I need a vacation. Away from the bustle of day-to-day duties, the stress of home-schooling, the constant emails and phone calls, and the never-ending laundry. Is it just me or has laundry doubled during the pandemic?
Yet I can’t help but wonder: am I allowed a vacation? The media and health officials are pushing for staycations, despite the reassuring numbers these past few weeks, because so much remains uncertain. Festivals have been cancelled. Many parks are closed. Camping sites are limited in number. It would make sense to just stay home and enjoy some downtime. However, what about those of us who can’t actually relax or have official time away unless we physically leave our town? Can we go camping? Can we go visit family at their cabins in a nearby province? Can we stay in a hotel? Or Airbnb? And even if we can, should we?
The worry of harassment if you’re pegged as a tourist resounds with many of us, especially after all the stories of others being threatened for having out of province license plates. Some provinces, like Manitoba and Nova Scotia, still require visitors to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. PEI and Newfoundland still have their borders closed to access, even by other Canadians. Doug Ford told Quebec that they love them in Ontario, but to please wait before they visit their neighbours.
How could we vacation during the pandemic and do our best to stay safe? Here are some suggestions:
• Well, the borders remain closed to unnecessary travel at this time, so Canada it is, eh?
• Start planning and keep track of what’s currently happening with outbreaks and numbers in the areas you’re considering visiting. Make sure to check the rules from the province before you leave.
• Outdoor vacations are your best and safest option. For those of you with an RV, you’re in luck because you have full control over that space, keeping it clean, and restricting access to others. Camping can also be safe, but the struggle becomes communal areas, such as common bathrooms for those of you who usually tent.
• Keep numbers low. If you do plan to visit family or friends, be selective. The fewer people, the lower the risk of exposure.
• Hotel vs Airbnb? Both will have to adhere to strict cleaning protocols; however, a house rental is limited to just you and your own. You can easily go in and clean it on arrival, controlling the disinfection of each area, versus managing the hygiene of a hotel and the other patrons coming-and-going.
As I write these suggestions, I find myself anxious and discouraged, rather than excited to getaway. We may be itching to get out of town, but all the rules and restrictions put too much of a damper on a holiday. Is it worth it? Or should we just wait?
Dear COVID-19 is a weekly column supplied by
Drs. Rithesh and Veronique Ram