Mask on, Mask off, COVID is here to stay

Peyton Boyd   Aug 05, 2021

COVID Masks Mask Travel SCUBA Diving Safety Health

Realization, COVID is here to stay.  I am sure you are saying, "Well, duh!"  I guess I was clinging to the hope that it would fade away like Swine Flu, Bird Flu, or one of those other diseases that scared everyone but turned out to be more bark than bite.  I knew that COVID had a bite, we just lived through it.  But there was the hope it would be 'contained' and relegated to a standing no worse than the yearly flu.  That ain't happening; at least not this year or next.  So, we down here in Louisiana are back to mask protocols.  It is a pain but let's all do our part.  The mask on your face is not to protect you, it is to prevent you spreading anything in the happenstance you are infected.

Ok, so we can all deal with the mask thing as inconvenient as it is.  But my real concern lies in other areas.  Like travel.  Being a SCUBA diver first and foremost, I want to be able to freely travel to and fro and dive on reefs, wrecks and waters of the world.  From a business owner standpoint, I want to be able to lead divers on exciting trips safely.  That brings into play two moving and changing variables.  Can we travel to place X?  Can we do so with a reasonable expectation of being safe?  Getting to places is a hurdle that changes daily.  So, let's address that first.  To be a traveler now days, one must adopt a somewhat 'come what may' attitude.  Can we get to place X?  Yes, most likely.  Can we nail down a concrete itinerary with near 100% certainty?  Not so much.  There will be hurdles and COVID protocols to deal with making travel an even more stressful endeavor.  Chill and let’s just roll with it.  If you are reading this, then the travel we are discussing is most likely vacation related.  Get in the island spirit, have a cocktail, and let the vacation modus operandi start early.  It’s going to be complicated.  Let’s not make it more so by being uptight.  We’ll get there.  The reef is not going to pack up and leave because we arrived an hour or two late.

Moving on to safety.  This is more of a challenge.  I as a trip leader and sponsor feel a great degree of responsibility for making the trip safe for all that come along.  However, I don’t have a secret sword for COVID.  So, how do I ensure my people are protected from COVID?  I can’t.  And this has been an issue I’ve wrestled with for some time.  Everyone has a slightly different approach to being safe in this new COVID world.  I can’t run around and make sure everyone is washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, and wearing their mask.  More so, I don’t want to be that guy.  Deciding to go on a group trip, one makes a certain concession to the inherent risks associated.  COVID is no different.  It is a personal decision to travel during these funky times.  So, the responsibility rests with the consumer.  I’ll do all I can to make sure we have the necessities to pursue our trip safely but the decision to employ them rest with the individual.  Whew, that’s a relief.  Not really, but maybe, if I keep telling myself that, it will sink in.

One last thing.  I fully understand the misery that is wearing a mask and I, myself, am guilty of not always masking up when I should.  I promise to do better.  But I want everyone to understand this about wearing a mask.  The mask on your face is not there to protect you.  It is there to prevent you from spreading anything you may be carrying.  I know, I’ve already pointed this out.  But this is worth redundancy.  By choosing to not wear a mask, you are not just exposing yourself to risk.  By taking this approach, the non-mask wearers are failing to meet their responsibility to their neighbor.  In a pandemic environment, choosing to be reckless is not a singular choice.  You are making that choice for others you will encounter and those that they will encounter and so on.  It is inconvenient, yes.  But it is a moral obligation.  Wear your mask.  Wash your hands.  Use sanitizer.  Live responsibly.  These are communal decisions left in individual hands.  I still have faith in the innate morality in each of us.