“July 4th travel will be back with a vengeance as Americans get back to living life,” says a CNN report. It predicted that lines at airports and the roads feeding airports will be jammed with cars this long holiday weekend. The AAA forecasted that close to 50 million Americans will hit the road between Thursday, July 1st, and Monday, July 5th. Where were people going?
They were heading for beaches and parks and first visits to family after the long COVID pandemic. Many will fly and be told to put on their face masks for the duration of the flight. Since these passengers have been unhappily wearing face masks for more than a year now and many of them have received 2 injections of the vaccine that makes them not susceptible to the virus, some will not comply easily. A couple of thousand people have been removed from flights over the last several months for non-compliance with the face mask order. My son-in-law is a pilot, and he tells me that flight attendants get into scuffles regularly with passengers over this. Those flying to visit family this holiday weekend or off for some relaxation somewhere tested the mask rule, and many of them were removed from flights. Some put the mask under their noses and rebelled when told to cover up.
Ruth and I have a trip planned for later in July but stayed at home during this long holiday weekend while having some repairs made to our property before heading out. Our local government, fearful of fires, put a complete ban on fireworks for the first time ever. People mostly complied with this. We did go to a concert on the 4th and had to wear masks during the entire performance because it was in Oregon. We also were asked to furnish proof of vaccination beforehand. No wonder airline passengers are protesting.
Many airlines say that they have no-fly lists for passengers who refuse to put on a face mask during flights. This seems a harsh punishment for not complying with an order to don a mask or not wearing it properly, but I sympathize with airlines who are just trying to keep people crowded together safe during a flight. After all, many of the airlines were close to bankruptcy during the COVID months and are just now returning to near profitability. They have a right and a duty to get the passengers to their destination safely.
It seems like making people carry documentation showing proof of vaccination is not the answer. We rebelled against an order to buy proof of vaccination before travel, and the honor system seems inadequate because it’s so easy and rather accepted to lie when asked about shots. So what is the answer to this dilemma?