Unless you’re the most patient person on earth, you’re probably sick and tired of the never-ending avalanche of changing rules and regulations being thrust upon us thanks to the pandemic.
The fact of the matter is that if this really is a new virus setting off a once in a lifetime chain of events, then chances are no one really knows what the heck they’re doing in response – or why.
Sure, some of the things we’re being told is common sense (like, I really hope you wash your hands), but others are just too ridiculous to believe – especially if you do a lot of traveling.
Just like in the U.S., citizens of other nations are getting whiplash trying to keep up with all the pandemic rules meant to keep us safe – and controlled.
They seem to change by the day, sometimes between the morning news broadcast and the World News Tonight. Doom and gloom about things that were discovered during the few hours of the afternoon.
In my opinion, it’s all a conspiracy to confuse us so much that we start to think we can’t think for ourselves. “Wear a hazmat suit to get your groceries, or better yet, have them delivered – oops, breaking news, surface transmission is rare.”
And then there are all the ridiculous things we now have to do when we travel.
Airlines, just like the cruise lines before them, have been crippled by the loss of income from travel restrictions.
And even if you have no fear of this virus because you’re a healthy adult who drinks smoothies and eats kale (as I sit here and pop another m&m into my mouth), all the regulations enacted to get us from point A to point B are enough for many of us to say, “Forget it, there’s always next year.” Maybe.
But since these policies change every second – and get more ridiculous with every passing moment – we thought you might like an update on just how much stupider things have become.
What will they think of next?
Not only do the rules change all the time, but they vary between airlines and hotels and all the other cogs in the wheel of the travel industry.
One Allegiant Air passenger knew he’d have to wear a mask during his flight, but was surprised to see the cabin crew was not doing the same.
When he brought this hypocrisy to their attention, he was kicked off his flight. (Remember, moms and dads, “Do as I say, not as I do” will always backfire, even if this crew got away with it.)
Another gentleman flying to the United Arab Emirates was told no one could board with luggage weighing more than 11 pounds – for “health reasons.”
My only guess for this twisted logic is that the bigger the luggage, the more surface area there is to carry germs? (But haven’t they told us surfaces aren’t the real danger?)
Or maybe they want to avoid contamination by lifting heavy luggage, so they make sure passengers can manage their luggage by themselves?
Sorry, Grandma, you’re on your own.
And then there are the cutbacks in services. Many airlines have stopped serving meals on long flights to avoid spreading germs. (And don’t forget, you cannot remove your mask to eat or drink anymore!)
But, first class and business class passengers are often still receiving their gourmet meals, champagne, and pillows. Oh, yeah, no one’s giving you a pillow anymore either…
…unless you’re part of the exempted upper-class.
Then there are the hotel chains. Some claim they’ve ramped-up cleaning protocols and even provide guests with welcome packages of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer.
Others, however, are treating guests as if they have the plague. Hotel staff won’t enter guest rooms at all.
Since housekeeping staff in certain hotels don’t want to enter guest rooms and catch their cooties, they’re told to empty their own trash and leave dirty towels and linens outside their doors. Staff will bring you fresh linens and towels, but so much for the “hospitality” industry. Clean up after yourself!
In Las Vegas – known as sinner’s paradise and one of the hottest places in the U.S. year-round – temperature checks are in place and so are thermal cameras.
So, if you walk around in the heat or sunbathe by the pool for too long, you may not be allowed back into your hotel. Anyone deemed “too hot” is denied re-entry.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless you set off the heat sensors. Then it’s back home for you.
And perhaps the most idiotic of all – a travel blogger in Bali recently posted that he was denied entry into a small café until he washed his elbows. The theory behind this one is that most of us put our elbows on the table when eating and, therefore, our contagious elbows are going to contaminate the table.
Now, this one is ridiculous because a) unless you’re a weirdo, you’re not putting your elbows anywhere dangerous, and b) you wouldn’t put your elbows on the table anyway because your momma raised you right.
If you find these rules absurd (well, don’t worry, they’ve probably changed by the time you’re reading this) just take a look at some the other COVID craziness affecting travelers.
If you thought that was crazy…
Ah, international travel. A chance to learn and explore other cultures – including their beliefs and their ways of doing things.
Except in our “new-normal” world, there are some pandemic rules that I’d just rather not have to experience.
In much of Spain, public smoking is now prohibited. Not because they’re concerned about secondhand smoke but because exhaling near another person can threaten their life in another way. You know, respiratory droplets and all.
In Kosovo, not really at the top of my must-see destinations, anyone over 65 is not allowed to leave their home except between 5-10 am and 6-9 pm. Because these folks are deemed higher risk, they’re not allowed to shop in the light of day when most people are out. Nice.
And in Russia and Ukraine, there are not only mask mandates and social distancing rules that are strictly enforced, but gloves are required at all times.
I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that gloves are useless if you wear the same pair over and over and keep touching stuff. You know, like they’re doing all over the U.S. in fast food restaurants.
“We’re adhering to the highest standards for your safety, like wearing gloves.” And then they touch the cash register and POS system (point of sale, not the other POS, but if the shoe fits), the phone, the drink dispenser, your credit card, and – oh, yeah, your food. Same pair of gloves.
In South Africa, COVID restrictions include wearing only closed-toe shoes and long sleeves. Those pesky contagious elbows again, and I guess they included toes just for kicks.
Ridiculous, yes. But the award for most ludicrous COVID travel rules comes from Cambodia.
Many countries have imposed medical mandates at the cost of travelers over the past few months. You’ll be charged for COVID testing, including the expense of staying at a hotel while awaiting the “all clear.”
But there are even more COVID costs in Cambodia, like lab fees and certificate fees.
And you’d better not die from the virus while you’re there, because Cambodia also has a COVID cremation fee. In case you fall prey to the virus within their borders, you’ll pay $1,500 for the “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” treatment.
We all want to get back out there right now. Even if we were careful at the beginning of this whole mess last spring, it’s just becoming too much.
So, for now, enjoy the stupidity. It will make a good story for the grandkids someday.
But let’s face it, most of this stuff makes no sense at all. But there will always be stupid people out there.
To paraphrase one of my favorite memes, that’s why they put directions on shampoo bottles.
It looks like 2020 continues to be an endless cycle of lather, rinse, repeat.