Runcarla, I purchased N95’s from Project N95, which was originally set up to sell to healthcare workers when N95’s were in short supply. Fit testing is done at my annual health assessment for my hospital privileges, at the health staff health clinic. Guessing at N95 fit can be tough, because there are so many styles…duckbill, cup, folding, etc. For work, I ended up purchasing an envo mask, which has an elastomeric seal and re-usable/replaceable filters. I use a surgical mask over the top and switch it between patients. I also purchased the valveless frame. N95’s are pricey, so if they are required for your sons work, I would hope they provide them and also do the fit testing. The envo mask is also pricey, but in the end, costs me about the same as the N95’s and creates less waste. For travel on an airplane, I would wear my Envo mask plus a surgical mask.

DH and I have been taking small trips and we have gone to some museums in cities within driving distance. Appointments were needed as were masks, but once inside, the museums were quiet, and very pleasant. We postponed a planned trip to Portland Oregon because DD told us the heat plus air quality from forest fires would result in more need for indoor activities at a time when their COVID rates were rising and hospital beds almost full.

The way you guys are talking about N-95s almost sounds like a different thing than here. We get these by the box

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My understanding is that N95’s are intended for health care workers and not commonly available over the counter. KN95’s aren’t the same thing, though they look similar. Below is the CDC info on masks.

I’m sure folks are trying to access and use the best face coverings they have access to.

@ staysfit - yes, DS had his annual fit tests and masks provided by work.

Thanks to everyone who has posted a travel story. I’m seeing that advance planning for activities like museums, etc is wise, and being flexible with plans even more so.

So they *are* different things! Thanks for posting that, Runcarla. The abbreviation commonly used here is FFP2, which supposedly is another term for KN-95. It might be close enough for day to day, but I appreciate you pointing out the differences. This is how they parse the different mask types over here (site has English pages, but I can’t find this doc on them; most phones can quickly translate a website. On Safari on an iphone, you click to the left of the url field at the top of the screen, and then on the “AA” to select translations. Idk how it works elsewhere, but assume it being a competitive market means they all must have it)

ETA reading through this, they refer to KN-95/N-95 and FFP2 standards jointly. Makes me think they aren’t considered different things here.

Australians are not, by and large, allowed to leave Australia, and at the moment my state, which is Covid free (in the community) isn't allowing travellers in from most of the rest of the country. It's hard to get in even if you are a returning resident.

I have travelled within my state, though just by bus, and apart from a lot more hand sanitizer, and the requirement to check in at shops etc, things are largely the same as before.

Interesting thread Carla!

What an interesting thread. NZers here are starting to chafe at our restrictions when to their perception the world is opening up. I don't think they realise how hard it still is to move around, let alone have the wonder of travel.

I'm late to this thread but I will chime in: We flew from Burbank Airport to Seattle Iceland in early July (first flight in two years) and it was pretty normal. Iceland is, of course, an island and has high vaccination rates and low infection rates, and all visitors were required to be vaccinated. So it seemed quite normal -- no masks or social distancing to speak of. (I understand that may have changed recently as infection rates have increased due to Delta.) Iceland was amazing, BTW -- HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Later in July we flew to Oregon and again, pretty normal. I will say Los Angeles International Airport seemed MUCH MUCH less crowded than usual. Car rental prices in Oregon were shockingly high but fortunately we were able to get a good deal through a connection of a friend of a friend. Once there we had a bit of a challenge getting into restaurants (with a group of friends ranging from 4 to 10 people) because apparently they were short staffed, but nothing major.

Last year we booked a trip to Croatia for next month, but with the rise in Delta and the general uncertainty, we canceled it last month and I feel like that was the right move. We have three trips planned for next year, the first a barge trip from Bruges to Amsterdam in May, and hopefully they will happen as planned.

Wow all this sounds like last year in the US. Where I am the cases are quite low, and about half the people wear masks. I stopped for about a month or 2 but restarted. I've worked a couple big outdoor festivals, but not planning more now.
When I drove to dads in FL in Feb, I didn't go in anywhere I didn't have to. I wasn't about to get on a plane! Masks with 2 filters in, and I changed gloves at each bathroom break. I wasn't around anyone but dad and his doctors/home health. But that was before I got my vaccine.

we flew from ohio to FLA in late June. all masked up at airport and on plane.
FLA was a different story. no masks at all!!! anywhere!

also had orientation at an ohio college mid-tune - hotel there were some masks - not many - at orientation - same thing - hardly any masks at all.

move in to college this past weekend - said masks mandated - but saw less than 10% parents/kids with masks. we did stay in a Hampton Inn and they were asking guests to put on a mask (we had ours on).

We travelled to see my parents in Croatia first time since January 2020. It is 6 hour car drive. We travelled through Hungary and only thing that was different in Hungary was that all rest stops, petrol stations and restaurants along the highway were marked for transit and for non-transit, so we could only use those marked for transit. On border crossing to Croatia we had to show vaccination or test certificate to be able to enter, but once in Croatia, I haven't seen almost any restrictions. I only saw masks worn inside the stores, often tucked under the chin, or nose sticking out. Croatia does not have a very high vaccination rate, only about 40%. Lot of antivaxxers, unfortunately many of my high school friends and some family members are in that camp and I did not have energy or inclination to meet with them while there.

My parents health deteriorated a lot over the last 18 months and now they depend on a lot of people that they see on daily basis - nurse, physical therapist, cleaning lady, driver, gardener, food delivery guys, neighbors... I was upset to see that non of them wear a mask when in contact with my fragile parents. I tried objecting but got answers along the line that my parents are vaccinated or that they are vaccinated. There were only handful of active cases in the region at the time so I felt like crazy person insisting on masks, while everyone else was behaving like everything is back to normal. On the way home there were again checks of vaccination or test status on border crossing to Austria even though there are no borders within EU. At the moment I don't have any plans for travelling, school has started today and I am back in the office.

anchie The inconsistency you describe drives me crazy. And it’s just so wrong that caregivers to the medically fragile are not required to be vaccinated or wear masks. We have the same problem here in the U.S., although I am hopeful more mandates will change that.

Yes indeed at more mandates and harsher lockdowns. They are coming for sure.
I am happy I traveled the world in my younger days. I traveled far more than my ancestors combined, I believe.

I have read the difference between N95 and KN95 is the governing body (USA/China). And that the difference between N95 industrial and medical is testing for fluids protection.

Yes agreed Synne although I hope to travel again internationally in the future, especially in retirement, I’m also grateful that I travelled as much as I did as a young person and am ok with staying put for the foreseeable future. I do have more idle interest in Canadian road trips than I have in the past, maybe next summer we’ll go to Quebec or even the East Coast. It does certainly help that we have our cottage property in an area that always offers more to discover in terms of new-to-us hiking trails etc, plus new experiences of familiar places (such as a boat tour we did that explored the national park from the shore). This is definitely a much appreciated privilege right now.

If anyone somewhat local is interested the Netflix show ‘Motel Makeover’, featuring the hipsterfication of an old Knights Inn in our cottage’s nearby beach town is now streaming. So far it’s light verging on boring

We just got back from a birding trip to SE Arizona. We had a group of eight people, including our guide, all vaccinated. At our B&B, they were vaccinated/had recovered from Covid. Not ideal. Anyway, the eight of us became a pod and wore masks if we entered a business, such as to use a restroom, or get ice cream. Otherwise, we didn’t, and spent long days hopping in and out of a van and hiking. For our plane rides, my husband and I wore our KN95 masks.