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Indoor mask mandate to return to Disneyworld and Disneyland effective today

Effective today, all guests two years and older at Disney theme parks in the U.S. will once again be required to wear face masks while indoors, a precaution against the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus. In an announcement on Disney’s website, the new policy begins Friday, July 30th at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.  It includes a requirement for masks “in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions,” the company says.  Face coverings in outdoor common areas remain optional.

The announcement comes shortly after a change in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this week.  The CDC called on even fully vaccinated people to wear masks indoors if they live in places with “substantial” or “high” coronavirus transmission.  Since about the start of the month, both Florida and California have seen increases in coronavirus infections

After Disney theme parks closed in March 2020, Disney World finally reopened last July with social distancing and mask requirements.  California’s Disneyland reopened on April 30 this year.

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President Biden announces vaccination requirements for federal workers

President Biden announced that every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to “attest to their vaccination status,” and will require anyone not fully vaccinated to wear a mask at work regardless of where they live, social distance and get tested once or twice a week. Employees can also face restrictions on official travel. According to a fact sheet that was released to reporters, Biden is directing the Department of Defense to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military. Pfizer, Moderna and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines were granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), but the FDA is facing pressure to issue full authorization of the vaccines, which could open the door to mandates in schools, and the military.

The White House is also ramping up efforts to get more Americans vaccinated, including calling on states, territories and local governments to do more to incentivize vaccination by offering $100 to those who get vaccinated and reimbursing small- and medium-sized businesses for offering their employees paid leave to get their family members vaccinated.

However groups representing large numbers of federal workers — including law enforcement and postal workers — raised some early objections to the president’s announcement. Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said in a statement: “As an association representing those men and women charged with protecting the Constitutional rights of all Americans, including the right to privacy and choice, we are concerned by any move that would mandate the COVID-19 vaccine among federal employees.”

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Country Daypop

Garth Brooks’ ‘Stadium Tour’ coming to Seattle’s Lumen Field

Garth Brooks has added a Seattle stop on his Stadium Tour, and is set to perform at Lumen Field on Sept. 4. The Labor Day weekend concert will mark Brooks’ first date at Lumen Field, and his first time in Washington since performing three-days at the Tacoma Dome in 2017.

2021 Stadium Tour stops for Brooks include: Nashville, Tenn. (July 31); Kansas City, Mo. (Aug. 7); Lincoln, Neb. (Aug. 14); Cincinnati, Ohio (Sept. 18); Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 25); Baltimore, Md. (Oct. 2); and Foxborough, Mass. (Oct. 9).

Tickets will go on sale for the Seattle date on Aug. 6 at 10AM PT via Ticketmaster. Tickets will cost $94.95, including all taxes and fees, with a limit of eight tickets per purchase.

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Country Daypop

Willie Nelson signs on for the new docuseries ‘Willie Nelson and Family’

Willie Nelson has signed on to participate in a new docuseries, called Willie Nelson and Family, which will focus on Nelson’s life and legacy. Nelson’s family and friends will also participate in the series.

Filmmakers Oren Moverman and Thomm Zimny are co-directing the project, and said in a statement: “Words like ‘honored,’ ‘excited’ and ‘humbled’ don’t come close to describing the way we feel about being entrusted with telling Willie’s story. And what a story it is! We are celebrating the music, the career, the long road, the family, friends and history … But more than anything, we are piecing together a narrative — one never before seen in its entirety — about an extraordinary man with a unique ability to bring people together. These days, we sure could use the healing powers of Willie Nelson.”

So far, no information has been released on how viewers will watch the docuseries. In the meantime, Nelson will be keeping busy, taking his annual Farm Aid benefit concert back to an in-person format for 2021, taking place in September. The singer’s traveling Outlaw Music Festival is also set to resume this fall, with artists including Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Yola, Gov’t Mule and Margo Price joining him on dates in late August and September.

Hold Onto Your Horses… There’s A Willie Nelson Docuseries In The Works

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Entertainment Daypop

Check out the trailer for ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’

In the trailer for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” the next chapter in the “Ghostbusters” universe, director Jason Reitman delivers a story about a broke single mom (Carrie Coon) who moves her two kids (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) to a small town with a connection to their past.

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts are set to reprise their roles from the original films, which Reitman co-wrote along with Gil Kenan. Jason Reitman is the son of director Ivan Reitman who helmed the first two films and will serve as producer on “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.”

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is coming to theaters on November 11th, after having been delayed multiple times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can check out the latest trailer – here.

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Scarlett Johansson suing Disney regarding ‘Black Widow’ streaming release

Scarlett Johansson is suing the Walt Disney Company over the streaming release of ‘Black Widow.’Johansson alleges in the lawsuit that the simultaneous release of Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ was a breach of contract.

The actress claims in the docs that she agreed her compensation for starring in Black Widow would be largely based on box office receipts generated by the film, and agreed to a theatrical release exclusive to movie theaters in order to maximize her pay. Johansson also claims Disney violated its pledge by releasing Black Widow on Disney+ on July 9, 2021, the same day it was released in theaters; she is demanding a jury trial.

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Google and Facebook among the companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees

Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October, instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1.  The company plans to mandate a policy that will require employees to be vaccinated in an attempt to fight the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant. Facebook also announced a vaccine mandate for U.S. employees on Wednesday.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email:  “This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it.” The requirement will be first imposed at Google’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters and other U.S. offices before being extended to the more than 40 other countries where the Google operates. The vaccine mandate will be adjusted to adhere to the laws and regulators of each location, Pichai wrote, and exceptions will be made for medical and other “protected” reasons, explaining “getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead.”

Facebook President of People Lori Goler said in a statement: “As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our U.S. campuses to be vaccinated. How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations.”  Goler added that the company will have “a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves.” 

The decision to require vaccines comes on the heels of similar moves affecting hundreds of thousands government workers in California and New York as part of stepped-up measures to fight the delta variant.

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Senate advances bipartisan infrastructure deal

Hours after bipartisan Senate negotiators reached a deal on an infrastructure package on Wednesday, the chamber voted to advance it, with a final vote on the bill expected shortly. The procedural motion was approved 67-32, with 17 Republicans joining all Democrats to begin legislative action. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, was among those voting to move ahead with the proposal.

The forward movement on the bill comes a week after a failed test vote on the deal. The bill is expected to be around $1.2 trillion over eight years with roughly $550 billion in new spending, but details on key components were still being worked out. Some procedural steps still lie ahead before the final passage.

A White House fact sheet on the deal outlines:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects;
  • $11 billion in transportation safety programs;
  • $39 billion in transit modernization and improved accessibility;
  • $66 billion in rail;
  • $7.5 billion to build a national network of electric vehicle chargers;
  • $73 billion in power infrastructure and clean energy transmission.

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Country Daypop

Dwight Yoakam joins Carrie Underwood to perform together at CMA Summer Jam

Carrie Underwood took to social media to share news about her dream-come-true collaboration during the first night of the 2021 CMA Summer Jam at the Ascend Ampitheater in Nashville.   Underwood’s special guest collaborator was the one and only Dwight Yoakam, and the two shared the stage to perform one his biggest hits, 1993’s “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere.” The song, which was written entirely by Yoakam, reached the second spot on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart following its release.

Underwood wrote on social media alongside a photo taken during her and Yoakam’s performance:  “Never in a million years would I have thought I would get to share the stage with someone this cool! @DwightYoakam you are a LEGEND and, now, a friend as well! Thank you!” 

You can watch Underwood and Yoakam’s performance of “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere”  – here.

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Country Daypop

Dolly Parton releases new song ‘Sent From Above’ to celebrate the launch of her new perfume

Dolly Parton announced on social media the release of her new song, “Sent From Above,” the theme of her brand new fragrance, ‘Scent From Above,’ which is set to launch on July 28.

Parton said her venture into the beauty world was two years in the making. The ‘Scent From Above’ collection will be comprised of a mist and a body cream, and the fragrance includes, “fruited notes as bright as rhinestones dance,” “irresistible florals,” and southern fir and musk.

You can listen to Dolly’s new song “Sent From Above” – here.

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