice between a refund and a voucher of the amount paid for your booking.

“If you have a booking on or after June 21, 2021, rest assured that we will be in touch with the options available to you closer to the time.”

Indoor entertainment including swimming pools will be open “subject to social distancing rules”.

The rules vary somewhat for Wales and Scotland.

For Wales, Hoseasons states: “On 14 May the Welsh government announced that all holiday accommodation can reopen however this is still subject to the restriction on meeting anyone in a private home other than those you live with or your exclusive extended household.

“An extended household is one that has formed an exclusive bubble with another household.

“Two households can holiday together as an extended household, provided that 10 days has passed since either of the households was part of a different extended household.”

Meanwhile, for Scotland, it states: “All of Scotland except for the Moray and Glasgow areas will move to Protection Levels 1 or 2.

“This means that single households or up to six people from a maximum of three households will be permitted to stay overnight in self-catering accommodation, in line with rules on social gatherings.

“Children under 12 years old will not count towards the limit of six.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

When will Eurostar reopen?

What are the rules on travel to France?

Currently, people in the UK are not permitted to travel to France for non-essential reasons.

From May 17, some international non-essential travel is permitted to resume for people in England.

However, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, where the Eurostar travels to, are not currently included on the approved ‘green’ list of countries.

All three nations are on the ‘amber’ list as of May 12, which means people should not travel to these countries for leisure purposes.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

EXPLAINER: Why Broadway is waiting until fall to reopen

“Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” return Sept. 14, as does “Chicago.”

NEW YORK — Broadway shows are tripping over themselves to announce that tickets are once more available. But don’t get dressed up just yet: The curtains won’t rise for most until September or October.
“Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” return Sept. 14, as does “Chicago.” “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations” restarts Oct. 16, “The Phantom of the Opera” on Oct. 22 and both “Jagged Little Pill” and “Come From Away on Sept. 21. “Six,” which had planned to open officially on the day of the 2020 shutdown, will restart Sept. 17, as will David Byrne’s “American Utopia.” “Mrs. Doubtfire” will return Oct. 21. More are expected to announce new dates soon — for the fall.
RELATED: ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Wicked,’ ‘Lion King’ will return to Broadway Sept. 14
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Selling tickets now allows producers to gauge interest in their shows, like putting a big toe in the water to check the temperature. Is there thunderous demand or is it more tepid? How enduring is the interest? Once producers get answers — and much-needed cash from interested theater-goers — they can plan. Shows that find a lukewarm response may need to invest in more advertising or change it up.
Broadway shows thrive on tourists — who were roughly two-thirds of the people in the seats before the pandemic struck — and producers are banking that visitor numbers will be up by fall. The hope is that theater lovers — both tourists and New Yorkers — will loudly cheer the return. It will be a big occasion.
“The moment those theater lights go down and the stage lights come up is probably going to be one of the most emotional moments in theater in New York. And I can’t wait to be standing in my spot in the back of the theater,” says Stacey Mindich, the lead producer of “Dear Evan Hansen.”


Broadway shows can’t just restart like flipping a light switch, especially big musicals. Cast members may have left, requiring new hiring. Orchestras and ensembles must re-learn their parts, choreographers need the cast in the room to synchronize and costumers need to check fittings. Producers say the task is like opening a show from scratch all over again.
The pandemic also has added new safety fears for everything from handling props to theater cleaning. Broadway seats are very close together, and the venues are not particularly airy or spacious. Just getting inside before the pandemic required standing in a long line and cramming into entrances. It’s no surprise that the first report of COVID-19 invading Broadway was when a part-time usher and security guard tested positive.
So questions need to be addressed: Will temperature checks be enough? Must actors be vaccinated? Will audiences have to show vaccination cards? Will masks be required? Some theater owners have installed new air filters and some have updated bathrooms. Is that enough? Might shows eliminate intermission and bar service to curb people from mingling? Producers and union leaders must reach agreements on all these issues before shows open.
Audiences are also going to have to adjust. Actor Katharine McPhee wondered about small things, like folks coughing during a show. That used to be annoying; now it may be triggering. “I feel like it’s going to take a long time for people to not have some trauma connected to us all being fearful,” she said.


Those shows likely to fare best, at least initially, have legions of fans and histories as a tested entertainment source — think “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked.” Those in the most precarious positions are new plays or musicals that few know about, but are bravely opening post-pandemic. Initially, after 18 months of pent-up demand, theater lovers are expected to make a point of buying tickets and cheering the return. But the months after those die-hard fans have come and gone will be the trickiest. Theater actors certainly are hopeful.
“I think it has, for me, reset my passion for theater,” says Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who is waiting for his revival of “Take Me Out” to restart. “I think for a lot of people, it’s been something that we’ve taken for granted. And I think when we do get back to being able to commune and join together and watch live theater together, I’m going to have that same feeling in my heart and in my soul as when I first sat down to see my first Broadway show at 17 years old.”


Away from the Great White Way, shows have already opened with socially distanced audiences, but that’s not possible for the 41 Broadway theaters. The financial demands simply don’t favor keeping many seats purposefully empty.
The average operating costs for a play are about $ 300,000 per week, while weekly costs run $ 600,000 for musicals. Conventional wisdom is that many shows need to sell at least 80% of tickets just to break even. Figuring out ticket pricing will also be a headache: Should there be regular prices initially and then deep discounts later in the fall to attract more wary customers? Disney is luring customers by promising to pay all Ticketmaster fees and offering skittish ticket buyers the freedom to exchange or even cancel tickets at no charge. There’s going to be a lot of number-crunching from now until fall.


Financials aside, the existing theater community is going through a reflective and turbulent period as it comes under criticism from people — inside and outside the business — demanding racial justice, inclusion, fair wages, accountability and representation.
Spurred on by the protests over the police-involved death of George Floyd, marchers have taken to the streets to denounce the labor union Actors Equity Association and have successfully forced producer Scott Rudin to step aside in the face of bullying allegations. The voices are calling for wholesale changes from a system that has been static for decades. Working out what a more inclusive Broadway will take time.
“I think that we are at a point now where people are listening and people are willing to make changes,” Vanessa Williams, a leader in the new group Black Theatre United, said in March. “It’s almost like a reset button now: ‘OK, now we’re listening and now we’re going to make changes.’”

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

UK travel: English Heritage sites to reopen their doors – Britons urged to book now

Audley End House and Gardens, Essex

Audley End is a Jacobean-style mansion set in Essex that gives a unique insight into what life was like above and below stairs at a Victorian country house. Described as “one of England’s finest country houses”, visitors can wander through staterooms and family’s private apartments, before exploring the service wing with its historic kitchens, dairy and laundry rooms.

Belsay Hall Castle and Gardens, Northumberland

A 19th-century Grecian manor house and medieval castle set within 30 acres of Grade I listed gardens, visitors can take in details of this family home built over seven centuries.

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

With spectacular views over Derbyshire, this fairy-tale Stuart mansion was designed by playboy, poet and courtier Sir William Cavendish. Visitors can expect historic wall art, carved marble fireplaces and stunning painted ceilings.

Dover Castle, Kent

From the Romans to World War II, Dover Castle is jam-packed with history. Standing atop the iconic White Cliffs, with views across the Channel, the Castle is dominated by Henry II’s might medieval Great Tower. Guests are welcomed to explore the secret wartime tunnels, walk the battlements discover the oldest surviving lighthouse in the country.

Home of Charles Darwin – Down House, Kent

Charles Darwin lived with his family at Down House for 40 years. Visitors can step into the very rooms where Charles Darwin conceived his greatest ideas, including the study where he wrote ‘On the Origin of the Species’.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

When can hotels reopen in Scotland?

Over recent weeks, several lockdown restrictions have been eased in Scotland. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that some travel restrictions will be eased from Friday and the “stay local” message will finally end. More people will also be able to meet up outdoors, with the limit increasing to six adults.

Although lockdown measures are finally starting to ease in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon has faced criticism from her political opponents over the speed lockdown measures are being eased.

Some have argued the lockdown measures should be eased faster in Scotland as Covid cases have dropped, to help support businesses as well as people’s wellbeing.

Daily testing figures for Thursday show there were 237 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Scotland and one death.

Data published on April 14 shows COVID-19 cases in Scotland have decreased in the last three weeks.

READ MORE: Holiday news: 12 ‘green listed’ countries Brits could visit in summer

However, whether hotels are permitted to reopen on this date will be dependent on the data.

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested April 26 could be the date travel rules between Scotland and the rest of the UK could be eased.

If this is the case, domestic holidays around the UK could once again be a possibility.

This date could also see indoor hospitality businesses reopen for up to four people from two different households to visit.

This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Three is giving away FREE Beats headphones and Fitbit trackers when its shops re-open

Yes, you did read that correctly. Mobile network Three is celebrating the re-opening of its stores nationwide with a blockbuster deal, known as Big Tech Giveaway. As the name suggests, it will be dishing out a number of freebies. Customers will need to choose between a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live noise-cancelling earbuds, a JBL Xtreme 3 portable Bluetooth speaker, a pair of Beats Powerbeats Pro earbuds, or a Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch.
Announcing the giveaway bonanza, Aislinn O’Connor, Director of Marketing for UK and ROI at Three, said: “As the country begins to open up, there is a hint of optimism in the air – we feel it too, which is why we want to offer our customers a little something on us with our Big Tech Giveaway.”

To be eligible for the freebies, you’ll need to head down to your local Three branch when it re-opens in line with Government guidance on April 12, 2021.

When Three re-opens its stores in England and Wales, it will have additional social distancing and COVID-safe measures to protect its staff and customers. For those in Scotland, retail shops are expected to reopen from April 26, when Three plans to launch the same deal, but unfortunately, dates for non-essential retail in Northern Ireland to re-open have yet to be confirmed.

To be eligible for one of the gifts be dished out in The Big Tech Giveaway, you’ll need to sign-up for a new contract and pick from a range of the latest smartphones, including the Samsung S20 FE 5G, Google Pixel 4A, Xiaomi Mi 11, and OnePlus 9 Pro 5G – with an unlimited data plan.

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If you were already looking to treat yourself to a new handset this summer – and were already eyeing up one of these models – it’s a brilliant deal. The Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch retails at £199.99, while the Powerbeats Pro will cost you £219.95 when bought standalone from the Apple Store. So, these are some pretty generous giveaways.

For those worried about visiting Three’s high street stores, rather than shopping online from the safety of their home, the mobile network has detailed its new processes to keep everyone safe. Upon arrival, customers will be met by a Three host and welcomed in. If the store is at maximum capacity, they will enter a virtual queue and receive a text message when it’s their turn. So, you’ll be able to browse in a nearby store while you’re waiting – without the need to queue outside the shop.

If customers are unable to make the appointment, it will be rearranged or can take place online with Three Store Now – connecting customers online to store advisors.

Fed Up With Remote Learning, Governors Make a Push to Reopen Schools

“Every day is an eternity for a young person,” Mr. Inslee, a Democrat, said. “We just could not wait any further.”

In the weeks since most of the governors acted, nationwide cases have started to rise again, which could complicate the effort to get children back in school. Many school staff members have already been offered vaccines, which has reduced the resistance from teachers’ unions to reopening and, provided staff vaccination rates are high, will limit the opportunities for the virus to spread in schools.

Even so, in areas where cases are increasing sharply, like Michigan[1], some schools have had to revert to remote learning[2] temporarily because so many students were in quarantine.

But for the time being, at least, the moves by these governors have yielded significant results.

In Ohio, nearly half of all students were in districts that were fully remote at the beginning of 2021. By March 1, that number was down to 4 percent, and it has shrunk further in the weeks since.

In Washington, before Mr. Inslee issued his proclamation, the state’s largest district, Seattle Public Schools, was locked in a standoff with its teachers’ union over a reopening plan. Days after Mr. Inslee announced he would require districts to bring students back at least part time, the two sides reached an agreement for all preschool and elementary school students and some older students with disabilities to return by April 5.

And in Massachusetts, Mr. Baker’s move has spurred a sea change, with dozens of districts bringing students back to school for the first time since the pandemic began, and hundreds shifting from part-time to full-time schedules.

“It’s worked exceedingly well,” Mr. DeWine, a Republican, said of his decision to offer vaccines to Ohio districts that pledged to reopen. “We’ve got these kids back in school.”


  1. ^ like Michigan (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ revert to remote learning (www.freep.com)

Kate Taylor

‘Mom Is Really Different’: Nursing Homes Reopen to Joy and Grief

Every day for a year, Kathy James peered at her mother through the window of an assisted living facility outside Chicago and dreamed of the day they would be together again.

That moment finally came this month, when Ms. James packed a goody bag full of family photographs, a Sunday copy of The Chicago Tribune and a container of potato soup, and met her mother, Renee Koerber, 90, inside the nursing home.

“I said, ‘Mom, we’re in the same room!’” said Ms. James, 63, her heart swelling with relief.

They had made it.

But sitting several feet apart in a common area, where they were not allowed to hug, Ms. James was also startled at how frail her mother looked. She seemed to grow tired after just 15 minutes. “I thought I would be so happy,” Ms. James said. “And I just feel such grief because of the year of time I have lost and I will never get back.”

Many American nursing homes have begun to welcome visitors again after a year of excruciating lockdowns. The Biden administration this month published sweeping guidelines[1] allowing indoor visits in most cases. It is a profound change that comes as vaccinations ramp up, reaching nearly 100 million Americans[2], including a majority of people in nursing homes.

Even as the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week[3] of a possible fourth coronavirus surge, nursing homes are so far holding steady, reporting drastically fewer cases and deaths since the start of vaccinations. The improved outlook means that across the country, people are once again greeting loved ones in nursing homes with bouquets of flowers, with homemade pudding and lemon bars, with news from children and grandchildren.

Yet the swinging open of the doors has also exposed new consequences of a pandemic that has killed more than 179,000 residents and employees[4] of long-term care facilities and left many others withering in isolation.

“A year lost is a big loss,” said Pauline Boss, a family therapist and professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota.

Nursing homes now offer an early glimpse at what everyone may face in trying to go back to normal after a year of separation and stillness. Some reunions may be tinged with grief, others with reminders of all that has changed.

Dr. Boss said the experience of families coming back together a year into the pandemic reminded her of research she had done on husbands returning home to wives after war, or cancer patients who suddenly learn they are in remission. “Things don’t quite get back to normal,” she said.

Nursing homes have been centers of the pandemic since the beginning, when an outbreak was first identified at a facility outside Seattle. Across the country, one-third[5] of all coronavirus deaths have been linked to nursing homes.

As a geriatrician in San Francisco, Dr. Teresa Palmer, 68, was well positioned to advocate for her 103-year-old mother, Berenice De Luca Palmer, after federal officials recommended last March that nursing homes shut down to visitors. Dr. Palmer did local news interviews[6], checked on her mother often over Zoom and even accompanied her to occasional doctor’s appointments.

But when Dr. Palmer finally walked into her mother’s room this month, she was shocked to find that her mother, who had shrunk to 98 pounds, was spending all of her time in bed.

Dr. Palmer tried to raise her mother’s spirits, helping her write a letter to a cousin one day, bringing pizza for lunch the next. But by the third day, it became apparent that the problem was far more serious.

Dr. Palmer took her mother to a hospital, where she said her mother was told she had an advanced form of pancreatic cancer.

“I’m sad and angry,” said Dr. Palmer, who has found herself reflecting on all that her mother missed in the past year. Trips to the beach. Sunflowers in bloom. Family meals complete with pasta, wine and the elder Ms. Palmer, the matriarch of their Italian family, presiding over the dinner table.

“It’s the quality time that has been lost,” said Dr. Palmer, who has since brought her mother home for hospice care.

For others, emotions have ranged from euphoria to concern.

“My mom is really different,” said Shirley Kwong, of her 85-year-old mother-in-law, who lives in a nursing home in the Bay Area and has grown more confused after a year apart. “Worse than before.”

Adriane Bower, 59, thought her mother, Angeline Rujevcan, 89, looked older, maybe a little weaker. Still, Ms. Bower said she was “over-the-moon happy” just to be able to sit with her at her nursing home in Crestwood, Ill. Though they were not allowed to hug, she knew she was one of the lucky ones.

“My mom survived,” she said through tears.

The new federal recommendations[7] allow for indoor visits in most cases, regardless of whether people have been vaccinated.

But like many policies during the pandemic, the federal guidelines have rolled out haphazardly across the country. Some people have been allowed to hug, hold hands and visit in their loved one’s room. Others are required to schedule 30-minute appointments in public areas.

Almost no facility is completely back to normal, and with coronavirus cases ticking upward again, some fear that even the limited access could be halted again. Under federal guidelines[8], one new case can temporarily shut down visitation in a nursing home, though visits may resume if an outbreak is not widespread.

In New York City, Henry Grullón, 50, had been anxiously waiting to see his grandmother, who lives at a large facility in the Bronx. Until last week,[9] New York state guidelines required that facilities be coronavirus-free for 14 days before allowing visitors.

So it was a welcome surprise when his grandmother, Catalina Perez, 98, was wheeled into the lobby on Friday. Mr. Grullón’s mother, who is 81 and had been despondent over their separation, inched toward her, crying. “I need to hug her,” said his mother, Ana Grullón, who set aside rules urging families to stay apart and embraced her mother for the first time in a year.

“She kept just saying, ‘mom, mom, mom,’” Mr. Grullón said. For the moment, he pushed aside his worries that his grandmother had lost weight and seemed depressed amid the pandemic. “My God, it was incredible,” he said.

Experts worry that some of the physical and cognitive changes experienced during the pandemic could become permanent because it is often difficult for older people to regain strength after losing weight or becoming bed-bound. The lost year has been particularly consequential for people with dementia, some of whom no longer recognize family members.

“That is time that you are not going to get back with that person,” said Lori Smetanka, executive director at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, an advocacy group for residents and families. “We don’t know how to reverse that.”

A year ago, Janet Hooks still recognized one person in the haze of her dementia: her husband of 62 years, Chauncey Hooks. Each day, she scanned the hallways of her nursing home in Worthington, Pa., outside Pittsburgh, waiting for him to visit.

But at the beginning of the pandemic, Mr. Hooks grew suddenly ill with what doctors said was the flu. He died March 12.

After holding her father’s hand in his final moments, a daughter, Lori Turberville, drove from the hospital to her mother’s nursing home to break the news. By the time she arrived, the facility had been shut down.

Ms. Turberville dreaded sharing such upsetting news with her mother over the phone, and decided to wait until she could comfort her in person.

“I didn’t think it was ever, ever going to last this long,” she said.

A year later, Ms. Turberville, 60, is thrilled to be able to have daily visits again. Brushing her mother’s hair and feeding her small bites of vanilla swirl ice cream have sparked something inside her mother in ways that window visits never did. Still, she has yet to tell her mother about her father’s death.

Her mother is weaker than she was a year ago, she said, and doctors have advised her that conveying that news now may do more harm than good.

So Ms. Turberville has taken to reassuring her mother with some version of the truth: “You know how much he loves you.”

Still, she worries each time she catches her mother’s gaze searching the halls.

“It really does go through your mind: Is she waiting for him to walk down there?” she said. “Sometimes I feel like, after 62 years of marriage, she deserves to know.”

While the visits have brought peace to many nursing home residents who feared they would never see their family again, others are still waiting for something else: independence.

Before the pandemic, Bruce Carmona, 63, regularly left his long-term care facility in the Chicago area, taking himself out to concerts, riding the train downtown or simply going out to grab a beer.

“I put 1,200 miles on my wheelchair,” said Mr. Carmona, who was paralyzed in an accident in 2018 and had grown to enjoy the small pleasure of cruising around town, listening to country music on his stereo and feeling the wind on his face.

Despite the new guidelines, many residents are still not allowed to leave their facilities for extended trips. So although Mr. Carmona is vaccinated, he said he is still largely confined to his room.

“If I could get out, that gives me freedom,” he said. As it is, he said, “I’m in prison.”

Matthew Conlen contributed reporting.


  1. ^ published sweeping guidelines (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ reaching nearly 100 million Americans (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ warned this week (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ killed more than 179,000 residents and employees (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ one-third (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ local news interviews (www.mercurynews.com)
  7. ^ new federal recommendations (www.cms.gov)
  8. ^ Under federal guidelines (www.cms.gov)
  9. ^ Until last week, (www.democratandchronicle.com)

Sarah Mervosh

Cineworld cinemas reopen in May with month-long exclusivity deal for Warner Bros movies

After an incredibly tough year for cinemas, Cineworld has announced it will reopen its movie theatres in the UK from May. This follows some US sites in early April, with monster punch-up Godzilla vs Kong making its debut first. Meanwhile, a new deal with Warner Bros Pictures means that the studio’s films will have 31 days of exclusivity in UK cinemas before heading to streaming services.
Across the pond, this will be 45 days ahead of debuting on HBO Max, although British Cineworld cinemas can extend to that length for films “that open to an agreed-upon box office threshold.”

According to the BBC, Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: “This agreement shows the studio’s commitment to the theatrical business and we see this agreement as an important milestone in our 100-year relationship with Warner Bros.”

As it stands, Godzilla vs Kong is set for release on streaming in the UK from April 1, but hopefully, the blockbuster will get the big-screen treatment it deserves in May too.

While in the US, the MonsterVerse movie is set for release on March 31 and will be followed in cinemas by video game adaptation Mortal Kombat on April 16.

READ MORE: Black Widow movie theory: Tony Stark will meet Natasha in Soul World

According to the UK government’s easing of lockdown plans, British cinemas can reopen at the earliest from May 17.

That’s 10 days after Disney had planned to release the year-long delayed Marvel prequel Black Widow, which has now been delayed to July 9. 

The superhero blockbuster will release simultaneously in cinemas and on Disney+ premier access, while Emma Stone’s 101 Dalmatians spin-off Cruella will do likewise on May 28.

So it might not be until the end of May that UK cinemas have a big blockbuster to screen, unless they show the likes of Godzilla vs Kong and Mortal Kombat. 

Although, with concerns of a coronavirus third wave washing up on UK shores, it’s far from certain if current planned release dates will stick.

No Time To Die kicks off where 2015’s Spectre ended, which saw Bond retired from MI6.

After capturing Blofeld, 007 drove off into the sunset with his girlfriend Madeleine Swann.

But as we’ve seen from the first trailers for the new Bond movie, the couple are in a car chase in the same Aston Martin DB5 from that final scene.

The spy is clearly irritated with Swann over a secret from her past, something that seems to be to do with No Time To Die’s villain Safin.

Whatever the case, Bond ends up alone in retirement in Jamaica until the CIA’s Felix Leiter visits him in need of his help.

Trailer footage has seen 007 head back to MI6 in the UK after five years away when he comes across Swann again.

Blofeld also returns in a prison cell scene and he seems to know a lot about Safin. Just what is going on? Well, hopefully, it really will be September when we finally get to see this movie.