Everyone has their own risk tolerance, just like everyone has their own preferences on how to raise their children or how to prioritize spending within a budget. With COVID-19 cases continuing to increase as we approach the holidays, my family and I are planning ahead to try to have the best of both worlds. We want to be as safe as we can while still traveling to Georgia to see family, including a newborn nephew! To that end, we’ve decided to “quarantine for real” again for the two weeks before we leave.
During the first several months of the pandemic, we left the house as little as possible. We’d do a large grocery trip out and then stay home for three weeks until we were well past finishing all the fresh food and close to out of the frozen stuff too. But as the months wore on, I’ll admit our quarantine fatigue grew and we were operating under a much less strict definition of quarantine. We went to the grocery store every week (masked of course), and felt less bad about a quick trip back for something we forgot or browsing at retailers. We made new friends at the playground, playing together outside most afternoons. We expanded our “bubble” and saw our best friends inside each other’s houses. We were lucky. None of this additional risk taking exposed our family or those around us.
But for the holidays, traveling to another state and expanding our bubble to family members we hadn’t seen in months who’d been seeing other people, we knew we had to do something different to feel comfortable with our travel decision. My sister’s imminent due date also put it over the top. For her and her new son’s sake, our whole family decided to “quarantine for real” for two weeks before we saw each other.
What does “quarantine for real” even mean anyway?
For us, quarantining meant doing a big grocery trip just before our two-week window started. And when our fresh produce ran out and Louise needed her bananas and berries for breakfast, we paid the premium to have Amazon Fresh deliver supplemental groceries a few days before we left. We still went outside and to the playground for fresh air, but we kept our distance, telling our new friends we’d be back to play more closely in January. We kept any scheduled doctor’s appointments, but delayed any exposure from contractors in our home. We, like so many others this year, did almost all of our Christmas shopping online. Luckily, we had shopped very early and only had one small gift’s delivery delayed past Christmas.
When we drove to Georgia, we stopped along the way, but the only buildings we went into were rest area restrooms, where we had masked and almost entirely touch-less experiences. Our cooler was fuller than previous road trips because we packed our lunches and all of Louise’s food for not just the drive but also the first several days we’d be in town to ensure baby food wasn’t the reason we had to break our quarantine. Aside from Louise getting carsick 20 minutes from our destination, we felt great on arrival. We knew we’d taken as many steps as possible to reduce any possible exposure we’d bring to the party, while still getting to see and spend the holidays with family.