Masks and Civility

Arriving in Kona last summer

I have some thoughts on travel and masks. I wasn’t going to bother wading in to this topic, but it seems like it’s all anyone is talking about when it comes to travel this week.

This week, the Federal public transit and airline mask mandates effectively ended. Yes, there’s an appeal pending, but let’s face it, the cat is out of the bag on this issue. There will not be any enforcement going forward. Even Uber and Lyft have made masks optional.

So, what should you do? You should do whatever makes you comfortable. If you still want to wear a cloth or surgical mask while traveling, go right ahead. The statistics on these don’t really show much evidence that they work. If you are really concerned about catching covid due to an existing health condition, wear a well-fitted N95 mask to protect yourself.

The thing to remember here is to be nice. If your rideshare driver says “please wear a mask as I don’t feel comfortable yet without one,” then wear a mask. If your 80 year-old neighbor on a flight asks you to please wear one, then wear a mask. You did it for two years, you can do it for a couple of hours.

That being said, I have no plans to wear one UNLESS I am requested to by a business owner, rideshare driver or a seat neighbor on a flight. I am comfortable doing my own risk analysis. Everyone will have to come to their own conclusions on this topic.

I was concerned to see the bullying and harassment by airline crews and passengers toward people who want to continue wearing masks for now while traveling. My advice to those people: Mind your own business and just be happy that you don’t need to wear a mask anymore.

I hope that this is the precursor to the Biden administration removing the return test requirement for international travel. I know several people who have tested positive (asymptomatically) and been stuck overseas until they can return a negative test. Obviously, no one should travel when sick, but these tests do result in false positives (and false negatives) and should not be required anymore when the USA has Covid spread greater than most other countries anyway.

I hope this is the last time I write about this as I’d rather write about points, miles and actual travel. Just remember to be courteous and considerate of your fellow travelers out there.

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