When George and I traveled to Ireland last September, like all international travelers we had to jump through a bunch of Covid-related hoops. We couldn’t check in for our flights until we showed proof of vaccination. We couldn’t return to the States until we took video-monitored tests in our hotel room to verify our negative status. And during our time in Ireland, we often had to show our vaccination cards to get into restaurants. The country was eerily devoid of tourists. And of course, wearing a mask in public was expected in the same way that, well, that wearing clothes in public is expected. (For some people, masks became a new kind of fashion statement.)
So far, our journey to England is starting off very differently. No Covid cards needed. No test kits either. And no masks required anywhere along the way. Not even on the planes! After putting up with Covid for more than two years, not wearing a mask in public now feels slightly foreign to me – sort of like walking out of the house naked. (Now there’s a fashion statement.)
So it’s not unreasonable to ask, are we back to normal yet? I mean, I know Covid is here to stay. But it doesn’t seem quite as nefarious as it once did. And in many parts of the world, people now get to choose which Covid protocols they incorporate into their lives (or not). So I can’t help but wonder if a time will come again when wearing masks simply isn’t a thing anymore. Maybe not. Maybe we’ve already arrived at whatever the “new normal” is supposed to be. And maybe, in a way, that’s all for the best.