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Best place to spend winter during a potential second wave of COVID?

Best place to spend winter during a potential second wave of COVID?

Old Oct 30, 20, 4:19 am
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
Thank you, that's very helpful! Regarding masks, are they actually worn by most people? I know they are not required but I would hate to make people uncomfortable if the social norm is to wear them.
There might be some venues, where the mask usage is actually mandated and you may not be allowed to enter if you refuse to wear a mask. Most sport leagues and concerts and similar entertainment events (assuming they are actually still taking place) want that the audience has masks. But in everyday environment, the adaptation of mask usage varies, many use and may give you a look if you don't wear one in eg. public transport, but otherhand there are some stubborn individuals who may also loathe masks and possibly (rarely) even taunt mask users. There might be clear regional variance: in larger population centres, people use masks if in the crowds more frequently, while in more rural areas it might be primarily healtcare and similar services where you encounter masks.
Originally Posted by the810 View Post
The alcohol curfew is a bit inconvenient, but with the very short nights up here in Nordics, I already switched to going to sleep early so I can leave the room imidiately after the sunrise and max out the sunshine.
There is also new legistation that comes in effect beginning of November, that somewhat relaxes the regulation in some areas and also differentiates establisments serving primarily food and those where the nightlife and drinking is the key business. See YLE news article for short introduction on the new regulations.
Also there is no unusual restrictions on buying your own bottles and drink those in private premises.
Originally Posted by the810 View Post
I'm thinking Lapland / Rovaniemi. I always wanted to visit, but there was never a good moment. With tourism being down this year, this could be the ideal time - relatively cheap and without hoards of annoying tourists I would mostly be in Helsinki (or other major cities) but a week or two in Lapland would be great.
The travel industry in Lapland certainly has been calling for action to save their business, which this time of year usually concentrates on foreign tourists, but who now either can't or don't want to come. So there should be vacant accomodation available, even in places like those glass iglus which allow you to observe aurora borealis from your bed.
Originally Posted by the810 View Post
I'm inclined to think that 7-day quarantine in Estonia is worth it if it gives me access to both Estonia and Finland (and possibly even Norway - I visited Troms few years ago during Christmas and I would love to experience it once again).
Of course, it is good to remember that these entry requirements may still be adjusted as the pandemic situation changes and in light of the recent developments I guess the direction will be into stricter criteria...
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Old Oct 30, 20, 4:31 am
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Thanks, that makes situation much more clear to me.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
Sweden has issued new recommendations for Stockholm, Vstra Gtaland and stergtland. They are along lines of what has been recommended in Uppsala and Skne, although I don't see public transportation listed this time (perhaps because they realize that avoiding it completely is impossible in large cities?).

I wonder what is the official position on restaurants as I never saw them listed in these recommendations. Is it because of physical distancing rules implemented in gastronomy? Is it ok to eat at a restaurant either solo or with someone from the same household?
Didn't take very long for my words to get publicly realized about Stockholm and Gothenburg following the course of Malmo/Skane.

The new rules for the Gothenburg area and for the Stockholm area mean they actually are now with more extensive rules in place than what was put is in place for Malmo/Skane in this month. But the 3 big cities and their regions are all now in pretty much the same kind of boat about what people should and should not be doing, with just some minor differences around the edge and those differences seemingly just being word games of sort upon closer examination.

Restaurants' rules in Sweden mainly still seem to be what they were 30 days ago. But the sort of indicated recommendation to individuals is now to minimize presence in indoor retail establishments.

FWIW, the new recommendations in Swedish regions do seem to have led to a drop in use of public transit, going to the offices/workplaces, going shopping/dining and so on. How big a drop? Well, if we say public transit use in Sweden dropped 40% year-over-year during its peak death period, we may be talking about an additional 5-15% drop from that already depressed traffic level. But this is now the school vacation week/time in parts of Sweden, and so it will take a few weeks before the school breaks aren't a factor.
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Last edited by GUWonder; Oct 30, 20 at 5:12 am
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Old Oct 30, 20, 5:10 am
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Well I am biased as it is my field of work - so just making that clear to start - however, over the last week we have been discussing the situation with partners in Namibia, and I think that this could be a great overwinter destination in the age of covid.

Many of the properties are suffering some are now offering an unusual option of long stay room only rates. There are some great value options say in the Kalahari - but would you really want to spend that long in the Kalahari? However, there is one place that stands out for me and that would be the town of Swakopmund.

Seldom gets too hot as the cool ocean current comes in. Quaint town with several decent restaurants and bars and is a great place to base yourself for an extended period. Then whenever you feel like a change of scenery hire a car for a few days - and head to the dunes of Sossusvlei, the dramatic scenery of Damaraland or maybe even a few days on a self-drive safari in Etosha (not the best period for game viewing but still a wonderful park). Otherwise many day trips and adventure activities available from Swakopmund itself. Namibia now only requires a negative PCR test for entry last week they did away with the need for a second test after 5 days. Prices are roughly similar to those in South Africa for eating out. With one of the world's lowest population densities and only 133 (reported) deaths it is also regarded as a safe destination and somewhere quite unusual. The nice thing, unlike many other destinations in Africa, it is very easy to jump in a car and explore on a self-drive basis.

South Africa looks like they are going to make an announcement before December scrapping their "red list" but we wait to see....
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Old Oct 30, 20, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by wijibintheair View Post
Well I am biased as it is my field of work - so just making that clear to start - however, over the last week we have been discussing the situation with partners in Namibia, and I think that this could be a great overwinter destination in the age of covid.

Many of the properties are suffering some are now offering an unusual option of long stay room only rates. There are some great value options say in the Kalahari - but would you really want to spend that long in the Kalahari? However, there is one place that stands out for me and that would be the town of Swakopmund.

Seldom gets too hot as the cool ocean current comes in. Quaint town with several decent restaurants and bars and is a great place to base yourself for an extended period. Then whenever you feel like a change of scenery hire a car for a few days - and head to the dunes of Sossusvlei, the dramatic scenery of Damaraland or maybe even a few days on a self-drive safari in Etosha (not the best period for game viewing but still a wonderful park). Otherwise many day trips and adventure activities available from Swakopmund itself. Namibia now only requires a negative PCR test for entry last week they did away with the need for a second test after 5 days. Prices are roughly similar to those in South Africa for eating out. With one of the world's lowest population densities and only 133 (reported) deaths it is also regarded as a safe destination and somewhere quite unusual. The nice thing, unlike many other destinations in Africa, it is very easy to jump in a car and explore on a self-drive basis.

South Africa looks like they are going to make an announcement before December scrapping their "red list" but we wait to see....
Could be a very interesting option. What is day to day life actually like there in terms of covid restrictions?
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Old Oct 30, 20, 2:05 pm
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Judging by the way Stockholm looked when I took a stroll in the early evening, it seems many are not ready for another round of Covid madness. Malls were relatively full and restaurants and bars were packed (and at least bars definitely didn't look like husband and wife's night out kind of situation). Of course, this is purely anecdotal and not very objective (after all, all those that do follow recommendations are invisible), but it's probably not how authorities wanted things go this evening. The reports I got from people in Uppsala are similar.

It seems Swedish authorities are now joining their European counterparts in having a population that is not willing to participate anymore. It doesn't help that restrictions in Uppsala were extended (long before they were meant to end), which sort of undermines Public Health Agency's statements that this is only temporary, for a short period of time.

Thus the big question is, what next? The way I see it, they have essentially three options:
  1. Do nothing and hope people will start following guidelines when they see situation develop seriously (but even if this works, it may be too late).
  2. Introduce more recommendations, as some government officials threatened. But trying to make people follow existing guidelines by introducing new ones would be a dubious strategy.
  3. Join the rest of Europe and declare war on their own citizens by introducing legally enforcable meassures. However, based on how it backfired in most of Europe, I don't think anyone has an appetite for this approach. Indeed Swedish authorities seem to be aware that this battle can only be won by cooperating with people, rather than using repression.
Push back too little and you get a terrible second wave. Push too hard and you may lose even the remaining support of the population. This is going to be hard to balance.

I'm increasingly leaning towards going to some god-forgotten place far away from people and enjoying few solitary months in the nature (and playing videogames in the evening, who am I kidding), far away from all this mess. The trouble is that in winter, outdoor activities are somewhat limited for people with little hiking experience.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
Judging by the way Stockholm looked when I took a stroll in the early evening, it seems many are not ready for another round of Covid madness. Malls were relatively full and restaurants and bars were packed (and at least bars definitely didn't look like husband and wife's night out kind of situation). Of course, this is purely anecdotal and not very objective (after all, all those that do follow recommendations are invisible), but it's probably not how authorities wanted things go this evening. The reports I got from people in Uppsala are similar.

It seems Swedish authorities are now joining their European counterparts in having a population that is not willing to participate anymore. It doesn't help that restrictions in Uppsala were extended (long before they were meant to end), which sort of undermines Public Health Agency's statements that this is only temporary, for a short period of time.
That's not new in Stockholm nor the rest of Sweden. I saw the same kind of scenes across various parts of Sweden in April, May, June, July, August, September and October, and even more so on weekends just after the most common monthly pay deposits in Swedish employees' accounts. If Sweden had "pandemic fatigue", the country got it early in the second quarter of this year -- close to when the Swedish ski resorts were still open. And the entire time, the "restrictions"were mostly just recommendations when it came to individual persons.

If the objective is to see how some people comply with recommendations while others don't when the "restrictions" hitting people are toothless against the individual persons, then Sweden is a great place this fall/winter to observe that. But it's a poor place to assess how and how fast "pandemic fatigue" hits with enforced restrictions.

If you're fine with blah weather and buy into the concept that "there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes for the weather", then you may find southern and south central Sweden works well for pretty easy hikes.

Last edited by GUWonder; Oct 30, 20 at 3:52 pm
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Old Oct 30, 20, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
Judging by the way Stockholm looked when I took a stroll in the early evening, it seems many are not ready for another round of Covid madness. Malls were relatively full and restaurants and bars were packed (and at least bars definitely didn't look like husband and wife's night out kind of situation). Of course, this is purely anecdotal and not very objective (after all, all those that do follow recommendations are invisible), but it's probably not how authorities wanted things go this evening. The reports I got from people in Uppsala are similar.

It seems Swedish authorities are now joining their European counterparts in having a population that is not willing to participate anymore. It doesn't help that restrictions in Uppsala were extended (long before they were meant to end), which sort of undermines Public Health Agency's statements that this is only temporary, for a short period of time.

Thus the big question is, what next? The way I see it, they have essentially three options:
  1. Do nothing and hope people will start following guidelines when they see situation develop seriously (but even if this works, it may be too late).
  2. Introduce more recommendations, as some government officials threatened. But trying to make people follow existing guidelines by introducing new ones would be a dubious strategy.
  3. Join the rest of Europe and declare war on their own citizens by introducing legally enforcable meassures. However, based on how it backfired in most of Europe, I don't think anyone has an appetite for this approach. Indeed Swedish authorities seem to be aware that this battle can only be won by cooperating with people, rather than using repression.
Push back too little and you get a terrible second wave. Push too hard and you may lose even the remaining support of the population. This is going to be hard to balance.

I'm increasingly leaning towards going to some god-forgotten place far away from people and enjoying few solitary months in the nature (and playing videogames in the evening, who am I kidding), far away from all this mess. The trouble is that in winter, outdoor activities are somewhat limited for people with little hiking experience.
We are supposed to be in Stockholm in about 10 days, hopefully things will be ok but we are flexible and can change plans if we need to.

Have you thought maybe about French Polynesia? That's a place I would love to be, even for a few months as I spend 3 months there a few years ago for work. It is possible to fly to from Paris and flights usually go via Vancouver where you spend about an hour in a 'sterile' area while the plane is being refueled and you continue your journey across the Pacific.
If money wasn't a consideration right now, that's where I would go.

We are in Malta right now, actually on Gozo and absolutely love it here. People do wear masks everywhere but otherwise things are quite normal and cases are stable - so far.

Hope you find the perfect place for you and keep enjoying where you are and what you do.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by yvrcnx View Post
We are supposed to be in Stockholm in about 10 days, hopefully things will be ok but we are flexible and can change plans if we need to.

Have you thought maybe about French Polynesia? That's a place I would love to be, even for a few months as I spend 3 months there a few years ago for work. It is possible to fly to from Paris and flights usually go via Vancouver where you spend about an hour in a 'sterile' area while the plane is being refueled and you continue your journey across the Pacific.
If money wasn't a consideration right now, that's where I would go.

We are in Malta right now, actually on Gozo and absolutely love it here. People do wear masks everywhere but otherwise things are quite normal and cases are stable - so far.

Hope you find the perfect place for you and keep enjoying where you are and what you do.
If you were using a Canadian passport as a Canadian(-only) resident coming from Canada directly, Sweden would deny you entry since Canada has now (as in very recently) been put on a Swedish travel blacklist. Coming from Malta works differently, regardless of citizenship/residency; as long as the Canadian passport has a Schengen stamp, it is a pass if encountering Swedish passport control on intra-Schengen trips.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
If you were using a Canadian passport as a Canadian(-only) resident coming from Canada directly, Sweden would deny you entry, since Canada has now been put on a Swedish travel blacklist. Coming from Malta works differently.
We have actually been in Europe since September 28th (CH: 3 days - D: 3 weeks - Malta: 8 days).
With this entry to Sweden shouldn't be a problem unless things change again and they deny entry based on citizenship rather than where we spend the last 14 days.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 4:05 pm
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Originally Posted by yvrcnx View Post
We have actually been in Europe since September 28th (CH: 3 days - D: 3 weeks - Malta: 8 days).
With this entry to Sweden shouldn't be a problem unless things change again and they deny entry based on citizenship rather than where we spend the last 14 days.
"as long as the Canadian passport has a Schengen stamp, it is a pass if encountering Swedish passport control on intra-Schengen trips". That is assuming the Canadian passport doesn't indicate being a visitor who has exceeded a 90-day Schengen area stay limit in any given 180 day period.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 4:15 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
"as long as the Canadian passport has a Schengen stamp, it is a pass if encountering Swedish passport control on intra-Schengen trips". That is assuming the Canadian passport doesn't indicate being a visitor who has exceeded a 90-day Schengen area stay limit in any given 180 day period.
We do have a stamp when we entered Switzerland at Zurich Kloten and we'll definitely won't be exceeding the 90 days.
We both also have EU passports but I don't see any reason or point using them during times like these.

As mentioned in one of my previous posts, this is our plan right now before flying home but if things were to get difficult to a point of not being able to enjoy our time, we would change plans and fly home earlier and by "enjoy" I don't mean the ability to walk around without masks, going to bars, mingle with lots of locals etc. - we don't do any of that and are actually spending most of our time in nature, ouside spaces or places where there are not many people like today where we visited the Citadel in Victoria, Gozo and were the only ones in the cathedral and saw only about 5 other visitors the entire time, all wearing masks at all times and distance wasn't even an issue.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 5:28 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
That's not new in Stockholm nor the rest of Sweden. I saw the same kind of scenes across various parts of Sweden in April, May, June, July, August, September and October, and even more so on weekends just after the most common monthly pay deposits in Swedish employees' accounts.
My experience with people following recommendations was good during recent weeks. But this new set of rules that kicked in today (well, yesterday in the afternoon) seems to be completely ignored. That's where I see the shift.

Originally Posted by yvrcnx View Post
Hope you find the perfect place for you and keep enjoying where you are and what you do.
Thank you - and thanks for all the tips. Unfortunatelly, I can't wear a mask for more than 5 - 10 minutes, so that limits my choices :/

Originally Posted by yvrcnx View Post
We do have a stamp when we entered Switzerland at Zurich Kloten and we'll definitely won't be exceeding the 90 days.
We both also have EU passports but I don't see any reason or point using them during times like these.
Well, specifically for Sweden, your EU passport allows you entry irrespective of where you've been before. You could fly directly in from Canada (if there were any flights) or the US and you would be admitted as an EU citizen.

On Canadian passport, you are only admissible when entering from another EU/EFTA state (note: it does not have to be in Schengen, places like Croatia or Ireland are also accepted - and so is UK until the end of the year). And there is no requirement to spend 14 days in the EU, all that matters is where you arrive from - essentially, Sweden is only guarding the external border as requested by other member states. Swedish government never wanted any border restrictions.

​​​Of course, this is not a big deal for you since you already are in Europe, but it may come handy for future trips or if you choose to take a side trip somewhere outside the EU. And finally, entering EU as an EU citizen is always an easier procedure (even pre-COVID).
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Old Oct 30, 20, 5:42 pm
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post

Thank you - and thanks for all the tips. Unfortunatelly, I can't wear a mask for more than 5 - 10 minutes, so that limits my choices :/
(even pre-COVID).
Thank you for all the feedback on entry with EU passport or non-EU (Canadian) passport which is very helpful.
That is too bad that you are not able to wear a mask for a longer time period. Would it be possible for you to have somekind of note from your doctor stating that you are not able to wear one? If so, I believe many countries do make exceptions in these cases.
If not, that would probably limit your choices quite a bit since many countries do require the wearing of masks unless you maybe stay in an all inclusive resort where you usually only have to wear a mask when moving from one place to another within the resort but usually not for example in the pool or beach area as well as other parts but not sure if that is attractive for you.

Another country that came to mind is Costa Rica which allows entry to everyone as of NOV 1st. There are a lot of beautiful smaller resorts which could work and where you would probably only have to wear the mask moving from one place to another within the resort but not when going for walks in nature, beach, pool area etc.
The only problem I would foresee is the transfer from the airport to the accommodation but if you can get somekind of exemption, it could work very well.
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Old Oct 30, 20, 5:51 pm
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
My experience with people following recommendations was good during recent weeks. But this new set of rules that kicked in today (well, yesterday in the afternoon) seems to be completely ignored. That's where I see the shift.
I've been seeing recommendations ignored a lot in Stockholm all during this pandemic, except for a very limited period within the 2nd quarter of the year. And I've been seeing it ignored more so on the last weekend of the month when that weekend is on or just after the 25th/26th of the month. In other words, as the locals get further and further away from their last paycheck deposit, they will tend to appear to be more compliant with the health recommendations than they are around pay time. And as the locals are now around a relatively recent paycheck deposit during a weekend hovering around "schools out" time, this is to be expected here as situation normal and not a shift from the pattern.
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Last edited by GUWonder; Oct 30, 20 at 6:04 pm
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