Pandemic transforms holiday shopping season that once embraced crowds, chaos

Rest easy, holiday shopper.

You can take it slow this year.

There will be no need to bolt from Thanksgiving table to the big box stores for a doorbuster deal, no standing in long lines for a midnight opening or for your kid to sit on Santa’s lap. The pandemic has changed all that.

There are plenty of Christmas holiday items on the shelves at Reny’s. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

On the first Saturday of November, when all 17 Renys locations in Maine traditionally offer a 20 percent storewide discount between 6 and 9 a.m., you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and still score a discounted deal.

“Usually, you try to get as many people in the store as you can,” said John Reny, president of the department store chain based in Newcastle. “You can’t do that now.”

Renys will continue its annual Early Bird sale, according to the company president,

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Columbia, SC scraps Veterans’ Day, Christmas holiday parades

Two more iconic events in Columbia have been canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

What was supposed to be the city’s 42nd annual Veterans’ Day parade was called off Monday by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

Shortly after that announcement an even older event, the Carolina Carillon, was canceled, organizers of the holiday parade said in a news release.

The Veterans’ Day parade was canceled “to protect citizens and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in our community,” officials said in a news release.

Although the parade won’t take place, officials said all veterans will be honored with a special observance, according to the release. Information on that commemoration was not made available, but officials said to follow Columbia’s website for future details.

This would have been the 65th Carolina Carillon, which organizers called Columbia’s premier holiday parade. It is the annual kickoff to the holiday season

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Travel industry fears Covid-19 crisis will cause more holiday companies to collapse

a close up of a sign: Photograph: Luke Dray/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Luke Dray/Getty Images

The travel sector is bracing itself for the collapse of yet more holiday companies as businesses continue to struggle to meet the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis.

Several longstanding travel companies have failed during the pandemic, among them touring company Shearings in May and round-the-world ticket specialist STA in August. On Monday, Cities Direct ceased trading. It had been operating for 20 years.

Industry bosses have voiced concerns about the closure of the government’s furlough scheme at the end of October, as well as the ongoing slump in overseas bookings, a double whammy that may be the death knell of more businesses. In a statement issued by the Association of Independent Tour Operators (Aito) – of which Cities Direct was a member – executive director Martyn Sumners said many formerly vibrant companies are now in desperate straits because of the pandemic.

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Tratok, the Travel and Tourism Blockchain Disruptor, Goes Mainstream, Offering Users the Chance to Win a Holiday per Year for Life

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Tratok’s users have always claimed that the UAE based disruptor holds a significant edge over its counterparts in the blockchain travel and tourism niche. To back their claims, they point towards Tratok’s accomplishments over the last 12 months. The privately funded venture has succeeded in delivering products, direct partnerships and two generations of working platforms. The efficacy of these has been backed by the industry’s most economically and logistically successful proof of concept tests conducted by public users of the Tratok token. Even the devastation of COVID-19 on the tourism sector appears to have done little to hamper Tratok’s growth. The team has expanded significantly with several new C-level appointments, while the user base has grown to over 700,000 confirmed unique individuals.

While these achievements are impressive, Tratok is about to raise the bar to an unimaginable level. To increase

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Pakistan hits daily low, cautious before holiday

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan hit another low in COVID-19 deaths with 20 in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily increase since mid-June.

“This is 87% reduction in COVID-19 related deaths,” Dr. Zafar Mirza, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, tweeted Monday.

Pakistan’s daily infections also continued to drop with just 1,176 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. Since records began in March, Pakistan has recorded 274,288 infections with 241,026 people having recovered from COVID-19.

Still with the Muslim holy day of Eid-ul Adha later this week, Mirza said despite the encouraging and consistent drop in infections there is “no place for complacency.” Pakistan saw its last spike in cases following the earlier holiday of Eid-al Fitr.

Khan and his coronavirus team credit their success against the virus to so-called smart lockdowns, quickly quarantining infection hot spots. At one point, more than 800 hot spots, including markets and

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What happens if my Spain holiday is cancelled?

Sunbathers wear face masks on a beach in Galicia - Getty
Sunbathers wear face masks on a beach in Galicia – Getty

It’s a nervous time for holidaymakers headed for Spain, with localised lockdowns in Catalonia and Aragon and nearly 1,000 new cases reported in the country yesterday, including a rise in infections in Malaga. France is considering closing its border with Spain and there have been rumours of further restrictions and a possible reintroduction of quarantine measures for British travellers returning from the country. 

The good news is that the FCO has just announced (on Friday) that – for the time being at least – there will be no change to its advice and people who have trips booked can continue to travel. 

The situation remains under review however, and Tui – the biggest tour operator – has already said that it will suspend its programme to Spain if quarantine rules are re-imposed. It is likely that it would be

Read More Group releases “2020 Dragon Boat Festival Holiday Big Data Report”

SINGAPORE, July 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leading international online travel services provider Group has highlighted the latest positive trends in travel in its recently released “2020 Dragon Boat Festival Holiday Tourism Big Data Report” for the China market.

With view to the China travel market, which is emerging as an exemplar for recovery of the travel industry, and where Group serves over 300 million users, the report observes a significant month-on-month increase in domestic tourism revenue and trips.

Despite the setbacks presented by the COVID-19 pandemic since late January, the leading travel services provider has observed month-on-month growth from March, which has continued during the recent Dragon Boat Festival public holiday period. According to the report, throughout the first two days of the holiday period, a total of 37.77 million domestic trips were made, generating USD 1.36 billion in tourism revenue, exceeding the same figures for the

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‘Instead of the holiday buffet, it’s egg and toast at home’

My Money is a series looking at how people spend their money – and the sometimes tough decisions they have to make. Here Priya Aiyer from Canterbury in Kent takes us through a week in her life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Priya is 29 and works full-time as an architect for a global construction company. When she’s not designing buildings, her interests include drawing cartoon illustrations and enjoying a good exercise session to train towards becoming a fitness instructor. She is also active in campaigning for racial equality and diversity.

She lives with her fiancé Ben and his mother. She and Ben would have been on holiday in Madeira this week, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Over to Priya…

I would have preferred to spend this week on holiday with Ben. Alas, Madeira was cancelled so have decided to have the week off anyway to refresh. We

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Everywhere you can go on holiday this summer

Alcudia beach, Majorca: istock
Alcudia beach, Majorca: istock

The government has announced a list of 59 countries and territories where Britons will be able to go on holiday this summer without quarantining.

From 10 July, those travelling from these approved destinations into England will be exempt from the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period imposed on all inbound arrivals.

Alongside this, the Foreign Office (FCO) has published a separate list of destinations where it has now lifted its blanket advice against all non-essential international travel.

While the lists are not the same, there is an overlap of 48 countries. For those looking to travel to one of the places where both elements of the “double lock” have been scrapped, there is another hurdle to overcome before holidays are possible: the country in question has to have also lifted restrictions, allowing Brits to enter freely without quarantining on arrival.

For example, New Zealand was included on both

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No refund if local lockdown ruins your holiday, Britons warned

Spain has introduced two local lockdowns - AFP
Spain has introduced two local lockdowns – AFP

British travellers have been warned they may be unable to claim a refund for a holiday lost to a local lockdown, regional quarantine rules or the need to self-isolate on return. 

Overseas trips will be possible once again from this weekend, after the Government revealed its plans for “travel corridors”, but with a number of countries retaining a variety of entry restrictions, Britons risk being a victim of disruption. 

Alex Neill, CEO of arbitration firm Resolver, said he does not expect to see a fall in holiday-related complaints over the summer. “We expect to see further cancellations from providers but at least in those circumstances consumers should get their money back,” he said.

“What isn’t being made clear enough to people booking now is that they are bearing all of the risk. If local lockdowns, holiday quarantine rules or being notified of

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