Boulder threatening to close parks if crowding continues amid coronavirus

Boulder officials on Tuesday put a city open space system closure on the table as a potential step to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements meant to slow the global coronavirus spread locally, but less stringent measures are going to be tried first.

City leaders are also continuing to struggle with dispersing gatherings of sizes against public health recommendations at private residences throughout Boulder, especially among University of Colorado students.

Officials have received requests for an open space closure, as open space visitation is booming in good weather even on weekdays, which is atypical for this time of year.

“Closure is something that on the sidelines we are putting plans together for how it would work and how it would be rolled out,” Boulder open space director Dan Burke said. “It couldn’t be done overnight, it would take a series of steps. There are over 254 access points onto our system, we have a very porous system. What we learned from 2013 (during the flood), even if we did officially decide to close the system, we know we’re going to have a lot of noncompliance with that.”

Officials estimate that 25% to 30% of open space users are wearing a mask over their mouths and noses, as is recommended by the state as the virus remains on the move.

Read more on our sister site The Boulder Daily Camera.

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Chable Hotels launches virtual wellness and culinary classes

Luxury resort brand Chable Hotels recently launched a virtual wellness and culinary class program to bring their services into the homes of clients around the world. 

Broadcast via Chable’s Instagram accounts (@chablehotels, @chablemaroma and @chableyucatan), the series features cooking classes with executive chef Luis Quiroz and executive chef Luis Ronzon.

Other features include cocktail and wine tastings, yoga and mediation with wellness director Alva Flores, and a course on crafting your own good luck charms. Virtual tours are also available.

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A Land and Sea Journey Through the Vibrant Islands of the Galapagos

The giant curious eyes studied me with a disarming warmth and total lack of fear. They surveyed my snorkel mask and flippers with wide-eyed wonder and an engaging playfulness that instantly became a language of its own between us.

First there was one set of eyes, and then another, and finally a third.

Together we floated back and forth on the warm current, this trio of inquisitive baby sea lions and myself, just a few feet away from each other near the shoreline of a tiny Galapagos island.

The sea lions darted as close to me as their bold courage allowed, taking in this strange creature in front of them. And then just as quickly, dashed away to the safety of a nearby crop of rocks at shore’s edge, peaking furtively from around a corner.

Moments later, they were back again, tumbling through a series of exuberant underwater acrobatics as they approached, twisting and turning effortlessly around each other’s sleek gray-brown bodies in harmony like a trio of boisterous children tumbling across a rug until they were no more than a foot in front of me once again.

This playful game continued for 20 minutes punctuated every so often by the trio of sea lions swimming even closer to me so that we could stare directly into each other’s eyes and bask in the glow of our mutual curiosity.

The snorkeling outing was one of many unforgettable highlights from my journey earlier this year through the Galapagos Islands with Exodus Travels, an experience that was as pure an encounter with nature as I’ve ever had during many years as a travel writer.

The trip seems a distant dream now that life around the world has been upended by the struggle to contain the coronavirus. And as I reflect on the vibrant, soul-enriching days of my visit, made up of hiking, sailing and snorkeling, I’m suddenly even more aware of how special the trip was and immensely grateful to have had the experience when I did, mere weeks before the global travel industry would come grinding to a halt.

I traveled to the Galapagos curious about the impacts of overtourism and the plastic waste problem plaguing so much of the Earth and many of the destinations I’ve written about in recent years.

My visit left me awed and humbled by the efforts of the Ecuadorian government to protect this incredibly special corner of the world. Not once during seven days of sailing from island to island in the Galapagos did I observe a wayward piece of trash or plastic, either on land or in the ocean. What’s more, only on rare occasions did we even encounter other groups of tourists as we explored land and sea.

Perhaps more importantly, I won’t ever forget the incredibly rich interactions I had with all manner of wildlife in a place where so many animals exist free and in the wild, largely unharmed by human beings and more vibrant thanks to the ability to live unhindered. During a week of explorations, I experienced nature in ways I never would have expected and that will remain with me for a lifetime.

The Journey Begins

It is said that Charles Darwin’s initial impressions of the Galapagos, which he visited in 1835 on the HMS Beagle, were not exactly favorable. But it wasn’t long before the famed naturalist and biologist’s opinion of this stunning archipelago changed and its importance to his theories about evolution became abundantly clear, ultimately making history.

My own exploration of this bucket-list destination began with a commercial flight from mainland Ecuador to San Cristobal, one of the oldest of the Galapagos islands. The plane landed on a tarmac alongside San Cristobal’s small, single-story airport, a building surrounded by flat, mostly colorless and largely unremarkable landscape.

From the airport, there was a brief bus ride to the docks of San Cristobal where a small panga (boat) waited to take about two dozen passengers out into the turquoise-colored bay where we would board the M/V Evolution. A 192-foot, 16-cabin luxury yacht built to accommodate up to 32 passengers, the Evolution would be our home base for the journey ahead.

During the course of the coming week, we were to navigate some 400 miles, exploring the northern and central islands of the Galapagos, crisscrossing back and forth across the equator as we sailed.

Visionary Island Management

During our first afternoon on the M/V Evolution, we’re briefed about appropriate behavior for the week ahead. It was a talk I’d been eager to hear in order to learn more about the measures currently in place to protect this fragile environment and ecosystem.

The rules we were given included remaining on marked trails and being careful not to step on vegetation; as well as not touching, handling, or petting anything, and leaving everything exactly as we found it.

It was also comforting to learn that Ecuadorian officials have established a strict limit of only 100 tourist boats in the Galapagos park at any one time in order to minimize crowds and the impact of human visitation on wildlife and the environment. In addition, each tourist boat plying the waters here must follow a slightly different itinerary, visiting islands in a different order than the other vessels. This is another measure designed to minimize human disruption of the environment, ensuring that any single island is not burdened by too many tourists at one time.

“The environmental laws here are serious and many people are willing to enforce the laws,” 51-year-old, Bolo Sanchez, our group leader and naturalist, informed us.

Sanchez, who has been working in the Galapagos for 25 years and first began visiting the region as a child with his father, later explained to me that there’s a very strict management plan in place that was developed long ago by government officials. The plan dictates how many tourists can visit each site within the Galapagos archipelago and those limits are based on environmental factors, topography, wildlife and more.

“This is what made a difference, the management plan,” says Sanchez. “It’s an old plan, but it has been improving. And it was visionary for a small, poor country with an unstable democracy to develop such a plan.”

A Week of Island Hopping: Life in All Shapes and Sizes

The tortoises, iguanas, snakes and lizards that are native to the Galapagos arrived millions of years ago thanks to their ability to survive for long periods of time without water and make sea crossings. After arriving in the Galapagos, such creatures were able to persevere in the often unwelcoming, stark, lava-covered landscapes that dominate so many of the islands, where little more than cactus and scrub brush grows.

Now, iguanas are among the most commonly sighted creatures on these desolate islands, perhaps second only to the ubiquitous sea lions we encountered day after day or the dazzlingly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Darwin once described the marine iguanas of the Galapagos as “a hideous-looking creature, of a dirty black color, stupid and sluggish in its movements.”

It’s an entirely unfair and undeserved description really. Both the marine and land iguanas that inhabit the Galapagos are fascinating not only for their sheer variety of colors and sizes, but they ooze character as well.

We became acquainted with these quirky ambassadors of the Galapagos during one of our first outings, a walk on South Plaza Island. As we stepped from a panga onto the shore, we were surrounded by at least half-dozen iguanas sunbathing languidly or sitting practically motionless on rocks like the subjects of a still life painting.

The marine iguanas are distinct thanks to their darker skin, which is often decorated with flecks of color that allow them to blend in with the plants and rocks along an island’s shoreline. They’re also the only iguanas in the world that have learned to feed exclusively from the ocean, hardly the characteristic of a stupid animal.

Land iguanas meanwhile, typically can be found sitting majestically on a well-placed rock further inland. They exude the air of regal kings surveying their kingdoms. And their scaly skin, a canvas of varying shades of yellows, browns and oranges, provides a vibrant splash of color in what is often an otherwise dull, dry landscape.

On still other islands, we spent time watching the famed and beloved blue-footed booby engaged in mating rituals. And on Santiago Island we came across tiny, comical finches that boldly landed on our camera lenses and cell phone screens to stare at their yellow and brown feathered bodies in the reflection.

Halfway through the week we sailed six hours during the night as we slept, crossing the equator to awake anchored off of Genovesa Island. As the sun rose, the sounds of a cacophony of birds floated across the bay into the cabins of our boat.

Often referred to as bird island thanks to the vast number of seabirds that come to nest on its shores (as many as 10,000), remote Genovesa remains one of the most pristine patches of land in all of the Galapagos.

We spent a remarkable few hours here spying baby boobies in their nests, adolescent boobies and all manner of adult boobies. Many of the birds were nesting on the ground among the large white rocks, while others were perched in nests at eye level, making them easy to spy.

During one afternoon stroll along the beach on another island, as I walked along peacefully taking in the sounds of the crashing waves, I suddenly heard an angry chirping growing louder and more insistent. It seemed to say “Heyyyy. You!! Do you see us down here?” rousting me from my thoughts.

I look down and just a few feet ahead were two adult Oystercatchers fiercely guarding a cluster of fuzzy, newborn babies that were ambling right toward me. As I took in the scene, I found myself stunned once again by the variety of life here at every turn. Every phase of life is on full display.

Indeed, on multiple occasions I walked back toward our waiting pangas after a hike marveling at just how remarkable this place is where animals live and roam peacefully, yet boldly, fully confident in the knowledge that this is at least one corner of the world where they remain largely in charge. The Galapagos continues to be very much their home, and humans are merely visitors passing through.

The Colors Beneath the Sea

The color that the lava covered Earth lacks above ground in the Galapagos can all be found beneath the sea.

Our daily snorkeling excursions exposed us to such a diversity of life that all else seem suddenly and especially barren by comparison. We swam past great shimmering schools of sardines and alongside groups of dazzling angelfish that range in color from blue to brown, with splashes of bright yellow and peach on their fins.

On the seafloor beneath us there were often clusters of chocolate chip starfish that looked very much like their name implies with giant brown dots.

The parade of marine life also included Moorish idols (which are believed to be a harbinger of happiness), blue tangs, sergeant majors, yellow surgeonfish and cardinal fish that looked like small red flames passing through the water.

From the blue murky depths fish of all shapes and colors emerged one by one or in clusters, coming into focus like shimmering orbs of light, each a magnificently different array of luminous colors.

On one memorable afternoon we snorkeled above a half dozen hammerhead sharks. On other days we spied white-tipped reef sharks tucked into dark alcoves resting. Moray eels poked their heads from underneath coral as we passed above and we observed Panamanian sea stars that look as if they’d been crocheted from orange yarn.

Streams of fish often swam below us, two by two, as if on some sort of fish highway. And on rare occasions, we even came across the magnificent Spotted Eagle Ray.

“The Galapagos is all about marine life,” Sanchez tells me one afternoon as we head back to the Evolution on the panga.

Yes indeed, I thought. During our daily snorkeling outings, I enjoyed a profound sense of peace swimming among this vibrant display of life and color, mesmerized by the panoply of turquoise, lavender, silver, yellow, orange and the deepest of blue.

One Final Swim

On one of our last days in the Galapagos we did a brief snorkel from the beaches of Floreana Island. With the trip nearly over, I had one more item on my Galapagos bucket list—swimming with a sea turtle.

Within minutes of entering the water my wish was granted. Our group came upon a large sea turtle right near the shore that was foraging. I spent a few minutes observing this brilliant creature and then turned and headed back toward land satisfied with my swim, as the rest of the group snorkeled on.

After a few minutes of swimming alone, I came upon an even larger and more magnificent turtle. The current moved me right toward him, less than a foot away. If I reached out my arm I could have touched him. I remained gliding along quietly beside him for about 10 minutes, enjoying this peaceful moment with just the two of us, letting the current carry me along instead of continuing to paddle my fins.

I watched as the turtle poked his head under rocks taking bites of seaweed here and there while clusters of colorful fish hovered above him and beside him. He seemed totally oblivious to my presence, though I was entirely fascinated by his.

At one point an incoming wave pushed me to within just a few inches of him, making me feel as if I was invading his space far too much and I decided it was time to leave and let him glide on in peace.

The Land Where Time Marches On

At the beginning of my journey in the Galapagos I sat in my cabin reading a book that describes this place as “the land time forgot.” Each day as we explored, that description was never far from mind. I was continually mulling over what the author meant.

During the days I spent here, I witnessed a place where life very much marches on despite the forces of climate change plaguing our modern era and the many other challenges facing the planet including pollution and countless threats from the human race.

I saw a place that in many ways remains pristine and where it’s still possible to truly escape and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, forgetting for a brief time that so many places on Earth have not fared nearly as well, or remained quite as well preserved.

That’s not to say the Galapagos doesn’t face its own pressures and threats. There are indeed plenty of them.

Still, time does not seem to have caught up with the Galapagos in the same devastating way that it has other destinations around the globe. The Galapagos I will hold in my mind’s eye remains a shining example of a time when the Earth was a much purer place.

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The ultimate travel guide for Twin Peaks fans

When the iconic show Twin Peaks first erupted onto viewers’ screens in 1990, it quickly gained a cult following, along with a reputation for being a mystery/horror/drama/fantasy series like no other.

The question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” kept the world enthralled for weeks as viewers followed FBI Agent Cooper’s every move in investigating both the murder and the supernatural world within Twin Peaks – the eponymous town where the mystery unfolded.

Three decades on and David Lynch’s wonderfully bonkers masterpiece is no less groundbreaking, and still makes for compulsive viewing today.

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As the show celebrates its 30-year anniversary, here are all the locations where Twin Peaks superfans can get a real-life taste of small-town drama.

Twin Peaks sign

The delightfully named town of Snoqualmie in Washington, around 28 miles east of Seattle, was one of the main filming locations for exterior shots of Twin Peaks. It’s home to Reining Road, which is where the footage of the famed “Welcome to Twin Peaks, Population: 51,201” sign in the pilot episode and opening credits was shot. The City of Snoqualmie installed a permanent version of the sign on the road in 2017, according to fan site welcometotwinpeaks.com.

Great Northern Hotel

Much of the show’s action takes place at the Great Northern Hotel, where many of the key characters live, work or stay. Agent Cooper holes up there for the duration of his investigation, commending the place’s “damn fine cup of coffee”. The exterior was shot at the real-life Salish Lodge and Spa in Snoqualmie. While the hotel wears its TP credentials lightly these days, guests can still order a Dale Cooper cocktail – gin, clove and cardamom, infused Salish honey, dry honey cider and lemon – in the Attic bar and restaurant.

The Falls

The opening credits also notably feature the falls next to the Great Northern, plus a shot of them is frequently used as a cutaway in the show. The Snoqualmie Falls served as this landmark, and visitors can get a closer look from the observation deck.

Double R Diner

The local diner, owned by Norma Jennings, plays host to numerous important rendezvouses between the town’s characters, and serves a mean slice of pie. Twede’s Cafe in North Bend, Washington, served as the real-world setting, and should be a key stop on any Twin Peaks tour: it still dishes up “Twin Peaks cherry pie” and ”A damn fine cup o’ coffee“ (even if they’re not served to you by Shelly Johnson).

The Roadhouse

The atmospheric bar where the town’s teens go to hang out and drink can be found in Fall City, Washington. The exterior shots were filmed at the Fall City Roadhouse and Inn (although the interior was filmed elsewhere). The real-life Roadhouse looks a lot more family-friendly than the Twin Peaks variant, offering “brunch” or “small plates over cocktails” in its “vintage style Inn”.

It may not be the most glamorous location, but stop by the DirtFish Rally School (a rally driving school in Snoqualmie) if you want to see the real-life setting for the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, where Cooper and his team of local cops race against the clock to solve the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder.

Laura’s Log

Weird as it may seem, one plucky inn in Poulsbo, Washington, has a giant piece of wood dedicated to where Laura Palmer’s body was found. Pete Martell finds it in the pilot episode, wrapped in plastic near a piece of driftwood. The scene was filmed in front of the Kiana Lodge, which commemorates the event with a plaque reading: “A pivotal scene in Twin Peaks’ pilot episode was filmed here in 1989. Laura Palmer was discovered right next to the immense log tethered before you.”

Black Lodge

Though not a filming location, this Twin Peaks-inspired restaurant in Vancouver takes its inspiration from the series’ mythical Black Lodge. Stop by for some poutine, deep-fried Oreos and a themed cocktail (the Laura Palmer, Donna, Lynch-burg Lemonade and Audrey’s Curiosity all sound good) and enjoy the décor of red curtains and black and white zig-zagged floors in the toilets.

Tribute toilet

If you find yourself in New York City, the Mission Chinese Food restaurant has an homage to Twin Peaks in the form of its toilets, according to Eater New York. Inside is the iconic snap of Laura Palmer when she was crowned Prom Queen, along with the show’s theme music, which plays on repeat…

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Shares in cruise firm Carnival surge after Saudi Arabia fund discloses 8.2% stake

The Saudis are getting a bargain-bin price for Carnival – it’s down 81% this year – as the cruise industry faces unprecedented risk

Carnival’s operations came to an almost complete stop last month after a series of coronavirus outbreaks at sea.

Image: Carnival

Carnival Corp. shares jumped after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said it acquired an 8.2% stake in the world’s biggest cruise operator.

Carnival surged as much as 18% to $10.04 Monday in New York after the fund said in a filing that it holds 43.5 million shares of the cruise company. As of last week’s close, the stake was worth $369.4 million.

The Saudis are getting a bargain-bin price for Carnival – it’s down 81% this year – as the cruise industry faces unprecedented risks. The Public Investment Fund has invested abroad previously, including stakes in Uber Technologies Inc., Tesla Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund. But it isn’t generally known for making distressed investments.

Now, it owns a slice of the dominant cruise operator, with a fleet of more than 100 ships and no customers to sail on them – at least for now.

Carnival’s operations came to an almost complete stop last month after a series of coronavirus outbreaks at sea. Carnival’s Diamond Princess had more than 700 coronavirus cases, the biggest outbreak outside of mainland China for a time.

Rival operators Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. have also shut down.

The cruise industry was left out of the $2.2 trillion US stimulus bill, which excluded non-US businesses. Although it is headquartered in Miami, Carnival is technically incorporated in Panama — an arrangement that allows it to avoid US income taxes and minimum-wage requirements.

Competitors are also domiciled outside the US.

Raising Funds

Since the halt of operations, Carnival has raised $6.25 billion to help meet expenses, but it’s paying a steep price. Some $4 billion in bonds were priced with an 11.5% coupon last week. The shares were acquired before a planned stock offering by Carnival, so the percentage holding will change.

In an interview Wednesday, chief executive officer Arnold Donald said Carnival may turn to major shipbuilding nations such as Italy or Germany for lower-cost loans.

“Yes, those are definitely potential sources,” he said. “And there are others.”

Digital magazine: Read the latest edition of Arabian Business online

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Caesars rewards guests for social media posts

The Caesars Rewards players club is inviting past guests to share stories and photos of their favorite memories on its Instagram and Twitter pages and entering those who post into a daily sweepstakes.

Those who post using #CaesarsMemories and #Sweepstakes receive one entry into Caesars’ daily drawing: Five winners will receive a $100 Visa gift card each day through April 30.

Visit caesars.com/myrewards/promotions/caesarsmemories to learn more. No purchase is necessary to win. Participants must be residents of the U.S. (21 and older) or Canada (19 and older). There is a maximum of one drawing entry per user account regardless of social media platform used. Winners will be contacted via direct message through the social media platform that was used to enter.

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Caribbean hotel closings continue to mount

With borders, airports, seaports and many large resortsclosed throughout the Caribbean region, more properties have announced closures through May and beyond.

The 420-room Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and the 130-suite Sonesta Ocean Point in St. Maarten are closed until June 2.

Guests holding current bookings can reschedule with no cancellation penalty or change fee as long as notification is given at least 48 hours before scheduled check-in date. Those who do not cancel but postpone their travel until a later date will earn a $50 per room, per night resort credit, which can be used on property toward a spa treatment, tour, selection of wines and more.

Elsewhere on the Dutch/French island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, travel restrictions at the border have been tightened and all nonessential travel from either side of the island is banned.

An islandwide curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. is in effect, and all airports, ferries and seaports are closed as well.
In Antigua, Curtain Bluff closed its doors in late March for the first time in its 58-year history and will reopen on Oct. 24, following its already planned annual summer closure for refurbishing.

“It is a very sad time indeed. However, we are strong and will survive this pandemic and the economic crisis that  comes with it. We are confident that we will ride out these current events,” the resort said in a statement.

In Jamaica, the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay is closed through May, “although we reserve the option to adjust our plans,” according to Kevin Henrickson, its managing director.

Resorts World Bimini is closed and will “update our website when there is clarity as to the appropriate time to welcome back our guests,” according to a statement from the resort.

Several hotels, resorts, villas and other accommodations  in the U.S. Virgin Islands are closed to leisure guests but have opted to keep their doors open to essential personnel, including government workers, relief workers, business travelers and airline associates. These include five properties on St. Thomas, one on St. John and 14 on St. Croix, according to a statement from the U.S.V.I. Hotel & Tourism Association and the St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association.

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NYC & Company Debuts Virtual New York

NYC & Company unveiled Virtual New York, an online resource, enabling visitors to experience – virtually – the innumerable attractions available in New York City’s five boroughs.

The program, which was created in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Office for Media, includes information and links on virtual programs at museums, galleries, comedy clubs, theaters and more.

“During this unprecedented time, New York City’s world-class tourism community is offering a wide-ranging virtual taste of the destination’s renowned cultural experiences,” said NYC & Company President and CEO Fred Dixon. “We encourage New Yorkers and would-be travelers alike to show support and embrace escapism through the currently available, online offerings of the city’s attractions, museums, performing arts venues and beyond.”

The Metropolitan Opera will stream a different encore performance every night on its website at 7:30 p.m., with each performance available for 20 hours.

The York City Ballet is offering City Ballet The Podcast, featuring conversations with dancers, choreographers and orchestra musicians.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has an Experience Intrepid Anywhere section on its website for family-oriented virtual tours.

Families can also check out the Explore page on the American Museum of Natural History website, which provides kids with activities designed to engage children in the natural world.

For a full rundown of virtual attractions and experiences, visit nycgo.com/virtualnyc.

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Hawaii Ceases Tourism Amid Pandemic

Honolulu officially joined many worldwide tourist destinations in quarantine this weekend after officials enforced new measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus on Thursday. In addition to urging residents to stay at home, anyone arriving in Hawaii must undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.
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Port Zante in Basseterre town, St. Kitts And Nevis (photo via mikolajn / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

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Additionally, flights to the islands have decreased significantly, and nearly 100 hotels have closed their doors. More hotels are expected to close in the following weeks. All restaurants, bars and nightclubs have also closed, though many businesses are offering takeout for residents.

These new restrictions have effectively halted nearly all tourism in the state, causing a rapid increase of unemployment claims in Hawaii as tens of thousands of residents rely on tourism for income.

According to ABC News, the U.S. Employment and Training Administration noted that applications for temporary unemployment assistance in Hawaii increased during the week ending on March 21. The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations saw over 67,000 claims through the week.

While a majority of Hawaii’s beach parks have been blocked off with barricades and caution tape, state officials have granted residents access to the ocean for exercise and therapy. Beachgoers who attempted to lounge on the beach in Waikiki on Saturday were told by police that they must either get in the water or go home.

Hawaii officials confirmed 29 new cases over the weekend. The state currently has a total of 151 cases of the coronavirus.

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At Club Med Amazing activities on tap

During my recent trip to the Dominican Republic for the grand opening of the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, I also spent a night at the Club Med Punta Cana. And while the main mission of my visit was to experience the Miches resort and hear about the innovations therein — particularly its ecofriendly initiatives — I learned that the Punta Cana property, open since 1978, could make its own claims of innovation.

Last year, the Club Med Punta Cana became the first property in North America to roll out the company’s Amazing Family program, developed “to provide weekly activities designed to give multigenerational families the opportunity to bond, create shared memories … and bring home new passions,” as Club Med put it.

The Amazing Family program offers five themed activity times: Time to Splash, centering on aquatic activities such as water volleyball; Time to Play, for activities such as giant-size board games; Time to Quest, featuring treasure hunts and other “mysteries and challenges,” according to Club Med; Time to Recharge, offering family yoga classes, story time and other all-ages relaxation activities; and Happy Family Time for classic Club Med activities such as trapeze classes and archery.

According to Club Med, the Amazing Family program will be offered at over 30 of its resorts worldwide by next year.

That’s in addition to Club Med’s long-standing children’s programming, offering a variety of age-appropriate activities for young guests: Baby Club Med (from 4 months up to age 2), Petit Club Med (2 to 3), Mini Club Med (4 to 10) and Club Med Passworld (11 to 17).

In other family-friendly news, the Club Med Punta Cana’s Tiara section, which first opened in 2008, completed a renovation last fall.

The Tiara section, part of the brand’s Exclusive Collection of higher-end offerings, offers 32 family suites, each measuring 753 square feet and featuring a separate kids’ bedroom and bathroom.

Exclusive Collection guests also enjoy amenities including access to an oceanfront infinity pool, priority bookings for spa treatments, daily continental breakfast served in room and premium WiFi.

Other family-friendly accommodations are available throughout the 631-room resort, under the Superior and Deluxe categories.

From now through April 20, for stays through Oct. 31, Club Med’s Spring Into Summer sale offers up to $1,000 instant savings and up to $600 in air credit, and ages 4 to 11 stay for up to 50% off.

Rates at the Club Med Punta Cana begin at $115 per night, per adult, and children under age 4 stay for free. Visit www.clubmed.us.

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