On Friday, April 2, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people can travel internationally at low risk to themselves. Those who have received a series of vaccinations do not need a Covid-19 test prior to international travel, unless required by the destination country, and do not need to self-quarantine once back in the United States.
While you still need a negative Covid-19 test before boarding a flight back to the U.S., and a follow-up test three to five days after your return, this new loosening of restrictions is making locals dream about their next vacation and what they plan to do in a post-pandemic, mostly vaccinated world. Here's what some had to say.
"The cheese community, although pretty vast, feels really small and super-connected, and while we have been able to see each other and virtually high-five through Zoom meetings and events, we absolutely miss the engagement and camaraderie we feel when we gather at our annual American Cheese Society conferences or at various cheese festivals across the country. I cannot wait to go to the Fancy Food Show in New York City in September, as well as The Cheesemonger Invitational in Brooklyn, where I will taste new cheeses and embrace my dear friends, fellow cheesemongers, the incredible distributors who make us look good and, of course, the cheesemakers themselves." —Artisan Cheese Company owner Louise Kennedy Converse.
"The thing I miss most is bringing the community together. Virtual programming is fun, but bringing LGBTQ+ artists from around the country to even right here from Sarasota for the Harvey Milk Festival is even better. Ringling Underground at The Ringling is also something I am passionate about, and I miss watching the community light up while dancing in the courtyard. Also, playing music myself or with my band MeteorEYES. And I have to say a trip away sounds nice. I see a log cabin in the mountains in my future with my beautiful partner, Grace." —Harvey Milk Festival founder Shannon Fortner.
"I look forward to meeting others in person. Nothing can ever replace human interaction and seeing people's smiles. I would also like to travel to Europe, Canada and Peru to hug my children, grandchildren and my siblings. And I won't spend so much time indoors in front of the computer." —UnidosNow executive director Luz Corcuera.
"Before the pandemic, my husband and I were planning to visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, and we had to cancel a scheduled trip to Yellowstone National Park to see American buffalo. As much as we have re-learned parts of American history over the last year, we look forward to immersing ourself in these places. I also miss the opportunity to hug people, see their faces up close and thank them for the difference they have made for being courageous and generous, positive and resilient. How nice it will be to exchange that energy once more!" —Manatee Community Foundation executive director Susie Bowie.
"The first thing I'll do is dinner parties. I'd like to visit with my family and friends knowing that we can enjoy our time together without the risk of someone falling ill. I'd like to focus on our conversations, the environment/setting and sharing a meal rather than Covid." —Ringling College of Art & Design director and chief curator of galleries and exhibitions Tim Jaeger.
"I want to go to my grandma's house in Ohio, cook her dinner, and stay with my sister when we go there, instead of in a hotel. I just want my family to be able to get together and enjoy each other again without worrying about anyone's health." —Jennifer Valentino, stay at home mother of three.
"We were planning a trip to San Francisco and Yosemite Park but decided to put that off for the foreseeable future to stay safe. I plan to hug my friends again. I also look forward to just being out and about and breathing freely without a mask." —Amy MacDougall, commercial real estate agent, Ian Black Real Estate
"My first thought is I want to hug my family and have a meal with them—like Passover, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and our wedding reception all rolled into one! I got married this year, and we had to change our plans and have the ceremony in our back yard, and our parents could only be there over Zoom. Artistically, I want to be able to be in rehearsal with a cast of actors unmasked, so that they can see my facial expressions and I can see theirs, and stage a scene with them where they can touch each other." —Asolo Rep associate artistic director Celine Rosenthal.