Report from the road AND California

Recently Paul and his family took a family (driving) trip to California. Paul lives in Bernalillo County which to date has achieved Yellow status under Gov. Lujan Grisham’s latest COVID rubric so comparisons will be with New Mexico’s Yellow tier. Notably, California is considered among the very most locked-down states (44th most open) while New Mexico is now 33rd according to Wallethub.

Here are a few thoughts about NM vs. California:

    1. CA just reopened both indoor AND outdoor dining, but the dining situation is quite similar to what exists in Bernalillo County;
    2. CA has bigger natural outdoor crowds such as Monterrey Pier and Santa Cruz. There are signs threatening $100 fines for no mask wearing outside and I was told that enforcement did occur, but we never had a problem even if we didn’t wear a mask outside. Overall mask wearing was between 75 and 90% at both places. Beaches DID NOT require masks and wearing of them was minimal on the beach. Amusement park rides were open at Santa Cruz Pier (with masks);
    3. Movie theaters were open in California;
    4. One disturbing note was in driving through Arizona which we did (twice), many of the chain stores and hotel had “masks required” signs despite the state having dropped its mask requirement. It is going to be interesting to see how businesses respond. This SEEMS like an example of “corporate attorneys” keeping overly-cautious policies in place. It will be up to the public to push back by taking their business elsewhere. A positive note: employees at these businesses seemingly DID NOT enforce mask requirements where they existed.

Notably, gas prices in some places in California exceeded $4.00 per gallon while a typical price was $3.50 or so.