Just my opinion…
With some hesitation, some scientific knowledge and a lot of weather-related motivation, we set out for a two-month stay in Florida. Our last such winter get-away happened two years ago, so we very much anticipated this vacation. We didn’t know what to expect; however, we felt that following Canadian protocols in the land with no protocols, only suggestions, would be the safest way for us.
Reality set in very quickly. We were aware that restrictions were loose or non-existent, and yet, when a newfound “freedom” challenged us, we thought twice about how that freedom would impact us.
There are no mandates in any part of the state to wear masks or distance in a crowd at any indoor venue. The rule of the thumb is that double-vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or out as they are protected from contracting the virus through the vaccine. The emphasis in Florida is all about personal accountability/responsibility for one’s health. Government makes no restrictions; instead, it encourages the public to make its risk assessment to its health if masks are required. However, getting the vaccine and the boosters are highly recommended at the end of every announcement.
We were wearing masks when we registered at the front desk, but no one else around us did. The agent openly and vocally reminded us that we are in a FREE America; therefore, we will not see many people wearing masks. Americans don’t like their government or scientists telling them how to conduct themselves even in a pandemic.
We were now introduced to a Florida that we had not experienced for two years. We resolved to wear masks indoors but limited our excursions for the necessities. The employees all wore masks in the grocery stores, but the shoppers were at 50/50%. It was intimidating at first because it is inevitable that many unvaccinated people are shopping around us. You don’t know who is next to you in the check-out line.
Restaurants are at total capacity, and masks are optional. A Restaurant, a Creperie, has a sign in the window that no one with a mask will be admitted. That was a new twist in these strange times and a bit frightening.
The vaccination rate for children from 5-11 is meagre and slow. For that reason, Disney highly recommends wearing masks on all rides and indoors, but not in the theme parks where the crowds are. However, each theme park controls the number of guests who enter; therefore, the more popular parks are sold out for days on end, but Americans give this a pass as it’s all about the children, and children are less likely to pass on the virus.
I overheard a discussion between a Canadian and an American couple questioning the newly arrived and masked Canadian guest to the resort. The American was genuinely surprised at our restrictive protocols. He suggested that we live in an oppressed country with such severe controls. But he had no answers when he talked about our universal primary health care, which the government pays for, the overrun ICU’s, the efficacy of the vaccines, or the unrelenting death toll of loved ones.
The ignorance, the self-absorption and the entitlement amazed me. How can Americans have such a different attitude towards something as universal as a pandemic and yet live on the same continent as Canadians with a very different perspective?
In concluding my opinion piece, the American emphasis is on personal accountability. There is little fear of the virus. The consensus seems to be that “we have to learn to live with this virus, so we might as well do that sooner than later.”
It looks like we are precisely going to do it!
Just my opinion.