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Rules for Discussing the Pandemic

The era for using this forum to discuss, debate, or comment on any non-travel-related aspect of the pandemic is over. Any comment remotely relating to the pandemic should be 100% focused on providing -- or asking for -- travel advice. ABSOLUTELY NO SIDE COMMENTARY ABOUT ANY ASPECT OF THE PANDEMIC as it inherently leads to further commentary and debate. Responding to off-topic pandemic-related replies is itself a violation. If your post could lead others to discuss something relating to the pandemic instead of the original topic, STOP.

- Use the "COVID-19 and Travel" forum section for new topics that aren't specific to a destination. Keep it focused on travel.
- Ask and answer questions about local safety protocols, mask and vaccine requirements, openings and closures, etc.

- Question or negatively comment on safety protocols (mask, vaccine requirements, etc). Simply follow them. Period.
- Discuss vaccines outside of noting requirements for travel.
- Refer to any aspect of the pandemic that has been politicized.
- Share unsolicited non-travel pandemic news.

This list of DOs and DON'Ts may be updated over time.

Posted by
890 posts

Please use the comments below ONLY for questions about what we will or will not allow. However, please re-read what I've said above and in this post before asking. If you have other concerns, contact me privately or expect your post to be deleted.

Your guiding light: Everyone should be able to ask any question that relates to a trip they are planning. Those people are entitled to a set of replies that work toward answering their question. Do not stray off topic. Guideline #1, folks.

If your post is laser focused on travel, it's probably fine. If you have to explain how your post might be helpful -- and it relates to the pandemic -- think hard if your post is necessary. Your comments below are going to be one of the few instances where it's better to ask permission than forgiveness. I will quickly start throwing people out of the forum who can't treat this as a place to focus on travel advice.

Posted by
386 posts

I admit to being confused about this change as well as the previous policies.

I'm a microbiologist, I work in a major COVID-19 testing lab in a teaching hospital. Part of my job includes monitoring and submission of data about Covid-19 to central authorities on a daily basis.

Let me give a specific example - Somebody posts to say they are planning a week in Manchester in July - I am aware of the figures in the UK, and can say that currently the numbers in the UK are low, BUT there has been spike in infections related to the Indian Variant in the North West of England - and this might , if it continues, cause a reintroduction of a local lockdown.

Would this be permitted - it is speculation, but it is educated speculation. (I could equally add, that based on research published this week it appears that the Pfizer vaccine has very good efficacy against this variant - would that be a breach of the new rules)?

Posted by
503 posts

Thank you for all of the clarifications. Just an FYI - as a traveler, I did find all the comments re: Covid very helpful regarding my questions on travel - although I understand why setting very strict rules regarding them was necessary. I had been considering a Rick Steves tour - but thanks to all the comments realized they aren't for me and for that, I am quite grateful - so I guess a bit of a silver lining.

Posted by
890 posts

So sorry I didn't respond to TimW right away as his reply came just as we were launching our 2022 tours, and I think many of you know about the unprecedented customer response to that.

"...there has been spike in infections related to the Indian Variant in the North West of England - and this might , if it continues, cause a reintroduction of a local lockdown." As long as you are looping it back to travel -- in that the point is that there is some concern that a lockdown could happen in the future and would affect travel to this location -- then this is information that we (all travelers) would want to know. This is making what you're sharing about travel.

However, I do have concerns that bringing up such a topic will lead others to only talk about or debate the variant... which would be off topic. If we're unable to prevent others from doing so, we reserve the right to remove your post even though you personally didn't violate the guidelines.

"it appears that the Pfizer vaccine has very good efficacy against this variant - would that be a breach of the new rules" Yes. It doesn't tie back to travel and is purely just discussing the pandemic. On the other hand if you said (and I'm making this up!!! the following is not true!!!) "the Pfizer vaccine which everyone has in London has very good efficacy against the variant so I don't expect a lockdown in London... thus people should be OK planning travel there", then that would be OK because it ties back to travel. I hope the nuance I'm highlighting here is clear. Thanks for keeping our forum about travel!

Posted by
890 posts

"I did find all the comments re: Covid very helpful regarding my questions on travel" It sounds like this discussions tied back to travel, so that's all good!

Posted by
8951 posts

Andrew and team — a question/suggestion.

I know on the France board, we have often been getting the question about where folks can get a
Covid test (prior to their return to the United States, or for going onward to another European country that is requiring it).

I was wondering if you thought it would be worth it to make one of those threads a sticky in the Forums where that is happening the most often (or in general Europe, or in Covid-19 travel).

To be honest, I don't know how many people actually pay attention to the stickies, but maybe it would guide at least a few people toward existing answers?

Thanks for your consideration.


Posted by
890 posts

I sincerely understand the request here. I've made other pertinent travel info into stickies before, but such info was typically "evergreen" and very unlikely to change. However, I think there's significant risk in making this specific info sticky. By making it sticky, RSE is showing with a heightened level of authority on the subject that this content is up to date and relevant -- when it will inherently become out of date. We'd be setting ourselves up to provide information that would eventually negatively affect travelers' trips.

We've grappled with how to minimize giving repeated advice in the past. We've done things like urging use of Search before posting, or adding stickies, etc, and it never fully solves the problem. I apologize for not doing more here, but I think our forum is serving it's purpose in being able to provide a Q&A format in a changing environment despite some repetition of advice.

Posted by
227 posts

Dear Webmaster,
I was not sure where to send or post this. I have no desire to start an argument but I also feel that we alll should do something to alert people about Covid health misinformation. I read and enjoyed a lively trip report on Greece ("Fabulous trip to Greece"). The OP later adds, in response to a comment, "As for what do the vitamins have to do with anything, look up the worldwide Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance to find out the relevance of vitamins and Covid prevention/spread. Don't be so quick to judge us as irresponsible tourists." I have no objection to anyone taking vitamins but from what I could see the group Front Line Covid 19 Critical Care" is one that is actively promoting Ivermectin for Covid and the scientific research they claim has been rejected by peer-review medical journals. I was tempted to say something in response but don't know if doing so is within the Community Guidelines. As you probably know, Ivermectin is a potentially harmful drug for animals that does not appropriate according to credible research. The OP was only promoting (slightly) the group and their views on vitamins.

I didn't just report the post in question because I needed more words to explain my concern.

I am assuming you will delete this if it is not appropriate but I hope you can add some guidance.

Thank you for your work.

{Webmaster's edit (because the thread is now locked): The post cited would be removed for either of two reasons. One is that it does not tie in to travel and is purely talking about an aspect of the pandemic. The other is that we will remove posts that -- if followed -- can negatively affect one's health. Essentially, any opinions about health, treatments, or drugs can expect to be removed unless the takeaway is to consult with your doctor. This is not a health forum.}