July was an unusual month, and it was almost as if the good times were rolling again. I took three flights within the calendar month, which would not have been unusual up to 2019. But the madness that has gripped the world since the emergence of a new, albeit relatively innocuous, virus from China in 2019 has grounded planes, closed airports, kept families apart and had people glued to computer screens for everything from online shopping to delivering keynotes at major international conference.
I had already taken a few flights this year to Slovenia and Italy which may be classified under different degrees of nightmare with Passenger Locator Forms, uploading Covid vaccination status or Covid test documents, having to wear masks for several hours on planes and then running the gauntlet of the mask police in various countries. Things have improved but vestiges of the Covid regime persist everywhere, either in relation to flying or within countries. The United Kingdom, apart from continued stupidity in hospitals over face masks, is an outlier with respect to Covid regulations along with Ireland, to which I have also flown.
July found me in Genoa, Lisbon and Nashville and each experience was different. Italy, with regard to flying, has seen the light and abandoned the necessity to prove Covid vaccination status, take a Covid test or—hallelujah—wear a face mask on planes, airports or in public buildings. But the traveller must be wary as masks are a requirement on public transport within Italy. My observation is that they are an absolute requirement on buses: no mask no ride. Taxi drivers wear them ubiquitously but never enforce wearing by passengers and on trains nobody seems to enforce them any longer as I went maskless between Turin and Genoa in both directions. However, masks remain very much in evidence as Italians love wearing them and students and staff nearly all continued to wear them at the university where I was teaching.
Read More: The Maddening Persistence of Covid Travel Restrictions and Mask Mandates
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