Hurdles Of Pandemic Travel

Hello! I know I have been quiet this past week. Let me explain: We are in New York, in the Catskills, at our house here, and have just completed a “mini-quarantine” under New York anti-Covid guidelines for arriving travelers.

We flew here on November 13. My father in Pennsylvania has been (non-Covid) ill – the reason we are here. (My wife is a naturalized U.S. citizen. We also have work here in the U.S. Our circumstances allowed us to fly here under England’s lockdown.)

[Heathrow, Terminal 5, November 13, 2020. Photo by me.]

Heathrow? I had never seen it like that. While there were some busy spots, mostly it was very quiet.

[Heathrow, Terminal 5, November 13, 2020. Photo by me.]

The flight was the oddest I have ever been on. The British Airways Boeing 777 had no more than 40 passengers aboard. We had cashed in some Avios (BA) miles to – more socially distant safely, we thought – fly business class.

[Photo by me, mid-Atlantic, November 13, 2020.]

Ironically we could probably have come over economy. But one never knows. It could have been busy and we would not have discovered that until we had boarded.

On November 11, as required by New York State if we were to avoid a 14 day quarantine in NY after landing, we had Covid-19 tests in the UK. Fortunately they were NEGATIVE. So that first travel hurdle was cleared. (And had they been positive, we could not have traveled anyway.)

Shortly after arrival in New York we each had to have a second Covid test, and if they were also negative we would have “tested out” of needing to observe the two week “quarantine” requirement for travelers who arrive here and did not have a Covid test pre-departure and then post-arrival. We got the results late last night. We are “free”: they were NEGATIVE.

[Catskills dawn. Photo by me, New York, November 19, 2020.]

My father was released from the hospital late on Thursday and is now at home and he seems to be doing well. Even if we had not been “mini-quarantined” and could have driven down there, we could not have visited him in the hospital near his home anyway because no visitors were allowed. (My sister who lives with him could not even go in to see him.) The other day from his hospital bed he told me (by phone) that the hospital hallways were so empty – due to no visitors – it was eerie, and that all of the nurses, doctors, and other staff were all in masks and face visors all the time.

[Heathrow, Terminal 5, November 13, 2020. Me.]

We had not been here since September 2019. It still feels sort of surreal visiting New York. What a weird world we all inhabit currently, eh?


R. J. Nello View All →

Author: “Tomorrow The Grace,” “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains…and the 1700s.

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