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DAVIDH last won the day on November 30 2019

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  1. The daily briefings are making it clear that the measures will not just go overnight. The scientific and medical officers have both said that there will be a review after three weeks to see if the curve is flattening (amazing that I don't even have to explain what I mean...everybody knows!) If so that will indicate we are on the right track. We will then have to wait for 2 to 3 months to see demand on ICU beds and ventilators drop to such an extent that when restrictions are partially lifted, and probably result in a rise in cases, we have the capacity to treat these new infections in our hospitals. So it's most likely that a partial lifting of the restrictions will come first. To what extent that is, would be anyone's guess. It could be repeated like this, turning on and off a tap, for some time to come. Each time ensuring the hospitals have the capacity to cope. Eventually, either enough people will have had the virus to make it difficult for others to get it, there will be an improvement in the anti-viral treatments to such an extent that people no longer die with it, or the magical vaccine will be produced.
  2. This from one of the travel writers atthe Telegraph a couple of days ago: Unreasonable consumers could kill countless travel companies and put thousands out of work I never thought I’d write these words, but I think the time has come for consumers to be flexible. To put our rights into a new context and start thinking about the implications of what is currently happening to the travel industry. I say this having spent much of my working life holding airlines, tour operators and other holiday companies to account, exposing shoddy, sometimes dishonest service, and campaigning for better consumer rights and protections. But during that time I’ve never seen anything quite like the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. And I’m not talking about the obvious short-term disruption. Because we plan, book and pay for travel often months in advance, the effects of the virus on tourism will last for the whole of 2020 and probably much longer. It is a seismic shock to tone of the world’s biggest industries, and an acute, existential threat to many of the companies that operate within it. Sure. Slowly and eventually, life will get back to normal. But we don’t want to delay that resumption by seeing whole chunks of the industry collapse. Let’s look at the grim reality from the point of view of an airline, tour operator, hotel or cruise company, or one of the many, many businesses that form the backbone of that industry. They already work on tight margins and they depend for their profits (and therefore their survival) on a steady turn over of bookings. These bring funds in advance for some - airlines and tour operators, for example - and in arrears for the agents who depend on commissions, or hotels which are often paid only when guests have left. But instead of taking bookings, checking in guests and organising travel arrangements, all these companies are now having to spend all their efforts handing money back. Not only does this fundamentally threaten their future, none of them - especially those which were built to trade online - have enough staff to cope with a sudden and extreme shift in the way they have to work. Those employees they do have are stressed, in fear of their jobs and livelihoods. What’s more, as the virus spreads, more and more of them are getting ill leaving companies even more short-staffed. They are also having to deal with anxious, impatient customers desperate to get their money back. And I know, from the tone of some of those who have contacted me, that not all these customers are understanding nor even reasonable in their expectations. I suppose it is not surprising. We are all stressed and worried about the financial consequences of the virus. But I have been mostly impressed by the efforts of the travel industry to mitigate the problem. Most are doing their level best to help. Many are doing their best to be flexible. Strictly speaking, customers are usually entitled to a cash refund in such circumstances. But many companies, in their struggle to survive, are trying to persuade people to accept a postponement - rebooking for a later date - or an offer of a credit for a future holiday. So, bearing the extremity of the situation in mind, I’ve changed the advice I give to those whose trips are cancelled and suggested that - if at all possible - they forbear from demanding a refund and accept an alternative offer. The more people who feel able to do this, the more travel companies will survive long enough to arrange our holidays in future. And you don't have to worry about losing your money - in the vast majority of cases it will be protected because your holiday was paid for with a credit card booking or a financial bonding arrangement such as the Atol. This week the trade association ABTA made a plea for help and flexibility in the legal situation. It asked the Government to take two immediate steps to help the industry survive. First to allow companies to refund customers over a defined period, during which their payment is protected. And second, to establish an emergency fund to reimburse customers’ money where travel companies cannot recoup it from their suppliers. Only with these interventions, says Abta, “will we be able to continue to protect the customer interests, and avoid a short term run on travel companies which will trigger failures and delay refunds getting to customers.” It’s a cry for help. If we want to carry on travelling after Covid-19, we should all heed it.
  3. All the operators are trying to enforce a line that they will hold on to the money, (keep it in credit), then allow a change to another date when things improve. This is good for the company's survival, and fits most customers needs. The point I was trying to make further up, was that the contract you have with Richardsons will very likely state that if they cannot provide the holiday, you would be entitled to a full refund. I can't see any legislation coming forward that would allow booking conditions to be changed, after the contract was made. So it may be that someone might have to resort to legal action, if it wasn't resolved in one way or another. I would imagine any new bookings made in the current climate might have different booking conditions. Just my view, .....I'm no law expert.
  4. Whatever the rights and wrongs of not allowing cancellations, I would have thought this would be very difficult to enforce when Hoseasons booking conditions, (which would have been in force at the time of booking) state: B3 Cancellations or changes made by us It is unlikely that we will have to make changes to your booking arrangements but, as we make the arrangements for your booking in advance of the start date, we may occasionally have to make changes both before and after bookings have been confirmed. Or, we may have to cancel confirmed bookings. While we always try to avoid changes and cancellations, we can make them at any time. Occasionally we have to make a ‘significant change’ such as a change of boat to that of a lower standard, changing the departure time by more than 12 hours or a change of area/resort. If we need to do this, we will let you know as soon as is reasonably possible before you leave. We treat all other changes as minor. As a result, we will decide whether to let you know about them. If we have to make a significant change or cancel your booking, and as long as there is time to do so before the departure date, we will offer you four options; a) you can accept the changed booking arrangements we offer you; or b) you can transfer to another booking if we are able to offer alternative arrangements (with comparable or higher facilities (at no extra cost to you); or c) if available, you can accept an offer of an alternative holiday of a lower standard, with a refund of the price difference between the original holiday and the alternative holiday; or d) you can cancel your booking, in which case we will refund you all amounts you have paid. There would have to be some serious legislation that allows for new booking conditions to be back-dated. I do think it is the responsible thing to take a (protected) credit note, but in the end it has to be accepted that not everyone will be in a position to use one. Regarding how safe Hoseasons are, well they are part of the Awaze group, which was purchased a year ago by the Platinum Equity group. Their portfolio of companies is listed here: https://www.platinumequity.com/portfolio . Looking at it, I wouldn't think Hoseasons would be under any direct threat as a result of the virus.
  5. Arrange to leave a holding deposit?
  6. There are still huge numbers of people overseas who are now finding it difficult to get flights home, fearing that they will soon be locked in their country of situ. (is that a word?) Young ones in Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia are all unable to get flights as the major carriers have either cut or completely stopped flights. The Government was asked at PMQs today to lay on rescue flights for these people. The usual answer "Its actively being worked on".
  7. Absolutely no need to apologize. You were passing on information which you thought would benefit others. It won't be the last time erroneous information escapes into the community.
  8. Peter....just beat me to it!
  9. This is really excellent information, and I want to pass it on to others. If I can add the authoritative source of it, it will add a layer of certified knowledge (if you know what I mean) to it.
  10. Really enjoyed the video Jean. I'm interested in your choice of backing music. Are they your "favs" or is it just what you are allowed to use? I can quite imagine the Korgies and the Carpenters being on your own "playlist".
  11. I was talking to a member of staff in my local McDonalds. They told me all such surfaces are regularly wiped down. They do it continuously, almost so customers cannot fail to see it being done.
  12. Got to get to Reedham Quay before he does.
  13. It's impressive though, right down to the bow wave it's pushing before it. I thought there was a 50ft length limit for hire-boats?
  14. The UK figures will soon be of no use, as we are no longer asked to report cases.
  15. Is it that little bit of mooring on the way into Loddon (right hand side) on the Chet. Forgotten what it's called.
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