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WestJet removes planned Calgary – Rome service in S20

WestJet in the last few days removed operational schedule for Calgary – Rome service, previously scheduled to commence in summer 2020 season. Prior to schedule removal and closure of reservation, the airline planned service launch on 06AUG20, with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Previously filed schedule as follows.

WS032 YYC1815 – 1155+1FCO 789 456
WS033 FCO1355 – 1611YYC 789 567

Service operates Day 46 from YYC, Day 57 from FCO from 17OCT20.

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I've worked several full or almost full flights over the last week. Not one complaint from customers about the decrease in personal space.

I wish I could be so bullish. We were already teetering on the edge with the amount of personal debt people were carrying. The bailout money sounds like a lot but in a few months it's going to look li

Dagger suggested in a post (on which thread I can't remember) that government likely sees it as incumbent on the airlines to state where they're at and to set out their business plans for the next cou

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The Canadian Press  https://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/topstories/westjet-retreats-on-labour-code-exemption-that-would-facilitate-mass-layoffs/ar-BB15Slla?ocid=msedgdhp

WestJet retreats on labour code exemption that would facilitate mass layoffs

OTTAWA — WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it has halted its push for a labour code exemption that would have facilitated mass layoffs.

 

WestJet aviation security manager Jared Mikoch-Gerke told the House of Commons health committee Monday the airline had revoked its request for exemption from Canada Labour Code provisions that require 16 weeks' notice ahead of a mass layoff, which refers to 50 workers or more.

 

The executive said WestJet has laid off some 9,000 of its 14,000 employees since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

 

The crisis has seen the Calgary-based company park two-thirds of its fleet after border shutdowns and tanking travel demand prompted it to suspend most routes — including all international trips — in late March, though it plans to resume several flights between Canada and the U.S. at the end of the month.

 

An Air Canada senior executive said Monday the carrier has not withdrawn its application to the federal labour minister for an exemption, but has received no response so far.

 

The Montreal-based airline, which has laid off more than 20,000 staff, has joined with other companies from across industries in asking the prime minister and premiers to ease restrictions on international and interprovincial travel.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.

 

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

 

The Canadian Press

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WestJet ends physical distancing on flights, opens up all seats starting July 1

Michael FranklinCTVNewsCalgary.ca Senior Digital Producer

@CTVMFranklin Contact

Published Friday, June 26, 2020 12:05PM MDTLast Updated Friday, June 26, 2020 12:19PM MDT
Westjet

Calgary-based WestJet says it will be changing its seating policy on July 1. (File)

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CALGARY -- In response to changes with international travel guidelines, WestJet has announced it will be removing its seat distancing protocol on its domestic flights starting July 1.

The Calgary-based airline made the announcement Friday in a release following a review of the International Air Transport Association's guidance.

Officials said because its flights have HEPA filters installed to clean recirculated air and the air flow in cabins flows from the ceiling to the floor, it did not need the extra barrier.

WestJet added the seat backs also provide protection for passengers.

"WestJet has built a robust framework to ensure Canadians can travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All program. The guidance supports the measures that WestJet has implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19," the company said in the release.

The airline also helps prevent infection through mandatory temperature checks of all passengers, enhanced cleaning and sanitization of all touch points, modifications to its in-flight service, aircraft fogging and a requirement for guests and crew to wear masks.

"Safety is at the forefront of every decision we make and as our industry adapts to a new normal, we will continue to adjust our health measures to ensure the safest travel experience. This includes spending millions of dollars in cleaning and sanitizing measures, along with personal protective equipment, to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and our people."

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Here is what IATA published:

5.2.1 Boarding and disembarkation Where physical distancing is required, cabin crew positions during boarding may need to be altered, for example in areas such as over wing exits where it is not possible to maintain a suitable distance from passengers during boarding. Additional protection on higher risk routes, such as temporary transparent screens or curtains to segregate passengers and crew may be considered. It may be necessary to board smaller groups of passengers in order to increase space between them while they storecarry-on baggage and taketheir seats. Depending on passenger booking figures, airlines with pre-assigned seating procedures may wishto consider physical distancing requirements within seating assignment systems. Airlines who do not have pre-assigned seating should ensure cabin crew monitor passengers’ seat choicesduring boarding, so that passengers are spread throughout the cabin as necessary. Where passenger load and any weight/balance limitations allow, passengers may be encouraged to move to empty seats to increase physical distance between them. During disembarkation, cabin crew may be required to limit the number of passengers standing to retrieve personal belongings and to manage the number of passengers disembarking simultaneously, in order to ensure physical distancing is possible while on steps/airbridges

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

WestJet ends physical distancing on flights, opens up all seats starting July 1

Michael FranklinCTVNewsCalgary.ca Senior Digital Producer

@CTVMFranklin Contact

Will be very interesting to see how this is perceived.  Flair was raked over the coals here in YYC last week for a full flight with no empty middle seats.

The Flair spokesman was spot on in his analysis that if the person wants the seat next to them empty, then that will be an additional charge (same cost as the seat).

Has to happen sooner rather than later imo, the next big step into getting people to travel again, but will be interesting to watch how it unfolds in any event.

Edited by AIP
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19 minutes ago, AIP said:

Will be very interesting to see how this is perceived.  Flair was raked over the coals here in YYC last week for a full flight with no empty middle seats.

The Flair spokesman was spot on in his analysis that if the person wants the seat next to them empty, then that will be an additional charge (same cost as the seat).

Has to happen sooner rather than later imo, the next big step into getting people to travel again, but will be interesting to watch how it unfolds in any event.

If you read the IATA paper, there is nothing in it to indicate that "Non Separation" is acceptable in so many words. Re the Flair position re an empty seat, the following provides exceptions to that pertaining to Large Canadian Air Carriers. 

Quote

One Person, One Fare

For travel within Canada, if a person with a disability requires more than one passenger seat due to disability-related needs – for example, because they travel with a support person or a service dog – carriers have to provide additional, adjacent passenger seating at no extra cost.

Carriers, with the exception of ferries that do not offer assigned seating, must provide additional adjacent seats, meaning seats which are next to the seat of the passenger with a disability in three situations:

  1. When a passenger with a disability travels with a support person who:
    • provides assistance to them during travel — i.e., after departure and before arrival — with the following:
      • eating meals (e.g., hand-feeding), taking medication or using the washroom;
      • transferring to and from a passenger seat where the passenger cannot assist onboard crew with their transfer (note: transfer assistance before departure and after arrival is provided by carrier personnel who are specifically trained to do this without assistance from either the passenger or their support person);
      • orientation or communication; or
      • responding to an emergency, including an evacuation or decompression (note: the assistance is of a physical nature, as opposed to, for example, explaining instructions given by carrier personnel);
  2. When the size of a passenger's service dog is such that the passenger's seat does not provide sufficient floor space for the dog to lie down at the passenger's feet in a manner that ensures the safety and well-being of the dog and the passenger; or
  3. When a person with a disability needs more than one seat because of the nature of their disability. Additional seats may be required by persons who, for example, have a fused leg or who are disabled by severe obesity.

https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/accessible-transportation-persons-disabilities-regulations

Quote

Large Canadian air carriers are those that meet the definition of "Canadian" in the Canada Transportation Act (section 55), have transported at least 1 million passengers each year for the two preceding calendar years, and operate within Canada and/or between Canada and another country. This includes, for example, airlines like Air Canada and WestJet. Large Canadian air carriers must follow certain requirements in Part 1, 2 and 3 of the ATPDR.

 

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It’s a roll of the dice, and I wouldn’t want to be the one who made this call if the news soon breaks of an outbreak traced to one of those “full” flights. Being in the age range where getting it could cause me or my wife permanent harm, we’ll be taking road trips only for quite a while. We are not alone in this.

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Canadians worry about travel as Westjet and Air Canada sell middle seats

BY TAYLOR BRAAT, DEREK CRADDOCK

Posted Jun 29, 2020 8:27 am MDT

 

Last Updated Jun 29, 2020 at 8:31 am MDT

 
 
 

CALGARY (CityNews) – The middle seat on flights has been left empty for months, so flyers can physically distance as they travel.

Now, Canada’s two biggest airlines are ending that policy and that has travellers feeling very nervous.

Some people on social media have said they’ve now cancelled flights because of the change, some demanding refunds.

Thanks @WestJet , I’ve now cancelled the flight I was supposed to be on to watch one of my best friends marry her high school sweetheart due to the fact your company values $ over public health and safety. I’ll be cutting up the MasterCard I have with you as well. Thx 4 nothing. pic.twitter.com/lv1g1IEZAl

— Kaytee Fisher (@KayteeFisher) June 26, 2020

 

Just got off the phone with @WestJet after a 3 hour hold. Informed me that no refunds would be forthcoming and no special seating accomodations would be made for INFANTS who CANNOT WEAR MASKS. Disgraceful. I hope @GovCanHealth @transportc have a reasonable explanation for this.

— Alex Willis (@alexjwillis) June 27, 2020

 

One man said on a recent flight, he was worried even though there was space.

“Like sniffling or sneezing, who knows if they were sick or not.”

The airlines point to health recommendations from the International Air Transport Association.

The trade group called for an end to in-flight physical distancing rules last month, proposing a range of other measures instead.

However, some people believe, it’s nothing short of a growing hunger to restore revenues.

“While everyone else is at risk, they’re just worried about the profits, they wanna fill the whole plane right?” said one traveller.

The new policies also undermine Transport Canada’s guidance to airlines that physical distancing is a key factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on flights.

Epidemiologists say airflow in airports and cabins is what’s crucial adding once the virus is on your flight, it has a chance to spread and then there’s always the X-factor of asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

But one infectious disease expert said filling flights isn’t necessarily life or death.

“Through the selection of travellers by a screen for symptomatic illness and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, we will be reducing risk,” said Michael Parkins with the University of Calgary.

The changes come into effect in July, meaning as of Canada day, passengers will have a closer neighbour in flight.

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2 hours ago, conehead said:

Good question.

IATA has done that for years.  eg. Dangerous goods handling, live animal handing etc etc etc.  Nothing new here but read what they published very carefully, no where do they state that separation onboard aircraft is not necessary. and  https://www.iata.org/contentassets/df216feeb8bb4d52a3e16befe9671033/iata-guidance-cabin-operations-during-post-pandemic.pdf

From the document"

Quote

5.2 Physical distancing The concept of physical distancing is that every person is considered to be infected and every person maintains a distance ofat least 1 meter (RefWorld Health Organization)from others. This concept is familiar among the population as it is one of the measures imposed by governments in efforts to contain and slow the infection rate. It is however, just one of the measures enforced to the population of countries where infection is ongoing. Travelers may expect the same physical distancing to be enforced on aircraft, however this concept does not reflect the additional screening (e.g. temperature check) of passengers before boarding, so that not all passengers are considered to be infected, nor does it consider the protections offered by the cabin environment

Quote

2.1.2 Risk assessment of routes Operatorsshould consider classifying each route for the level of risk of exposure to Covid-19 in order to determine whether additional mitigations are required in relation to services, policies or procedures. The risk levels will change frequently according to the rate of local transmission, booked passenger load, the length of the flight/s operated and other factors. Somehealthagencies publishdashboardinformationrelating to infection rates, whichassist in assessing risk: Organization Dashboard URL World Health Organization https://covid19.who.int/ European Center for Disease Prevention and Control https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019- ncov-cases EASA https://www.easa.europa.eu/SD-2020-01/Airports US Center for Disease control https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/casesupdates/cases-in-us.html

 

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AIRLINES

Blocking middle seats on planes is a ‘PR strategy, not a safety strategy,’ United says

PUBLISHED WED, JUL 1 202010:31 AM EDTUPDATED MOMENTS AGO
KEY POINTS
  • United dismissed the effectiveness of blocking middle seats on board.
  • Airlines are grappling with how to calm travelers nervous about flying during the pandemic.
  • All major U.S. carriers require that passengers wear masks on board.
 

A passenger looks at his phone while waiting aboard a United Airlines plane before taking off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on May 11, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

A passenger looks at his phone while waiting aboard a United Airlines plane before taking off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport on May 11, 2020 in Houston, Texas.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

United Airlines on Wednesday dismissed the notion that blocking some seats on board would keep passengers safer from Covid-19, as policies among U.S. airlines diverge.

Delta, JetBlue and Southwest have said they will blocking some seats on board, an effort to put travelers at ease about flying during the pandemic.

 

“When it comes to blocking middle seats, that’s a PR strategy, that’s not a safety strategy,” said Josh Earnest, United’s chief communications officer on a call with reporters. “When you’re on board the aircraft, if you’re sitting in the aisle, and the middle seat is empty, the person across the aisle is within six feet from you, the person at the window is within six feet of you, the people in the row in front of you are within six feet of you, the person in the row behind you are within six feet of you.”

 
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Earnest’s comments come a day after two federal health officials criticized American Airlines for changing its policy to book flights to capacity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t immediately comment.

Both United and American alert passengers when their planes start filling up and, when available, offer the chance to switch to another flight.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to the safety and well-being of our customers and team members,” American said in a statement. “We have multiple layers of protection in place for those who fly with us, including required face coverings, enhanced cleaning procedures, and a pre-flight COVID-19 symptom checklist — and we’re providing additional flexibility for customers to change their travel plans, as well.”

United’s Earnest pointed to a series of measures United has used to keep passengers safe, including more intense cleaning of aircraft, social distancing during the boarding process and the use of face masks. The airline has also increased the use of touchless kiosks at airports.

 

All major U.S. airlines now require passengers wear masks and have threatened to ban travelers who don’t comply. They are also asking travelers a series of health questions before their flights.

Airline labor unions are pushing for federal rules requiring masks on board. So far, officials have only recommended masks.

“There’s no way to properly socially distance on an aircraft,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the union that represents cabin crews at United, Spirit and others. She said that keeping middle seats open gives flight attendants “some flexibility to use selective social distancing by moving people in the event of a medical emergency or seat the rare passenger who can’t wear a mask, such as a small child.

“But here’s the reality — the failure of government intervention to put in place a plan for aviation safety during a pandemic continues to not only put our health at risk, but also our entire economy,” she said.

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the vocal minority will complain about this but the majority will jump on board.

I say this because when the government dropped certain restriction here in Ontario, the Lineups of people at Dollarama, Michaels and other "Non-Essential"stores was overwhelming.  Once the 14 day quarantine is lifted, people WILL travel.

People, for the most part, follow the rules but some don't but only because they are the rules.  start lifting those restrictions and the people will flood in.  

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https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/2020/07/07/turbulence-in-canadian-opinion-on-airlines-covid-19-response-poll-says/

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response, poll says

News from The Star – link to story

By Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press | Tue., July 7, 2020

air_canada.jpg

OTTAWA—A new poll suggests turbulence ahead for airlines seeking public support for their current COVID-19 plans.

Seventy-two per cent of Canadians surveyed by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they’re not comfortable flying since a decision by some airlines to relax their own in-flight physical distancing requirements.

As of July 1, Air Canada and WestJet both ended policies blocking the sale of adjacent seats.

The measure was seen to align with a guidance document for the aviation industry issued by Transport Canada in April to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Among other things, the department had suggested passengers should be widely spaced when possible, though they did not make it mandatory.

Airlines, however, are required to make passengers and air crews wear masks.

Only 22 per cent of those surveyed said they’re comfortable getting aboard with no in-flight physical distancing and a requirement to wear masks.

There’s more to it to keep flights safe, WestJet said in a statement last week after critics attacked its plan.

“What makes an airplane, and the entire journey, safe is the layers of enhanced cleaning, the wearing of masks and the hospital-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.999 per cent of all airborne particles,” the airline said.

“The hygiene standards we have now are world-class and backed by industry experts.”

Critics have also previously pounced on the airlines for another move: refusing to fully refund tickets for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds, but he has refused, arguing that mandating reimbursements from a sector that’s lost more than 90 per cent of its revenue would cripple the industry.

But 72 per cent of those polled say they totally oppose his decision.

In lieu of refunds, the airlines have offered vouchers but the poll suggests that it may take a while before people will rebook previously cancelled trips: 85 per cent of those surveyed told pollsters they have no plans to travel outside the country by the end of the year.

The survey polled 1,517 people and can’t be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random.

Pollsters were in the field between July 3 and 5, a historically popular few days for Canadians and Americans to be on the move between the two countries, given the July 1 Canada Day holiday and the U.S.’s July 4 Independence Day.

But the border remains closed to non-essential traffic, and the majority of Canadians surveyed said they feel it needs to stay that way. The current mutual closure agreement is due to expire July 21.

Of Canadians polled, 86 per cent said they totally disagreed with reopening the border at the end of July, allowing Americans back into the country.

Americans seem more eager both to head north and to welcome Canadians south; 50 per cent agreed the border should reopen and 36 per cent disagreed.

The potential for cross-border transmission of the virus has been a key factor in the decision to keep the border closed. Currently, rates of COVID-19 infection in the U.S. continue to climb, while in Canada the curve appears to be on a downward trajectory nearly everywhere.

Still, the survey suggests Canadians don’t feel they are out of the woods. Thirty-nine per cent believe the worst is yet to come, while 35 per cent believe the worst of the crisis has passed.

In the U.S., 42 per cent of those surveyed felt the darkest days are ahead, 25 per cent believe the U.S. is in the middle of the worst part now while 21 per cent think that’s already passed.

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Name any other service for which you pay in advance; the service provider says they can't provide the service " at this time"; and is allowed to keep your money and in place thereof, offer only to provide that service " at a future date".

 

There is a very real distinction between the situation where the flight operates but the pax doesn't want to travel and one where the airline simply doesn't operate the flight on which it sold seats.

The Minister should understand the difference.

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8 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

The Minister should understand the difference.

The same government has determined that viruses are not easily passed on aircraft. Clearly Liberal airspace holds magical restorative powers but beware, church parking lots are not included in this and have been designated ROZ areas.

In other news, the Snow Queen is taking a long vacation and considering  abdication. She's tired of being snowed 

Edited by Wolfhunter
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12 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

Name any other service for which you pay in advance; the service provider says they can't provide the service " at this time"; and is allowed to keep your money and in place thereof, offer only to provide that service " at a future date".

 

There is a very real distinction between the situation where the flight operates but the pax doesn't want to travel and one where the airline simply doesn't operate the flight on which it sold seats.

The Minister should understand the difference.

In fairness, a lot of the flights could not operate because governments wouldn’t allow them to.  How is that the airlines fault?

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13 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

Name any other service for which you pay in advance; the service provider says they can't provide the service " at this time"; and is allowed to keep your money and in place thereof, offer only to provide that service " at a future date".

Hospitals and other medical provider, Courthouses, Government services,.... Funeral Homes, Banquet Halls, Gyms, Academic Institutions (public and private).....

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Specs said:

Hospitals and other medical provider, Courthouses, Government services,.... Funeral Homes, Banquet Halls, Gyms, Academic Institutions (public and private).....

 

 

 

Specs...you've stymied me. Courthouses? You paid for a Courthouse in advance? Government services....I'm not sure we're on the same page here. I buy a ticket for....$100 ....for " you" to transport me from A to B. I pay in advance ( never a good thing) and on the designated day you say  "Can't do it!"

When I ask you to give me my money back, you offer the same remark.

 

Homerun says it might not be your fault; the government interceded. Okay but presumptively, the price I paid was intended to pay ( proprtionately) for fuel, labor, depreciation etc.....all arising from the trip never taken!! You didn't incur the expense...give me back my money!!

A doctor pays for his office and staff ( I didn't say lawyer) whether or not a client (whoops...patient) walks in. It's a cost of doing business. The same is true of airlines. Don't try to visit upon the unsuspecting and innocent the " cost of doing business" when for whatever reason, you can't ( or won't) provide the service sold.

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9 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

Specs...you've stymied me. Courthouses? You paid for a Courthouse in advance? Government services....I'm not sure we're on the same page here. I buy a ticket for....$100 ....for " you" to transport me from A to B. I pay in advance ( never a good thing) and on the designated day you say  "Can't do it!"

When I ask you to give me my money back, you offer the same remark.

 

Homerun says it might not be your fault; the government interceded. Okay but presumptively, the price I paid was intended to pay ( proprtionately) for fuel, labor, depreciation etc.....all arising from the trip never taken!! You didn't incur the expense...give me back my money!!

A doctor pays for his office and staff ( I didn't say lawyer) whether or not a client (whoops...patient) walks in. It's a cost of doing business. The same is true of airlines. Don't try to visit upon the unsuspecting and innocent the " cost of doing business" when for whatever reason, you can't ( or won't) provide the service sold.

The airline didn’t incur certain variable costs such as fuel and catering but they certainly incurred a lot of other costs, including labour and lease payments.  Fuel, catering, nav charges account for roughly 30% of operating costs.  So 70% of the cost of transporting you has already evaporated due in large part to governments preventing airlines from operating their businesses.

If airlines had to refund all the non-refundable tickets, then you would see most of the industry under bankruptcy protection at the moment, thus turning those travel credits into creditor claims.

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Either way, at 8:13, those imposed restrictions won't be eased until our neighbors get this under control. Now that cancellation and refund policies are more transparent, one can book with more confidence. Still, it doesn't help those already holding the "cant get a refund" bag.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/we-are-not-out-of-this-pandemic-finance-minister~1991585

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On 7/8/2020 at 9:45 PM, UpperDeck said:

Specs...you've stymied me. Courthouses? You paid for a Courthouse in advance? Government services

Of course.  We all do.  I pay taxes to help keep those services running and I expect the services to be there when I need them.  Some folks incurred additional or unplanned expenses because those services were unavailable when we all paid for them to be there.   Shouldn't we be reimbursed when they are not?

   

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