No Vacation Photo Contest again this year
We know many people have already been taking vacations to warmer places this winter, especially after getting their COVID-19 vaccinations. Also, we know many families are going to travel for spring break, which starts this weekend for Saranac Lake and Lake Placid schools, with other local schools following close behind.
We have mixed feelings about all that travel in the middle of a pandemic, but we aren’t going to judge anyone. We are, however, going to cancel our Vacation Photo Contest for the second year in a row. Every year since the early 1990s, except for last year and this year, we have encouraged people to submit pictures of themselves on vacation, holding their trusty copy of the Enterprise. Our staff judges the winners, who get prizes, and we publish all the photos over the course of several weeks. It’s a ton of fun to see where everyone went, but this year we think it’s not such a good idea.
On one hand, some might see it as encouraging bad behavior. On the other, it might expose vacationers to anger and stigma from those who didn’t travel. Best to let it lie for another year.
Plus, the contests takes a bit of preparation on our end that we haven’t done.
The COVID vaccinations have proven to do a great job at preventing sickness and death from the virus, which makes many people want to do things they have put off for a year, such as travel.
But can vaccinated people still spread the virus, perhaps bringing it back to our Adirondack home from wherever they go on vacation? Of course, our area has been hosting tons of tourists all year long. Is that kind of travel something we at the Enterprise want to encourage?
Here’s what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website:
“Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
“We’re also still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people.
“For these reasons, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places, until we know more, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.”
The CDC says it’s OK for vaccinated people to gather indoors without masks with other vaccinated people, or with unvaccinated people from one other household, as long as none of them has an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Also, if vaccinated people come in contact with someone with COVID, they don’t need to get tested or quarantine unless they show symptoms.
However, the CDC says vaccinated people “should still delay domestic and international travel” because it increases your chances of spreading the coronavirus.
“If you MUST travel,” the CDC says, “take steps to protect yourself and others:
“¯ If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
“¯ Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
“¯ Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public.
“¯ Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you.
“¯ Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
“¯ Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.”
Again, tourists have been traveling to the Adirondacks for the past year — more than usual, even. We don’t know how much that has added to the local COVID case count. On the upside, it has helped many local businesses. We have mixed feelings about it.
We look forward to those feelings being unmixed by next year, and to welcoming all of you to share pictures of yourselves on vacation, holding your Enterprise.