Belgians can invite guests for Christmas amid coronavirus pandemic, but only one can use the bathroom

The four-person rule will apply for Christmas, and authorities are trying to make sure that people who show up for backyard celebrations do not end up spending time indoors. Anyone inviting guests over needs to have a garden or backyard that can be accessed without walking through the house, which essentially means that people who live in detached homes can have guests over but those who live in rowhouses cannot. “You are not allowed to go through an interior space first, because then there is a risk that many people will be together in a small space,” Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told Het Laatste Nieuws on Monday.

A spokesperson for Verlinden added another major caveat: Only one guest who is chosen as a “close contact” can be allowed inside the house to use the bathroom. Other visitors are banned from going inside for any reason, including grabbing a drink or

Read More

Slack co-founder Cal Henderson was a WFH skeptic until pandemic hit

Slack co-founder and CTO Cal Henderson

Source: Slack

LONDON — Slack co-founder and chief technology officer Cal Henderson said Wednesday that he had his doubts about whether companies could work from home before the coronavirus pandemic.  

“I was definitely a remote work, like fully distributed work, skeptic prior to this year,” said Henderson, whose platform facilitates working from home, in a virtual interview at the Web Summit technology conference.

“I was as surprised as anyone that we were able to be so productive during that shift,” he said. “We were already distributed because we have offices around the world, but we weren’t fully distributed. Teams in general are co-located. They are in the same office and they can have in person meetings and whiteboarding sessions and all that kind of interaction.”

The Microsoft Teams rival closed its offices and asked people to work from home at the beginning of March

Read More

Nursing homes pursue higher payments for extra services, leaving them vulnerable during the pandemic

Medilodge of Livingston, where Catlin lived, and four other nursing homes in the Medilodge chain — all given a below-average health inspection rating by Medicare, and three having been cited specifically for infection control deficiencies — were among the 21 facilities to sign up for the plan. Several scrambled to obtain ventilators to meet any demand.

They were responding to the incentive, as nursing homes have done for years. Covid-19 just shifted that incentive, and Medilodge moved quickly to take advantage. In the context of a system in which government money largely supports for-profit nursing home enterprises, it made sense.

Federal money, through the Medicare and Medicaid systems, has long shaped the nursing home business — and in ways that left it completely vulnerable when the viral pandemic arrived in March.

For years, extra money has gone to pay for extra services, encouraging some nursing home owners to game the

Read More

Separated from loved ones for months, elderly face even lonelier holidays during the coronavirus pandemic

Elderly people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the country haven’t been able to hug a loved one in many months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, many are facing their first Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas without them.

a person in glasses looking at the camera: Grace Barnum

Grace Barnum

“I’m just waiting,” Grace Barnum, 76, a resident at Beechwood Long Term Care in New London, Connecticut, said. Fighting back tears, she added: “To be able to hug again.”

a man sitting on a bed: Cathy Corey said about not seeing loved ones: "it's like my heart gets ripped out sometimes."

Cathy Corey said about not seeing loved ones: “it’s like my heart gets ripped out sometimes.”

Nursing homes and other facilities for the elderly were hit hard early on in the pandemic because the virus is so deadly among that population. There have been more than 70,000 deaths in long-term care facilities, and though the people there account for only about 8% of coronavirus cases, they made up 45% of deaths by early September, according

Read More

World’s Biggest Glove Producer At Risk as Pandemic Hits Home

(Bloomberg) — The new heart of Malaysia’s worrying virus resurgence is an unlikely place — the sprawling factory complex of the world’s largest maker of surgical gloves. It’s putting at risk not just a key export for the Southeast Asian manufacturing center, but also a nascent economic recovery.

The government on Monday ordered Top Glove Corp. to close 28 of its factories in phases, after its facility in Klang, Selangor state recorded 1,067 Covid-19 cases, out of 1,884 new daily cases in Malaysia. New infections continued and hit a record high of 2,188 on Tuesday, of which more than half came from the Teratai cluster linked to the company’s worker dormitories.

Top Glove said Wednesday that the high number of cases was due to increased testing, and that it expects the outbreak at its facilities to end in two-to-four weeks. On Wednesday, Malaysia recorded 970 new Covid-19 infections.


Read More

Homeowners are remodeling in record numbers amid pandemic

As people continue to spend more and more time in their homes, many are looking for ways to upgrade through remodeling. And it doesn’t take a big budget to do so.

MINNEAPOLIS — When Dave Fransen bought his first house in south Minneapolis 13 years ago, it was a true fixer upper. And he’s since built a new kitchen, garage and a backyard fence.

“It definitely needed some work,” said Fransen. “And I’ve just been ticking off projects here and there.”

But this year is his busiest yet, because, as the pandemic gets longer, so does his list of projects.

“When you’re at home a lot more, it’s easy to get more annoyed by the things that have always sort of annoyed you about your house,” said Fransen. “They get a little more amplified.”

That’s one reason homeowners nationwide are remodeling in record numbers. Home design website Houzz says leads

Read More

Abilene contractors see more home remodeling work during pandemic

Quarantined Abilenians have realized that home could be sweeter with some updates.

a man riding a skateboard up the side of a building: Gus Flores measures a length of tin before cutting it for a skirt for the portable building behind him owned by Melina Sterry (left) Friday Nov. 13, 2020. Flores works for The Honey Do Service, a general contractor.

© Ronald W. Erdrich/Reporter-News
Gus Flores measures a length of tin before cutting it for a skirt for the portable building behind him owned by Melina Sterry (left) Friday Nov. 13, 2020. Flores works for The Honey Do Service, a general contractor.

Jason Ramirez, owner of The Honey do Service of Abilene Inc., has hired more staff in recent months to meet the demand.


Load Error

“We’ve added more craftsmen. We’ve added another salesman,” Ramirez said. “We now have booked a month and a half out worth of work for my craftsmen.”

The current situation is much rosier than expected after the pandemic hit the Abilene area in mid-March with stay-at-home orders and school closures.

“At the beginning, it was scary,” said Ramirez, who has owned the franchise for five years.

“I was lucky…,” he added. “I had

Read More

College students returning home face challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic


Passengers traveling through the A.B. Won Pat International Airport on Guam are subjected to thermal imaging scans to measure body temperatures as authorities battle the spread of the coronavirus.

Pacific Daily News

As Thanksgiving approaches, thousands of Guam residents weigh the risk of pandemic travel. Among this group of people, college students face a daunting challenge: How to safely return home but avoid bringing a deadly virus.

In a country with 250,000 coronavirus deaths, universities nationwide are allowing students to go home for a long Thanksgiving break and finish their semesters remotely.

So what are experts recommending to students to reduce the possibility carrying the coronavirus with them?

Public Health website 

All college students returning to Guam are subject to quarantine. Proof of negative test results outside of Guam aren’t accepted.

The Department of Public Health and Social Services website delineates requirements prior to travel. Incoming passengers, regardless of

Read More

Toronto Raptors Will Play Home Games in Florida Because of Pandemic

The Toronto Raptors are heading south for the winter — at least for the start of it.

The Raptors announced Friday that they would begin the 2020-21 season based in Tampa, Fla., amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in Canada. In a statement, Masai Ujiri, the Raptors’ president of basketball operations, left open the possibility that the team could return to Toronto at some point this season. The Raptors are the only N.B.A. team based outside of the United States, and Canada has imposed strict measures about travel between the two countries. Cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. continue to skyrocket.

“So we’ll be away from our home and our fans for now,” Ujiri said in the statement. “They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m not sure that’s possible for us — we love Toronto and Canada, and we know we have the best fans in

Read More

Improve Pandemic Happy Hour With A Home Cocktail Machine

The sameness of everything is wearing us all down. Wake up. Pull on sweatpants (or maybe one of these ridiculous onesies: a button-down shirt attached to sweatpants). Open your laptop. Zoom. Repeat. I’ve taken to moving my laptop from the office to the dining room table to the kitchen, sometimes pretending that I’m sitting in a coffee shop instead of in the same house I’ve been in for …. Ever…

Across much of the country, bars are restricted or closed and the number of people you can have at an indoor gathering is tightly constrained. So there’s no chatting with your local mixologist – and if you’re having a micro-wedding or other sanctioned gathering, for example, hiring a bartender may mean there isn’t room for Uncle Pete… which might be okay.

Read More