Harder Coming Home

In Canada, COVID restrictions are starting to loosen. As vaccinations increase and new cases decrease, we find ourselves at a point where we must start to decide on our new normal. Sure, the government is going to dictate some of the parameters, but ultimately Canadian citizens will shape the new normal by the way they behave.

I know that I will remove my mask as soon as the okay comes via my local health authority, but I will still continue to keep separation between me and others. I’m a loud talker, so no one needs to be up in my face to hear me. Certain behaviours we have all learned over the last two-years, will be sticking around for some time to come.

I read somewhere that it takes three months to develop a habit. Yes, I heard other time numbers too, Like 21-days but 90-days seems to be the ‘habit ingrained’ number I hear most frequently. We’ve been habit forming for 18-months, surely some of it will stick with us. The ‘Anti-Everything-COVID’ people are in for quite the surprise when this all ends, and we still won’t hug them!

Domestically, things I believe will shape themselves. As a population we will decide on our own safe zones, what each of us is most comfortable with. Having been fully-vaccinated, I will take my cue from others around me and try to be sensitive to their comfort-level during personal interactions. I’m sure I’ll screw up more than once and cause somebody anxiety I did not intend to, but I’ll try to be mindful.

As a country, Canada currently leads the list of the highest percentage of single-vaccinated citizens. We lag behind in fully-vaccinated but since we have such a large number of people willing to be vaccinated, I think we’ll catch up fast. According to ‘our world in data dot org’, Canada has 67.3% of its population vaccinated with a single-dose of some kind of vaccine and 23.3% fully-vaccinated (two doses). We still have a long way to go, but considering we don’t manufacture vaccines, we’re doing okay. At least from my perspective, we should be experiencing a different fall than we did in 2020.

Outside my borders though, the world is a different place. Percentages of vaccinated people vary depending where you look. The UK has a lower percentage of people vaccinated with at least one shot compared to Canada, but have done a bang-up job getting those people fully-vaccinated. Their approach has been different than ours. The British government has been methodical about making sure their people are getting fully vaccinated, according to the manufacturer guidelines. Their attitude has been that there is no point in giving out half a cure. This is different from the North American approach of “half is better than nothing” when it comes to vaccine distribution and after all, they are just guidelines. Time will tell, whether one approach proves more efficient than the other.

Being fully-vaccinated in my country means that I will be given back the freedom to move around within my countries borders, without health obstructions. I will soon be able to eat in restaurants, go to the theater and shop when I want to. I will be able to see my grandchildren that live two provinces away, and you bet your ass… I will hug them! As a Canadian this is great as long as I wish to never leave my country again, but that’s not my plan.

My plans, and those of my friends, involve international travel. Since Rock, Stream, Honey and I are all from Canada, coming and going from Canada is the same. As fully-vaccinated Canadians we can re-enter our country from the Dominican Republic without the need to quarantine. No hotels, no stay-at-home quarantine, no health obstructions, except for the dreaded nasal swab.

As far as traveling to the DR, there are no restrictions. The only travel-advisory, aside from the overall “Travel is not recommended due to COVID-19” anywhere in the world, is the warning about the high-crime rate in the DR. I usually try to stay away from those areas. The Dominican Republic currently doesn’t require even a negative COVID test to enter the country for travellers from Canada. Also, if you can show that you are fully-vaccinated, you can avoid being randomly tested at the airport. That’s one nasal swab avoided! The doors are wide open in the DR! You don’t face any obstructions until you try to go home!

Ginger and The Earl are faced with a different dilemma when it comes to international travel. Travelling to and from the UK uses a different criterion with a different set of rules than Canada. They put each country in the world, based on some kind of world-ranking system only they understand, onto a colour-coded list. They have a Red-list, an Amber-list, an ‘I have know idea what to call that colour’ list and a Blue-list. You are absolutely correct to assume, the Blue-list is currently empty. Also like the Canadian government, the UK doesn’t actually recommend travelling to any other country due to COVID-19. I’m sure if I checked any countries travel advisory’s, they would all tell me not to travel and just stay home. I figure it’s the standard everywhere.

The Dominican Republic is on the UK’s Red-list. Ginger and The Earl would be required to do a 10-day quarantine, in a pre-approved government quarantine-hotel upon their return, at their own expense. They will also pony-up for the pleasure of having a cotton swab rammed up their noses, twice! Even though they are fully-vaccinated, the UK aren’t yet giving perks to the fully-vaccinated. It’s not who you are (i.e., fully-vaccinated), it’s where you’ve been that matters in the UK. When you think about it, having that kind of health obstruction would put a damper on anyone’s travel plans. It’s not worth the time or money, to take a Red-list country vacation.

The one thing I have learned from a real-time global crisis, is that things change rapidly. My feeling is that six-months from now the UK will have enough of their population fully-vaccinated that they will have put most other countries on their Blue-list or at the very least ‘the unknown-colour’ list. Returning home to the UK, for those that are fully-vaccinated, will be less obstructed by then. With Canada ready to go, and seven months before any of us plan to travel, I feel pretty confident that all six of us will be able to be on a Dominican beach by February.

So really, we all face only one small problem. We are all able to reserve the flights we would normally travel, and at some decent prices, if I do say so. Airlines are advertising and selling every route that was available pre-pandemic, even if the routes have been shut down for 17-months. It’s full speed ahead for the optimistic airline industry in 2022. Pedal to the metal, balls to the wall, sell ‘em like we got ‘em! But as of this moment, there is still no guarantee when any of us get to the airport, there will be a plane waiting for us to board. Okay, I guess that may be a big problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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