Can You Social Distance while vacationing?
Yes – you can. I know because I’ve done it. In Early March 2020, we were all set to take off to Playa del Carmen for our March Break, aka Spring Break. COVID-19 had already hit the news here in Canada, and cases started to pop up. Two days before our departure we got notice that Ontario schools would be closed for an extra two weeks after March Break. I was a bit shocked, but figured, they were being overly cautious, which I did not mind. At that point I don’t think anyone in Ontario thought physical school would be closed for the rest of the academic year!
Should we stay or should we go? The days leading up to our departure, experts started to debate whether people should cancel their vacation plans, but there was no clear cut answer. In fact, the night before our departure, The Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, said he wanted people to go on their vacations and enjoy family time. By the next morning, as we were putting final items in our suitcases, the Canadian Government advised against non-essential travel, but didn’t restrict it. With only hours before our flight, and no way to get through to the airline to see what the options were, we headed to the airport and caught our flight. We took precautions, like wiping down seats and spread out on a plane that was only half full. By the time we landed, a mere 4 hours later, the Canadian Government was urging Canadians abroad to come home. What a fast moving story, that was literally changing by the hour!
Right or wrong, we decided to stay in Playa del Carmen and would monitor the decision daily. Our hope was that we would not have to end our trip early. This is our second home, and we believed that we could socially distance just as easily here as back home in Toronto which incidentally had more cases of COVID-19 then Quintana Roo. So socially distancing in sunny Playa del Carmen is exactly what we did. It was a new concept for sure and our trip was more quiet than normal but still enjoyable. We saw people we know in the building and just gave a virtual hug six feet away, admittedly not realizing at the time how important that all was. Around the condo pool which luckily is never busy, people chose their own corners and spaced out. When we felt like chatting in these common areas, we stood six feet apart. We took other precautions like had our groceries delivered so we avoided busy stores and only went out for dinner once during the week and returned home promptly instead of our usual routine post dinner which would include walking along 5th avenue to take in the energy. We did go to the beach a couple of times, but luckily the beach was not too busy so once again we just found our own spot away from others and kept to ourselves enjoying the sand, the sun and cerveza. Mostly our family stayed on our rooftop, hung out at our pool,- just the four of us. To be perfectly honest, we enjoyed this time alone, in tropical paradise even with the social distancing. To be clear, we were concerned and watched the news every night. At that time, Mexico had not really been hit. The focus was on Europe, and the States, especially New York and that was concerning. As it turns out, we stayed for the entire duration of our trip and I am glad we did.
Socially distancing is not what people expect to do while vacationing, but it is in fact possible if you avoid busy resorts and are fine to keep to yourself.
Hopefully no one has to think of socially distancing for much longer and there is a vaccination developed soon enough (fingers crossed), but even if it takes a year or more to get one, I don’t think you will be able to stop everyone from taking vacations. I think people will adjust and vacation differently, avoiding busy places, not going on tours or being in high traffic tourist areas. I think, like the way I did, people will slow down, and enjoy paradise (wherever that is for the person) among their own family or group in a more quiet way. Nonetheless I am hoping virtual hugs will soon be a thing of the past and that we all get through this awful virus together.