"Wash Your Elbows" And Other Quirky Features of Travel's "New Normal"

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

Wearing masks on flights, keeping distance in hotel lobbies and sanitizing hands – all the time -- have become pretty commonplace life and travel habits nowadays.

But some travel companies have introduced rather bizarre health and safety protocols, all in the name of keeping their customers safe… or is it annoyed? Or are they just trying to save more money?

USAToday shared the story of David Leiter, a photographer based in Bali, who visited a beachside cafe and noticed a new pandemic rule: Wash your elbows before entering.

"I assume this was to avoid cross-contamination from people resting their elbows on the tables, of course, but I have to wonder how often anyone touches their elbows throughout the day? In any case, it was interesting and raised an eyebrow, at least," says Leiter.

Then there's UAE-bound traveller Steven Richardson, who was told his hand luggage can weigh no more than 11 pounds -- for health reasons. 

"I can't find any logic in that at all," he told USAToday.

To keep passengers safe, airlines have also cut onboard meal and drink service. But flier Jerry Tilley noticed that airlines cut their meals in economy class, while continuing to cater full meals in business class.

"How can a business class passenger be less of a risk than an economy class passenger? It was merely an excuse to cut service in economy class even further," he speculates.

And then there's the inconsistency of it all, especially when it comes to hotels. Some check your temperature at check-in, some don't. Some allow cleaning staff to service rooms, some don't. Some have thermal cameras at entrances, some don't.

Observers have come up with a new term: "hygiene theater" to describe showy gestures that have no scientific backing for their contributions to actual health and safety.  

But we guess it can't hurt to wash your elbows anyway. 

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.



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