Vacationing during the pandemic
Well, if you have watched the news lately, you know that COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing here in Texas. In fact, San Antonio is in the top 10 COVID hot spots in the U.S. This is not the list you want to be on.
Originally, before this whole mess came about – way before 2020 started my parents, brother and I planned a June trip to New Orleans. That went out the window when New Orleans was listed as a hot bed for COVID 19 cases in April. In May, as things were going well in San Antonio, we planned to replace the New Orleans trip with one to South Padre Island so the kids could enjoy the beach, which had recently opened.
We had no clue when we booked the trip what restaurants would be open. All we knew is that after weeks of staying at home we wanted to get out of the house. We left for the beach on the last Thursday in June.
We stayed at the Beach Resort at South Padre. It use to be Schlitterbahn Resort, which I had stayed at before. We opted for a beach-view room. This of course meant our rooms were as far from the lobby as possible. We checked in, learning that because of their COVID-19 rules there would be no daily cleaning of the room. That is fine as we would only be there for 3 days and aren’t that messy. If you needed new towels or trash picked up, you were supposed to just place them in the hall and housekeeping would removed the items and replace the towels. Well, yeah…that towel thing didn’t work out. Nothing dries in that humid environment. So the first day I put out the hand towels but no replacements came. Then on Friday we took a shower after the beach and were officially out of towels. Again, I stuck our towels out but no replacements came. No problem. On Saturday I just picked some up from the front desk. A small hassle but one we wouldn’t have had to deal with if this trip was last summer.
The rules for the beach were that it was recommended you wear a mask when out of the water and that you maintain the 6 foot separation. If you were putting up a canopy, it should be 10 feet from the next canopy. The first two days (a Thursday and Friday) the crowds were pretty low. As expected, Saturday was more crowded but even then everyone did a pretty good job of avoiding each other. I felt perfectly safe on the beach or even waiting in line for the outdoor shower. And I would say 90% of the people (including our group) didn’t wear a mask to or on the beach.
We ate at 5 different sit down restaurants. Masks were required as you walked to your table (or the bathroom) but were removed the whole time we were sitting at the table. Only one of them had paper menus which I know were required back when they first re-opened restaurants.
Now most of the fast food places had closed dining rooms. We did eat in at Pizza Hut but they only had 4-5 tables open. You ordered at the front and then they would bring you drinks and pizza to an empty table near ours and leave the items there. Odd but it worked out okay. We also picked up KFC and brought it back to an empty reception area at the top of the hotel. The picture of the beach and the one of my son were taken up there.
Most stores were open with masks required. And of course we bought stuff – new boogie boards, souvenirs and snacks.
Overall, the trip was fun and relaxing.
And then we came back to San Antonio where the positive tests for COVID-19 were rising rapidly. Within a few days the governor had started scaling back places that had recently opened. As the holiday weekend approached, they stressed staying at home. All I can say is I am glad we got our trip in when we did.