I sent my proof of vaccine to Puerto Rico before entering. Without my QR code, they would not have allowed me to leave the airport.

At nearly every restaurant or indoor store, I’m asked to present proof of vaccination. Hand sanitizer is still common and requested upon entry places.

Masking compliance is universal among those who live on the island, even outdoors (at least in tourist areas in San Juan).

I’ve spent this trip comfortably dining indoors and out, in and out of boutiques and galleries, and by the pool and the beach. 1

None of these measures feel meaningful restrictive. All of these things fade into the background. Were they all necessary for safety? Maybe— masking outdoors seems like the least meaningful of these measures.

Really this whole experience reminds me that all of the fabricated outrage over simple public health measures has created far more inconvenience and disruption than the measures themselves. Fear of the anti-vax, anti-mask crowd showing up and getting rude and violent with retail and food services workers has halted any attempt to protect public safety in favor of self-imposed restrictions that are far more severe.

I can’t help but believe that it is not the COVID cautious who have changed normalcy, but the COVID denialists who have led us to an extended pandemic, with no public health interventions being acceptable.

I haven’t been restricted from doing anything at all in months… maybe more than a year? But I have also been to places with very different COVID responses and know how much safer some places feel. And guess what? When I feel safer, I do more.

  1. While I wasn’t working, at least. Most of my time was at a conference, whose organizers nailed the hotel, location, and agenda. We’ve been outdoors a bunch, with some nice blocks of a few hours here and there to enjoy our surroundings. ↩︎