time, space, people, place
As you know, I’m not an infectious disease physician or an epidemiologist, but I’m just a mom that has done her research and has made a decision around what works best for our family. My favorite articles/interviews have been with infectious disease physicians and epidemiologists where they are not afraid to give you their real opinion with a YES or NO or a LOW – MEDIUM – HIGH risk. One of my favorite articles, which was released at the end of May, is this one, HERE,
“From Camping To Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities”.
For 14 different activities, the experts give a low-medium-or high-risk outcome, including details around how to make it more or less safe. For example, they shared that staying at a hotel can actually be a lower risk than getting your hair cut! I’ve totally adapted to the phrase from this article, “time, space, people, place.” Dr. Miller stated, “The more time you spend and the closer in space you are to any infected people, the higher your risk. Interacting with more people raises your risk, and indoor places are riskier than outdoors.”
I think the decision around how to spend this summer/come out of quarantine is SUCH a personal one. I also don’t think there is a clear right and wrong way of doing things right now (as long as your sticking to the guidelines), which actually makes some decisions even harder. For us, we feel like we are taking the necessary precautions in our day to day life, including how we travel. We are comfortable with our decision to go on vacation, but if your COVID anxiety is going to be soaring the entire time you are away, it’s probably not worth the trip. Here is my take on camp, playdates, get-togethers, dinning, travel, and accommodations.
We decided not to do camp with the boys this summer, which I’m actually still torn over. The reason I’m torn is that the boys’ socialization is at the top of my list in importance right now. The last few months have been so isolating for all of us, and our mental health is a significant priority, including theirs. I’m torn because if schools end of being canceled this fall, I will regret not getting all that socialization during camp into their system. Numbers are looking great in our town, and the camps are outdoors, which were two critical things for me. I just wasn’t 100 percent sure about the choice, so we decided to skip camp this year.
playdates + get-togethers
For us, the main concern here is, are the families we are around taking similar precautions as we are. Again mental health is so important, and that means seeing people, both for adult and kid time. A few weeks ago, I tried to have a “social distance” playdate with a friend that was social distancing similarly to how we were, and I immediately realized it’s not going to happen with kids. At the toddler age, my mindset is your either comfortable with your kids playing together or maybe it’s best to wait. Once I quickly realized this, it was refreshing to see the kids playing with their friends, like the kids they are supposed to be. We only have two families the kids have been around in addition to their cousins. We are starting small, but it has been a major breath of fresh air. We think it’s just as important where you play as it is which families you choose to be around. We are trying to keep all playdates outdoors! Adult dates as well. We know it’s not only safer to socialize outdoors, but it’s also so nice to start taking advantage of this weather before winter hits.
One thing Ray and I LOVE is dinning out and supporting local businesses. As the state opens up indoor dinning at restaurants, we will still opt for outdoor seating. We had a date night at Gray Barns on Saturday, and it was glorious. We immediately recognized that we need to prioritize businesses that have tight protocols / are taking COVID seriously. We noticed so many small things, like even having to turn over our water glass to have the waiter fill it up and paperless checkout. We felt completely comfortable dinning out at Gray Barns and are excited to continue to dine out at places we know are cleaning, masking, and following all protocols. As you will see throughout this post, being outdoors vs. indoors with others is important to us.
Traveling with kids is very different for us than traveling alone. Flying is just something we are not comfortable with, especially with our kids. Ford puts his hands in his mouth, non-stop. Being indoors with others for more than a short period is something we are trying to avoid, which includes flying. Even though airplanes have excellent air filtration systems, we ultimately know we have less control over the situation while flying. There are so many factors you can not control; how full the flight will be, is someone sneezing around us, will we be stuck on the runway etc. We also have nothing too urgent to fly to and knew we could have a great vacation somewhere close by, so we decided to drive/go on a ferry over flying. We are traveling to Martha’s Vineyard / Nantucket at the end of June. To get there, we will drive and then either take our car on the ferry or take the ferry (there’s an area you can sit where you are still outdoors). We feel comfortable with these ways of transportation. Just to note, there is no right or wrong answer here. No one knows for sure if driving is safer than air travel. Ultimately the reason we are not going with air travel is that we have way less control over the situation. Click, HERE for an article about flying.
I know many of you are going back and forth between rental homes and hotels, and I actually don’t think it’s that simple. I don’t have an answer backed by data, but my gut says it’s more important what the overall situation is and what the cleaning protocol between guests is at both places.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself…..
Does your hotel room have a kitchenette? (you can always eat in)
What is the COVID protocol at the hotel?
Do they have cottages with private entrances?
Can you opt-out of daily hotel room services (less chance for exposure)?
Is there a stairwell or room on the first floor so you can skip the elevator?
How crowded does the beach near the hotel get? ( Something important for me was if the hotel has a private beach and we can stay there vs. rental and going to a crowded beach it might be worth it)
How big is the hotel (How long does it take you to get to your room)?
What is the dining situation?
FOR RENTALS, the biggest thing for me would be how well they are cleaning between guests and are they using approved disinfectants. Remember, at both hotel rooms and rentals; you can go in yourself with a mask and alcohol wipes to clean before you bring the in the fam. You can also ask rentals to remove toys, books, or any accessories from the rental before your arrival. If you really want to be as safe as possible, try to request rooms unoccupied for several days.
OUR summer plans
We usually spend almost every weekend out East and then one full week away each summer. Ray grew up at the beach so the Hamptons has been our happy place as a couple and now as a family for the last nine years. Unfortunately because of COVID it’s not possible to spend time at Ray’s family home.
We’e been trying to come up with some weekend trips we could take as a family (stay tuned) Our full week summer vacation is not until August, and that’s still up in the air. If you have any recommendations for something in driving distance please share on the instagram post! In two week we are taking a much needed little vacation. We are going away for five nights (Ray for three) at the end of June/beginning of July. I have my own plans Ray doesn’t know about to try and extend when we get there 🙂 For that trip, we are staying in two hotels, both owned by the same brand; both have the same protocols, which I trust. Both villas have kitchens, have outdoor areas, and are under strict cleaning protocols. We have never been to Martha’s Vineyard so I’m really excited. We have a bunch of fun things planned while we are there. In Martha’s Vineyard we are staying at The Winnetu and in Nantucket were staying at The Nantucket Hotel. We rented a house in Nantucket two summers ago while I was pregnant with Ford. It was at the beginning of the first trimester so I slept…a lot.
Other trips we are thinking about is a weekend camping in Maine or a trip to NH possibly on a lake.
This summer is going to look very different but we are exited to be making new memories in new places.
Remember this is super personal for all of us and we are all trying to do our best.
Data is changing by the day. These are the decisions we’ve made as a family as of 6/16. Tomorrow is a new day.