Feast and Famine

After a busy and confusing blog last week, documenting the all you can eat buffet of news and announcements about international travel, this week has seen us stricken with a famine of facts. Having hyped ourselves up to think we may get to go away in June, for whatever kind of trip that may be, now we seem to be in a vacuum of updates, without even a firm timeline for when we may know more.

The death of Price Phillip probably hasn’t helped as the country has been consigned to a six month mourning period it seems and nothing can happen until that is over.

So what are we waiting for now?

  1. The US to be added to the green list for UK travellers. The timeline here is “early May”.
  2. The US to confirm they will accept UK travellers. No timeline here, only rumours. I’d hope it coincides with the UK’s publishing of the green list of course.
  3. Confirmation and clarity on what type of tests will be needed to travel.

We only need the first two in order to know if we can go or not, but the third would be nice. Much is said on the news and by politicians about whether or not folks could and should book a summer holiday this year, but the many people like us who have had a trip booked since 2019 that still hasn’t happened, despite shifting it multiple times, seem to be ignored. Our money is spent (to some extent) and sunk into a trip that never seems to happen. It’s hard to cancel and often costly and any rebooking after that sees prices sky rocket compared to what we booked at. It’s a shitty situation.

As time pushes on, balances become due, employers need to know if we’re going and generally the whole pandemic is becoming an inconvenience to my ability to undertake a holiday. If that isn’t the real cost of this virus I don’t know what is! I joke of course, but for the likes of us, it has been an 18 month exercise in planning and logistics, just trying to lose as little money as possible in the whole debacle.

Due to the lack of clarity and a timeline my confidence of going in June has dipped a little from last week, but I suspect nothing has fundamentally changed it is just phycological. We are fast approaching critical timelines though. By the middle of May our balances for the Hard Rock Hotel, villa, car hire and our stay at the Beach Club will all have been due and it is fairly likely we still won’t know for sure if we can go.

If us travellers are feeling like this imagine the boardrooms of airlines and other travel related companies right now. How will they cope with another summer of lost revenues?

Speaking of which, one confusing and surprising piece of news came out of Virgin yesterday.

As I saw on the Brit’s Guide to Florida Facebook group, oddly, Virgin have chosen to push back the resumption date of flights to MCO to the 1st of June from Manchester and Heathrow. With travel possibly being allowed again from May 17th that seems an odd move, unless of course they know something the rest of us don’t? I can’t imagine these huge companies with thousands of staff on furlough won’t be in regular contact with the government, but I am as ever just guessing.

What this means for us I don’t know. That new date is still two weeks before we are due to go, but it may just be now that Virgin are moving their dates back by smaller margins now as we hopefully start to approach some form of normality.

Should we get to go, and mask policy becomes something we need to be aware of, there were further murmurings of relaxation in Florida “towards the summer”. I guess at some point, the vaccine has to be trusted to do its work and maybe a move towards masks being optional outdoors or something similar could happen. I don’t know but the Mayor of Orange County, interviewed again this week, was suggesting a phased approach over the coming months. It will all depend on the stats of course and I guess we have to assume that it will be what it is now and anything better will be a bonus.

I’m at a point of being fine with going or not, but I just need to know one way or another. It is impossible to plan life, never mind the holiday, with all this up in the air with around 60 days to departure.

On that note, tomorrow we can book ADRs for our first day at Disney. My plans there too lie in ruins as the first one on my plan was O’hana which, as yet, is not open. It’s the ultimate first world problem I know, but I live in a first world country and I have problems!

I suspect it may be open by the time we are there but with all the pent up demand, for this and other eateries it could literally be like The Hunger Games trying to get reservations.

All we can do is hope that the data remains good, and the roadmap can be adhered to. I do worry what may happen after May 17th when indoor hospitality opens, based solely on the number of images I’ve seen of people shivering to death around a drink they have been able to have at home for a quarter of the price. With many of those who will want to go drinking not yet being eligible for a jab, case numbers will surely surge at that point? Perhaps it is then that herd immunity can be obtained, with the younger ones getting it and not dying and the ones who may be most severely affected having been jabbed. Alas, my O Level in Biology does not equip me with the required expertise to know.

In my own little coming out of lockdown, later today we are once again able to rehearse and so Mustard will reconvene this afternoon to see if we can still play things. With most of us being very old, we are jabbed up and to facilitate social distancing we have chosen a rehearsal space so large we may not be able to hear each other. Baby steps.

The road back to normality may well be as long as the one we’ve been on trying to get to WDW, but as a wise man once said…

“Stop papping on about your holiday you middle aged, middle class arse biscuit”. And I think we can all get on board with that sentiment.

Till the next time…..

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