Hoyt’s Safety Measures and Coronavirus Cleaning Tips

As more cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are reported in the U.S., Hoyt Livery is providing measures to help protect our clients and employees from the spread of this and other illnesses. Plus, coronavirus cleaning tips from the CDC.

Here’s what Hoyt is doing:

  • We thoroughly clean all interior surfaces of our vehicles with disinfectant wipes after each ride, as well as clean all employee work surfaces daily.
  • Our employees know not to report to work if they are feeling unwell and are instructed to seek medical attention.
  • We have also decided to temporarily remove all printed reading materials, beverages and snacks from our vehicles to prevent cross contact.

Thank you for understanding these precautionary measures and know that we are committed to keeping our vehicles as germ-free as possible and in pristine condition, inside and out.

Your health and safety are of utmost importance to us, and we thank you for your business!

Advice on cleaning for coronavirus

What can you do to help reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus and other illnesses? Here are general recommendations for routine cleaning and disinfection of households.

  • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
  • Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Wash your clothes and towels more frequently using the hot water setting when possible. Use your dishwasher on the sanitize setting to wash not just your dishes, flatware and cups, but other household items like sponges and hairbrushes.

  • Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
  • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person, consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
  • An ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, as much as possible, following home care guidance. The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by a child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate.
  • These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants. If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.

Coronavirus Concerns: Should You Still Travel?

The COVID-19 illness caused by a new coronavirus has millions of Americans questioning whether it’s wise, or even safe, to travel, especially by air. To help you make an informed decision, an infectious disease expert has created a checklist to help you decide whether to go ahead with your trip or cancel it.

Information courtesy of Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter for U.S. News & World Report.

Know your risk

Regarding risk assessment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their website (as of March 11) that, “For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.”

So, for most people with healthy immune systems, infection appears to result in mild symptoms—similar to a cold or flu. However, infection appears to be most severe, and occasionally fatal, for the frail elderly or those with chronic health issues or compromised immune systems.

Should you travel Q&A

Dr. Susan Wootton, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, has developed this nine-point checklist to help you decide whether your trip is a go or a no.

If your answer matches the response in parentheses to each question, move on to the next question. If not, you may need to rethink your travel plans.

  • Are the travelers healthy? (Yes.)
  • Have the travelers received flu shots? (Yes.)
  • Do any of the travelers or anyone the travelers have had contact with have any underlying high-risk conditions for the virus, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? (No.)
  • Are any travel restrictions for your destination listed on the CDC or U.S. Department of State websites? (No.)
  • Is the trip a cruise (which Wootton advises against)? (No.)
  • Are there any major events after the trip that would cause problems if you and your fellow travelers were quarantined for a period of time? (No.)
  • Would anxiety during travel ruin the trip for you? (No.)
  • Are you reasonably able to take common preventative measures — such as washing hands and keeping hands away from the face — during travel? (Yes.)
  • Would your regret be manageable if you or a family member caught COVID-19? (Yes.)

If you’ve gone through and answered this checklist, your trip may still be a go. If this is the case, Dr. Luis Ostrosky, professor of infectious diseases at UT Health, offers these tips to help keep yourself healthy while traveling:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—wash to the “Happy Birthday” song twice to ensure germs are washed away.
  • Carry and use a hand sanitizing gel with at least 60% alcohol as a backup when hand-washing isn’t available.
  • If you fly on a plane or take public transit, wipe down your seat, armrests, tray table, air vents, etc. with Clorox disinfecting wipes or similar.
  • Don’t touch your face. This is a tough one, because people do this without realizing it many times an hour, around 90 times a day. Try to be aware and avoid this habit.
  • If you don’t have to touch that doorknob, railing or countertop, don’t, or use your arm or other body part instead. Like the cold and flu virus, coronavirus can be coughed or sneezed onto surfaces.
  • Don’t bother wearing a face mask in public unless you have symptoms and want to help reduce spreading something yourself. According to the CDC, in everyday scenarios, face masks aren’t effective in cutting down your risk of infection, and might even raise the odds as people touch their face to readjust the mask. Also, buying up face masks reduces the supply available for medical professionals, possibly putting them at risk. So, only wear a mask if you are already sick, to prevent spread to others.
  • Keep yourself informed, preferably by reputable sources such as the CDC’s travel notices, the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories, and the World Health Organization’s situation reports.
  • In addition to wiping down your airline or train seat, it is recommended that upon checking into your hotel room, wipe down the doorknobs, light switches, handles, coffee pot, tv remote, desk, toilet, faucet, sink, etc.  with disinfectant wipes. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

For more information, see the CDC’s coronavirus website.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

A Q&A on CLEAR Identity Verification

If you fly and have been in an airport recently, you’ve probably heard about the CLEAR ID verification service.

Learn what CLEAR is and does, so you can determine if it’s right for you, courtesy of clark.com.

What exactly is CLEAR?

CLEAR, a New York-based startup, is a service to help you get through security lines at airports and stadiums faster and more efficiently by verifying your identity ahead of time and linking it to biometric data-like scans of your iris and fingertips.

CLEAR uses biometrics — namely your fingerprint and the iris in your eye — to confirm your identity, rather than old-school forms of ID like driver’s licenses and passports.

CLEAR transforms those biometrics into an encrypted code that is unique to each individual. Every time you check in at a CLEAR location, the system matches your fingerprint and iris scans to your unique code to ensure that it’s really you.

As a result, you’re able to bypass the general security lines at dozens of major airports and some other big sports and concert venues across the country, saving you valuable time in the process.

How does CLEAR work?

There are two stages to the security check at every U.S. airport: Identity verification and a security screening. When you sign up with CLEAR, you use it to bypass the wait in line to present your ID to a TSA agent. Instead, you go to a CLEAR kiosk and scan your eye or fingertip.

Once the system confirms your identity, a CLEAR employee will escort you directly to the security screening, which is usually much faster than standing in the line waiting for the TSA agent.

Although lines can and do form at CLEAR kiosks, they generally move at a much quicker pace than the other lines waiting to get through security.

How much does CLEAR cost?

A CLEAR Plus membership is $179 a year. If you join CLEAR Plus, you can add up to three adult family members to your account for $50 each per year. Children under 18 don’t need an account. They can accompany family members in the CLEAR line for free.

CLEAR has also partnered with two airlines — Delta and United — to offer their frequent flyers discounted memberships.

Delta Diamond Medallion members get free CLEAR membership. Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members can enroll for $109 a year and any non-Medallion SkyMiles member pays just $119. That means that if you are thinking about joining CLEAR, you can save yourself $60 a year simply by becoming a SkyMiles member at no charge.

As for United, MileagePlus Premier 1K members can enroll in CLEAR for free. Premier, Platinum, Gold, and Silver level flyers pay $109 a year, while it will cost Non-Premier flyers $119.

Both airlines also have branded credit cards that could allow you to get a discounted CLEAR membership. If you have one of those cards, check with the issuer to see if you qualify for a discount.

The American Express Green Card also now offers a $100 statement credit if you purchase your membership with the card, which could make your total $79 or less per year.

CLEAR + TSA PreCheck = Even Faster

If you have TSA PreCheck, you can get through security even faster. Where CLEAR expedites your trips through the documents-clearing portion of the process, PreCheck gets you through the physical screening quicker. If you have PreCheck, a CLEAR agent will escort you to the expedited PreCheck lanes once your identity is verified.

It’s important to note, though, that signing up for CLEAR does not automatically get you PreCheck status — they are separate programs.

Where Can You Use CLEAR?

You can use CLEAR at all participating airports and other CLEAR locations, such as stadiums. Check www.clearme.com for participating airports. While a CLEAR Plus membership gives you access to all of them, you can enroll in CLEAR Sports for free to get access to the non-airport venues. Just remember that you will not get the airport benefits with that plan.

Should I Be Worried About Giving My Biometric Data to CLEAR?

To enroll with CLEAR, you have to physically appear at one of their locations, although you can start the process online. CLEAR takes your iris and fingerprint scans. You’ll also have to present a valid driver’s license, U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or U.S. military card. Then you’ll be given a unique personalized quiz based on publicly available information to verify your identity.

So should you be worried about CLEAR knowing this much about you?

According to the company itself, “Privacy is at the center of everything we do at CLEAR and we are fully committed to protecting our members’ information. We never sell or rent personal information. Personal information is only used to deliver a frictionless and secure experience with CLEAR.”

Is CLEAR worth the money?

Obviously, there could be a lot of benefits to being a CLEAR member. But is a membership a good investment for every traveler? As it is fairly expensive, it may only be worth it if you travel more than 10 or 15 times a year. The other thing to consider is if there are CLEAR lanes at the airport or airports you fly in and out of most frequently. If there are not, it may not be worth it.

CLEAR may be a wonderful addition to your toolbox to help you move quicker in your travels. To help you with your ground transportation when you’re traveling, make sure to download our free app, Hoyt-to-Go. You can quickly book, change, check and manage all your car service needs on your phone. To download the app, go to your app store or visit https://www.hoytlivery.com/services/app/.

Source: Clark.com

What to Know If You’re Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As of February 7, more than 31,500 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world.

Starting in Wuhan, China, the virus has rampantly spread to other parts of Asia, Europe and the U.S leading to more than 600 deaths.

As a result, flights and cruises have cancelled their routes and cities are under quarantine. Here is everything you need to know about traveling while coronavirus spreads, courtesy of Travelandleisure.com.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a specific strain of coronavirus called 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. It was first discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And 2019-nCoV is the most recent “novel” version found.

Both Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are caused by a coronavirus, but not the strain that’s currently circulating.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The first symptoms of coronavirus feel a lot like the flu. “You’ll get a fever, cough — it’s primarily a lower respiratory virus — general malaise, there may be some gastrointestinal distress,” Dr. Rebecca Katz, a professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, recently told Travel + Leisure. When complications of the virus occur, patients could develop pneumonia or kidney-related issues, which could lead to death.

What should you do to prevent coronavirus?

You can protect yourself from catching coronavirus the same way you’d protect yourself from catching any other virus. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and be sure to thoroughly cook all meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with people you may see coughing or sneezing.

Which countries are impacted by coronavirus?

As the virus has affected the world, professors from Johns Hopkins University have developed a real-time map to track confirmed cases of coronavirus as it spreads.

Conditions in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected were likened to a wartime scenario this week. The city has been completely quarantined from the rest of China, with transportation links cut. Streets and shelves are empty as residents are urged to go outside only for essential supplies. There have also been two makeshift hospitals put in place to accommodate all patients.

While museums are closed until further notice, China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration has put much of its collection online for visitors to peruse.

The region of Macau has completely shut down for two weeks and none of its famous casinos will be open.

The doctor who first discovered this straint of coronavirus and alerted authorities, Li Wenliang, has died at age 34 of the disease. China has launched an investigation into his death and as to why according to a statement released by the official Xinhua news agency.

Taiwan announced Thursday it would no longer process online or landing visas for citizens of Hong Kong or Macau. The suspension will continue indefinitely.

In Japan, a total of 25 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. It is the most affected country outside of China; however, no deaths have been reported. Japan’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been laxer than other countries. Tokyo has only imposed an entry ban for travelers who have been to the Hubei Province within the last 14 days or those who have a passport issued from Hubei. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was adamant that the outbreak will not affect the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer.

The other most affected Asian countries are, in order, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.

Australia closed its borders to foreign arrivals who have been in China within the past 14 days. Australians who are arriving home from China are being met with additional health screenings. There have been 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia.

Australia flew out 243 citizens who wished to leave Wuhan and transferred them to quarantine on Christmas Island in an immigration detention center, according to the New York Times.

The U.S. has confirmed a total of 12 coronavirus cases since the outbreak The borders have been closed to anyone who has been in China within the last 14 days. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now requires airlines to ask passengers on inbound flights if they have visited mainland China in the past 14 days.

If they have, they are rerouted to screening centers at one of several airports around the country, including New York JFK and Los Angeles International. If passengers show no symptoms during their enhanced screening, they are rebooked to their final destination — although they are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

How are airlines responding?

Airlines around the world have halted service to mainland China amid warnings from the World Health Organization.

In a statement, Lufthansa Group (including Austrian Airlines and SWISS) said they will not accept new bookings to China through the end of February, however the airlines will continue to operate flights to Hong Kong. British Airways announced an “immediate” suspension of flights to mainland China. Reuters reported that there are no flights available to China with the airline through the end of February. Air Canada has also temporarily suspended flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

United, American and Delta have all suspended their service to China, citing low demand. The longest of these cancellations is with Delta, who have suspended mainland China service until April 30.

All airlines will continue to monitor the situation and could change their schedules should there be any change in the situation in China. Many airlines are still operating flights to Hong Kong. Travelers should contact their airline directly for more information.

Airlines are also looking out for their employees as flight attendants on Cathay Pacific were first told to wear masks while working and have now been asked to take three weeks of unpaid leave between March 1 and the end of June, due to a “significant” drop in demand for flights.

Thai Airways is practicing extreme precautions as they are spraying down cabins with a disinfectant after each flight.

How are cruises responding?

While cruise lines have released their own safety in how they’re handling the outbreak, isolated incidents have occurred on various ships.

At the time of this writing, at least 61 passengers on a Japanese cruise ship have been diagnosed with coronavirus. The ship was initially quarantined when an 80-year-old passenger boarded in the Japanese port of Yokohama after having been diagnosed. Sickened passengers have been transported to a hospital on the mainland for treatment.

A ship in Italy couldn’t offload passengers last week for fear that two of them had contracted the virus.

On Friday, February 7, a Royal Caribbean cruise docked in Bayonne, N.J. — 20 miles away New York City — with passengers that will be assessed for coronavirus as they deboard. Four passengers have been sent to the hospital, according to NorthJersey.com.

Should I cancel my trip because of the coronavirus outbreak?

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 — its highest level — warning, notifying Americans not to travel to China. The CDC also issued a warning against all nonessential travel to China. However, this does not include Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

The State Department hasn’t issued any health-related travel advisories against any other Asian countries.

To ensure any upcoming travel plans, calling your hotel and airline directly as well as monitoring updates and alerts will give you the current information.

Source: https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/coronavirus-china-travel-alerts-what-to-know

Top Travel Apps for 2020

If you plan on traveling in 2020, you can make the process easier and safer by using a good travel app on your smartphone.

Travel apps have become an essential part of helping travelers do everything from booking accommodations to managing their itineraries. But there are thousands of apps for travel on the market and it can be confusing deciding which ones to download.

Here’s a shortlist of the best for 2020, according to planetd.com. Most can be found on the Apple and Google Play App Stores.

TripWise by Allianz

Travel safety is an utmost priority today, so Allianz Global Assistance has taken the guesswork out of travel safety and developed the TripWise App to complement your travel insurance. The app will help you navigate emergencies when traveling.

Features include:

  • Country information – Real-time updates regarding travel alerts, security information, and emergency service numbers (i.e.: 911) of the country you’re visiting.
  • Hospital search – Uses GPS to find an Allianz accredited hospital at your destination.
  • Flight search – Tracks flights within three days for delays and cancelations.
  • Rx and first aid terms – Easy to use medical dictionary to help with deciphering internationally recognized prescription medications. It also translates first aid terms to more than 15 languages.

TripIt Free and Pro

TripIt is a free travel organizer to help with all your upcoming travel itineraries. It keeps all your travel details including flights, hotels and rental car bookings in one place which truly makes life easier when traveling through airports.

When you link your email address to TripIt, it automatically imports all travel plans from your inbox. TripIt stores all your confirmation numbers, contact information, and reservations in one handy itinerary. You’ll even get email alerts about upcoming travel plans.

The Pro version of TripIt offers:

  • Real time updates for flight delays and gate changes.
  • Seat Tracker: Lets you know if a better seat becomes available.
  • Point Tracker: Keeps track of your reward programs for you.
  • International travel tools such as what language, currency exchange and even electricity sockets and plugs to use at your destination.

You can also set an alert for what time to leave your home or hotel for the airport. TripIt lets you know how early you should be at the airport and how long you’ll need to get there. It even gives you your baggage claim details. Cost for the Pro version is $49/year.

Priority Pass

If you fly a lot, you know how important a break from the noise and chaos at the airport can be. When flying business class or when travelers have status with an airline, lounge access is one of the perks.

Priority Pass gives you access to 1300 airport lounges around the world and the app helps you find where they are and what terminal to find them in. Some users have noticed that Priority Pass lounges are often better than the regular airline lounges.

The cost for Priority Pass varies: Standard packages start at $99, but you’ll have to pay $32 per visit. For $299, you get 10 free visits and $429 unlimited free visits. Side note: American Express Platinum Card members get Priority Pass included with their fee.

LoungeBuddy

If you don’t want to pay the annual fee for Priority Pass or the cost of an American Express Platinum Card membership, the Lounge Buddy app is a great option. LoungeBuddy lets you know what lounges you can access and for how much if you do not have a membership to a lounge. It gives the rates and you can even book up to two months in advance. LoungeBuddy lets you know about Priority Pass and Star Alliance too. The LoungeBuddy app is free and you can buy access to a lounge for as low as $25, depending on the location.

Hopper

Hopper is a free app that keeps an eye on air fares and hotel rates and gives price predictions for upcoming bookings. That way, you can determine if you should buy now or wait for better deals.

HotelTonight

For last-minute hotel stays, the free HotelTonight app finds empty rooms and offers discounts to travelers needing to book immediately. Hotels would rather sell a night at a discounted rate than leave a room empty. So if you are flexible and willing to take a chance, this may be a great option.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

What is STEP?

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Doing so allows you to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans.

It also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency and will enable family and friends to get in touch with you in an emergency.

Sign up at https://step.state.gov/step/

Source: theplanetd.com

How to Be Winter Road-Trip-Ready

With winter here, it’s time to review what to do to make sure your vehicle can handle the cold temperatures and icy and slushy roads, and how to keep you and your family safe during the winter months.

Check the tire pressure and consider snow tires.
Tire pressure is especially important during the winter, as a properly inflated tire will help guarantee better traction in wet, snowy conditions. Make sure to read your owner’s manual to find the correct tire pressure. In addition, you may want to consider buying a set of snow tires, especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of snow. They’ll do a much better job than the all-weather tires fitted to most cars.

Did you add cold-weather oil?
When the outside temperature changes, it will influence the internal temperature of your engine, so make sure you’re using the proper oil for the conditions. Since we live where temperatures get below freezing, you will want to switch over to thinner, less viscous oil. For instance, if you run 10W-40 grade oil in the summer, you may want to move to 5W-30 when changing your oil for the winter. Make sure to refer to your owner’s manual for vehicle-specific information.

Have your battery tested again.
A car battery can die without any notice. The late-season extreme cold temperatures can reduce a car’s battery life by up to 50 percent. Even if you had your battery tested earlier this winter, have your battery tested again by your local mechanic — especially if you have an older car. Also, make sure your battery connections are free of corrosion.

Inspect your windshield wiper blades and fluid.
Visibility while driving during winter months can be a great frustration. Precipitation and salt buildup on the windshield can play havoc while driving in winter weather. So, make sure to not only check the condition of your windshield wiper blades, but also consider changing your existing blades to versions that are made for the harsh winter weather. Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A harsh winter storm is the worst possible time to run out of wiper fluid.

Make sure the engine coolant has a cold-weather mixture.
A car’s coolant system is not only designed to keep your engine from overheating, but it’s also responsible for protecting it against corrosion. Before the weather gets too cold, make sure you are using coolant that has the proper mix of antifreeze and water. You can do this by purchasing a tester at your local auto parts store.

Keep an emergency kit in your car.
If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your car, consider putting together a few basics and stowing them in the trunk. Naturally, you’ll want to be sure your spare tire is in good shape with all the tools to change it out. If you find yourself stuck or stranded in your car during the winter months, be sure to have the following emergency items on hand:

  • A flashlight, flares and first aid kit
  • A blanket, warm clothes and gloves
  • A radio
  • A bag of abrasive material like sand or kitty litter for when your tires get stuck in snow or ice
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • A brush or ice scraper
  • Extra coolant

When you take the time to plan ahead, you can make winterizing your vehicle an easy, annual ritual that will help keep you and your family safe on the road.

A warning about warming up your car!

Next time you have to shovel your vehicle out from the snow, make sure your vehicle’s tailpipe is completely clear of snow before turning it on. If an exhaust pipe is blocked by snow while a car idles, it can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide inside the car that could lead to death. Every year, tragedy strikes as a result of exposure to this odorless, colorless gas. People can pass out within minutes and can suffer brain damage, or even death from CO inhalation.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include confusion with shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. So again, make sure the exhaust pipe of a vehicle is completely clear of snow and ice before turning it on, and that there are no occupants in the car until the snow is cleared off.

Also, a recent Good Morning America segment revealed an increase in vehicle thefts across the country of unlocked cars warming up without their owners in it. Police call these vehicles “puffers,” and car thieves call them easy pickings. So, think twice before you leave your vehicle unlocked, unattended and running — it might not be there when you go back outside!

When the weather is especially treacherous but you need to get to your destination, remember Hoyt Livery has the answer. With a fleet that includes sturdy 4-wheel luxury vehicles, Hoyt Livery will get you there safely and in style.

Sources: DMV.org, About.com, Edmunds.com