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Record holiday spending projected from more disposable income due to pandemic | Business

A side effect of the pandemic could make merchants a little merrier this holiday season.

Because consumers have more money to spend from not traveling, lower fuel costs and a recovering job market,  the National Retail Federation projects shoppers will lay out a record amount on gifts and other trappings of Christmas this year.

The trade group this week predicted spending on gifts and decorations will rise between $755 billion and $767 billion during November and December, an increase of 3.6 percent to 5.2 percent over last year.

Underpinning the record retail sales projection are a surging stock market, strong home sector and higher savings boosted by government stimulus payments, according to the federation.

Christmas shopping with customers clutching bags

Shoppers clutch bags of recent purchases as people pack King Street in downtown Charleston on the weekend before Thanksgiving to take advantage of early-season deals. Brad Nettles/Staff

Add to that the psychological factors of people wanting

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  • November 26, 2020

Boulder City will close city hall, other changes due to Nevada ‘pause’

BOULDER CITY (KTNV) — Starting Dec. 2 Boulder City offices will close to the public, in a similar manner as in March 2020.

RELATED: 3-week ‘pause’ restrictions in Nevada take effect Tuesday

The following changes will take place:

  • City Council, Committee, and Commission meetings will be live-streamed only (residents still have opportunities to provide input via email, online form, or call-in; see for details)
  • The public will still be able to use windows to conduct business and submit payments, permits, etc.
  • Residents can drop items off at the front door security desk of City Hall
  • Events with more than 50 participants must be canceled
  • For Parks and Recreation activities that are allowed, participants and observers would need to follow State directives regarding occupancy and wear a mask

“We continue to take action to protect our businesses and residents and follow the guidance of the State and Governor, who are

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  • November 25, 2020

Onslow municipalities closing to public due to COVID-19 cases

Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Onslow County, several municipalities have made the decision to close their buildings to the p beginning next week. 

Jacksonville Assistant City Manager Glenn Hargett released a statement on Tuesday saying, “In an effort to limit person-to-person contact and to protect valued employees and citizens from the increasing COVID-19 exposure, many Onslow local governments will be restricting access to buildings and personnel.”

Onslow County, City of Jacksonville and Richlands will have restricted building access beginning next week. Staff will remain on duty inside the buildings.

The Town of Swansboro said they are still considering a closure or partial closure but have yet to make a call and are waiting for the board of commissioners to weigh in, according to Assistant Town Manager Paula Webb. 

County officials announced 256 confirmed new positive COVID-19 cases since Friday. 

With the growing number of cases in

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  • November 24, 2020

Toronto Raptors to Start Season in Tampa Due to Coronavirus

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Amalie Arena

The Toronto Raptors are heading south for the winter.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri announced on Friday that the Canadian team will make its home base in Tampa, Florida, to begin the upcoming season due to restrictions in the country over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The Raptors worked diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena,” Ujiri said in a statement. “These conversations were productive, and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward.”

But Ujiri said that “ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida.”

RELATED: Warriors’ Klay Thompson to Miss 2020-21 Season After

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  • November 21, 2020

CDC says people should not travel for Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 surges

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that people should not travel for Thanksgiving, citing the rapid increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the country. “It’s a strong recommendation,” said Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager at the CDC, during a press briefing.

The United States is averaging over 160,000 COVID-19 cases per day, and the coronavirus is spreading out of control in most states. “We all need to consider the safest way to celebrate this holiday amidst this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Walke said.

The US saw spikes in cases after the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, and Thanksgiving poses an even larger concern: celebrations usually happen indoors (where the virus spreads more easily), with multiple generations (including older adults at high risk of severe COVID-19). There’s also more virus spreading in most places in the US now than there was during those

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  • November 19, 2020

As California pulls the ’emergency brake’ due to COVID-19, Orange County businesses are stuck in neutral

As cases surge in the state, nearly 94% of all Californians now live in the most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening road map after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that nearly 30 counties would be returning to the purple — indicating “widespread” transmission — tier effective immediately.

That includes Orange County, which remained in the second-most tier since Sept. 8. County health officials said that in the span of two days that the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents skyrocketed from what was 5.6 — still within the thresholds for the second tier — to 10.8, which removes the county from the tier.

The state recently issued a mandate requiring residents to wear masks when they’re outside of their homes with few exceptions. Only those younger than 2; have a disability or medical/mental health condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering; are hearing impaired, or

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  • November 18, 2020

Can I apply for FEMA money due to Hurricane Zeta in MS?

South Mississippi residents whose homes were damaged in Hurricane Zeta are wondering why no major disaster declaration has been issued, which would make available federal funding for repairs.

A major disaster declaration can be issued quickly when damage is catastrophic because damage assessments can be waived. Category 4 Hurricane Laura’s catastrophic damage in August in Louisiana, for example, led to a quick major disaster declaration.

But Hurricane Zeta did not reach a catastrophic level in Mississippi, where the hurricane hit as a Category 1. Wind damage was widespread in the three Coast counties, including from falling trees. Some flooding also was reported, especially in Hancock County.

Emergency managers say they are completing damage assessments needed before Gov. Tate Reeves can request a disaster declaration from the president. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is documenting damage by county for individual and public assistance.

Public assistance goes to local governments and other

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  • November 17, 2020

Tree festival pushed to 2021 due to COVID

Organizers of the 2nd Annual Midcoast Tree Festival have announced that the event is being postponed until 2021 due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The event had been scheduled to open on Nov. 20 with nearly three dozen decorated trees and wreaths for patrons to be raffled off.

The event is a joint fundraiser for All Saints Parish (St. John’s School), Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program and the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber. The groups raised over $24,000 in the first year, from 50 cent raffle tickets and sponsorships.

“It’s a shame to have to make this decision, but when we weighed the work we had put in, and the need for something good in our community right now, against the relentless surge of Covid-19 cases and the potential of making this a super spreader event, we made the call to postpone,” said Southern Midcoast Maine Executive Director

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  • November 13, 2020

Giuliani Claims He Was a ‘Target’ in ‘Borat’ Due to Hunter Biden Story

Rudy Giuliani claims that he did nothing “inappropriate” during a scene filmed in Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel, where Giuliani appears to start touching himself in a hotel room after being interviewed by a woman. As The Daily Beast reports, the former New York City mayor and President Trump’s personal attorney disputed the allegations in a radio interview after news and clips from the scene in question circulated earlier Wednesday.

In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Giuliani is interviewed by an actress portraying Borat’s daughter Tutar, who is an “undercover” interviewer for a right-wing “patriotic” news program. The scene takes place in a hotel suite and following the interview, Tutar invites Giuliani to the bedroom for a drink. He pats her waist multiple times as she removes his microphone from the interview. Giuliani then lies down on the bed and puts his hands down his pants and appears to start touching

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  • October 22, 2020

This Thanksgiving ‘might be a good year not to travel’ due to COVID pandemic, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says

Gov. Charlie Baker is encouraging Massachusetts residents to think about not traveling this Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This might be a good year not to travel,” he said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also already discouraging people from making travel plans.

“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” the CDC’s website stated in September. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

For Thanksgiving, the CDC suggests, having a small dinner with only people who live in the same household. And for those that are considered high risk, it suggests preparing traditional family recipes and “delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.”

And for those that love Black Friday shopping, it’s best to

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  • October 21, 2020