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Readers may recall the jarring images of maskless political elites such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney attending last year’s Met Gala as The Help stood by dutifully breathing up against pieces of fabric.
Some in the cruise and cruise-commentary world, far from seeking an escape from the reinforcement of such class divisions, find comfort in embracing them. Cynical as I am, I was surprised to learn that a cruise line would require a fully-vaccinated crew member to don a mask while working alone on the open decks of a ship even as passengers a few feet away enjoy the ineffable feeling of their lungs filling with fresh ocean air.
But such, it seems is the case.
This policy, like the aggressive sanitizing of every horizontal surface, has less to do with science than signaling to the scientifically illiterate that you’re unlikely to get cooties from their widget. The virus, after all, does not distinguish between passengers and crew members. (Both of whom, in any event, are required to be fully vaccinated.)
Far from finding such measures off-putting, some passengers and cruise critics actually take comfort in them in the way only those untutored in the basics of risk assessment can. Ignorance of how respiratory viruses spread is prevalent among this class. Iliana Schattauer of Life Well Cruised, for example, says of her recent experience “I did take a lot of comfort in the fact that everybody is vaccinated on the cruise,” as if other people’s vaccination status has any impact on her own health. As for requiring the small crew of Filipinos who clean the deck in the open air to wear masks even as hundreds of passengers gather maskless inside the dining room below, Schattauer’s take is essentially “Let them wear masks.” (See her entire video here.)
Those considering a cruise have noticed these counterproductive and illiberal policies. Many are now avoiding a cruise not out of concern for catching Covid but out of a desire to avoid the plight of this couple from Denver who were forced to spend key parts of their cruise holiday quarantining in their cabin despite being Covid-negative.
None of the policies described above are imposed by the CDC, Anthony Fauci, or New York governor Kathy Hochul. Instead, they are pursued by a private sector seeking a greater market share of aggressively ignorant and risk-averse consumers who, in turn, are less concerned with returning to normal than ensuring that the right people are covering their faces.Published in