So far this year, we have had four trips cancelled because of the COVID 19 virus. We kept waiting and waiting for the virus to die down, but that was not in the cards. In fact, it was getting worse. Not only was the number of infections rising, but the rules from state to state kept changing, sometimes very quickly, as did airline policies and rental property policies.
The first trip we cancelled was to Cabo san Lucas where we going to stay at a pickleball resort, Tres Palapas, in Los Barriles. We had our airline tickets, car rental (not easy in Mexico) and rental place all set. As flying became more and more dangerous, we began to get worried about flying, so we cancelled all our reservations. We had not yet paid for the rental car, so that was not an issue. Although the owner of the rental place was under no obligation to do so, refunded our payment. That was very classy of him. Southwest, the airline we had planned on using, gave us until February, 2021 to use our refunded money. Then they changed that to September, 2021. I just looked and the new date is September, 2022.
Like I said, everything changes.
There is another aspect of travel to Baja California – locals may not want tourists in their towns. The city of Los Barilles closed its beaches in response to COVID, and residents of another town set up barricades, essentially telling tourist to go away. I’m not kidding. This is a picture from The Mazatlán Post.
So, imagine that you get to your destination and discover that (1) you are being kept out or (2) you can get in but you cannot use the beach in front of the property you rented.
The second trip that we had to cancel was to Tennessee for 5 days of whitewater kayaking on 5 different rivers. The situation in that state went from no restrictions to strict restrictions in less than a month. On April 4, Governor Bill Lee ordered Tennesseans to stay home amid growing concerns that residents were not heeding his earlier call to do their part to combat the spread of coronavirus. Prior to that, though, the organizers of the trip emailed everyone who was planning on going to ask if they were concerned about the virus. In the email, he reminded us that we would all be piling into a van to transport our equipment to and from the rivers. Social distancing would be impossible.
The organizers offered a full refund to anyone who wanted to opt out. We decided to take only half of our payment – it was not their fault that the trip had to be cancelled.
Our next trip was going to be to Arkansas for a few days of whitewater kayaking with the Arkansas Canoe Club. Hundreds of people gather for that trip, most of whom stay in a very, very crowded campground with pretty old bathrooms/portable toilets. That trip was cancelled by the organizers and full refunds given.
An upcoming trip is a pickleball trip in December to Montego Bay on American Airlines. Right now, American is only addressing cancellations that take place before September 30, so we are not sure what we are going to do with this trip. I think American is hoping that the virus situation will blow over before our trip takes place.
Making matters worse is this — Jamaica’s Prime Minister announced revised rules for entry into the island—namely, that all non-business travelers, ages 12 and up, coming from the states of Arizona, New York, Florida and Texas will be required to upload proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a laboratory that’s been accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) within ten days of their intended arrival in Jamaica.
After that you have to apply for a travel authorization even to make the trip. Given the situation with COVID, we are not sure what is going to happen with this trip.
A lot of uncertainty!
In any event, we did make one trip recently. More on that in my next blog.
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