My wife and I have been fortunate enough to spend the last three weeks on Maui, with four more days to go. Getting here is always arduous given the length of the flight, but the COVID-19 pandemic made this excursion a bit more challenging than it had been in the past.
Our airline didn’t require proof of vaccination or testing, but did mandate mask wearing throughout the flight. And with airports requiring masks for all visitors regardless of vaccination status, my wife and I had our faces covered almost nonstop for 14 hours. Not the most enjoyable experience, but there are worse fates during a global health crisis.
We were able to bypass the arrival restrictions, which are far more burdensome than those during transport.
The state of Hawaii requires visitors to quarantine for 10 days after arriving unless they provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result. I got my second Moderna shot back in April, and my wife has also been recently vaccinated after completing her obligation to the clinical study she’d been in. The week before our flight we uploaded our vaccination data to Hawaii’s online portal.
Before our connecting flight in Chicago, we checked in with a gate agent who reviewed our data and issued us temporary wristbands. I’m not sure what those wristbands did for us — we were waving our forearms at our destination to anyone who looked like an airline employee, none of whom seemed to take notice. We breezed through the airport without any further questioning or screening, and upon entering the car my wife’s parents used to pick us up, we finally took off and discarded our masks.
Our sons and nephew arrived a week later and weren’t issued wristbands despite having loaded their vaccination data to Hawaii’s Safe Travels site. They were asked some screening questions on arrival, then allowed to come in.
Briefly before his trip, one of our sons was exposed to two people who later tested positive for COVID. He followed the CDC’s guidelines on arrival and later tested negative. More evidence that being vaccinated and boosted pays off.
Mask wearing is mandatory regardless of vaccination status within indoor public spaces anywhere in Hawaii. Many businesses also require proof of vaccination before they’ll let you in the door; all who have so far have accepted a picture of a vaccination card displayed on a phone. In my estimation, these COVID precautions have been more than reasonable.
Many condos in the building where my family stays are owned by retirees. One couple we often see during our visits is a boorish pair who take a perverse enjoyment in broadcasting their political views to anyone within hearing distance. Doesn’t matter if people agree, disagree, or don’t give a fig about their beliefs, because for some odd reason they feel that being a pain in the ass is somehow beneficial to society.
We haven’t seen them on this trip, and the other day we heard they haven’t come out because they refuse to get vaccinated.
I’ve lost patience with those who make health decisions based on politics. I don’t wish them harm, but I do enjoy knowing they’re being inconvenienced. Coming to Hawaii is a gift, a blessing, and if prefer the medical advice of a cable news program over that of the overwhelming majority of doctors and infectious disease experts, then you deserve to stay home.
But I don’t want to end on a sour note.
Four more days in paradise, then it’s back to our mainland home. The flight back will be difficult, but the memory of our time here will get us through. We are very fortunate to have returned after a long absence, and hope we won’t have to wait another two years before coming back.