Uncomfortable Attending and traveling for Wedding during Covid
September 15, 2020 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Should I turn down a wedding invitation to my brother in laws wedding across the country because of Covid?

My brother in law(wife's brother) is getting married at the end of October. My wife and I Live on the west coast and the wedding is on the east coast. In order to go we'd have to take a plane with layovers. The wedding will have about 50 people. They will be taking precautions with masks, etc. My wife has already chosen to go. She has made it clear, and she's genuine about this...I do not have to go if I don't feel comfortable given the current status of the world and Covid. I truly do not feel comfortable going because of Covid. On the one hand I feel like I'd be letting down my wife, brother in law, and also my mother and father in law if I don't attend. But on the other hand in my heart of hearts, I don't think attending the wedding is worth the risk of getting or infecting others with Covid. I have no problem with my wife going. It's her brother so I get it. That said I guess theatrically her going and then coming home still puts both of us at risk unless she quarantines when she gets back. It's complicated. Also they are offering a zoom viewing of the wedding as well which of course I'd do if I don't attend. Thoughts? Opinions? Thanks in advance!
posted by ljs30 to Human Relations (31 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't go.

It is unneeded risk, both the travel and the event itself. I generally disagree with travel during the pandemic. My state just started allowing gatherings of 10 people, up from five people, which the limit had been for months.
posted by NotLost at 1:52 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]

I would not go, and I would expect a partner who did choose to go to arrange their own two-week quarantine outside the house on their return.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:56 PM on September 15 [47 favorites]

Here, try this calculator.
posted by aniola at 1:58 PM on September 15 [19 favorites]

I would imagine that if you both go it would increase your risks of getting Covid or passing it along to others compared to if just your wife went just by the increased number of possible interactions. But I also think that unless she's quarantining before she goes and when she comes back then it really is the same thing as far as risks are concerned (The main jump in risk is from her not going to her going. Once she goes any additional increase from you tagging along seems small in comparison). Your not going would just be to show disapproval at the idea of having a wedding ceremony right now.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:01 PM on September 15

When i think about the risk of doing things, I think about five risk factors:
*A large number of people (large, to me, is more than ~6)
*Close together
*For an extended period of time (which, to me, is more than ~30 mins)

I am not comfortable with more than 1 of those factors present in an activity. A wedding - especially traveling to one - sounds like it would probably involve several of those factors and I would nope the fuck out without a second thought or any guilt whatsoever, and I would insist that my partner quarantine upon coming home.
posted by entropone at 2:01 PM on September 15 [8 favorites]

I do not have to go if I don't feel comfortable given the current status of the world and Covid. I truly do not feel comfortable going because of Covid.
That's your answer.

I don't know. My brother wasn't able to go to our mother's funeral in late July, so my standards for what you might have to miss because of the pandemic are probably unusually high. But I don't think you should feel even a tiny bit bad about not going, and I think you should have an honest discussion with your wife about what she will need to do when she gets back to avoid infecting other people. Because there have been several weddings that have been super-spreader events, including this wedding in Maine which indirectly led to 150 infections and at least three deaths.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:04 PM on September 15 [22 favorites]

Don't go. Write a sincere, loving congratulations letter to the groom, and also to your mother- and father-in-law. Attend the Zoom wedding and then set up your wife's quarantine pod for when she returns.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:04 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]

I would go. My gf travels east to west coast for work pre-covid often and now about 2x every 3 months. She is a very cautious person. She is very comfortable on a plane with the precautions they are taking. We took a drive weekend away and stayed in a hotel and it too was clean and overly cautious about mask wearing, etc.

I think also what is relevant is where you are on the West Coast and where on the East Coast the wedding is. I am in NY and the infection rate is very low.
posted by AugustWest at 2:06 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]

Don't go! The risk of just one of you going is definitely lower than the risk with both of you going. If your wife says it's OK to miss this, I think it's OK to miss it.

If I were you I would not go and I probably *wouldn't* ask my wife to fully quarantine on return, though I might sleep in the guest room until she had a negative test (so I seem to have lower standards than others here).
posted by mskyle at 2:08 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]

I think also what is relevant is where you are on the West Coast and where on the East Coast the wedding is. I am in NY and the infection rate is very low.
Sure, but you don't know where the other 48 people at the wedding are going to be coming from, and you don't know where the infection hot-spots are going to be in a month-and-a-half.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:09 PM on September 15 [29 favorites]

If you need one more internet rando to tell you not to go, don't go. It sounds like you've been given every possible out and there aren't going to be any hard feelings (if the people who told you they were OK with it aren't actually OK with it and this is some kind of shitty loyalty test, that's on them, not on you). You're being responsible and reasonable. Don't go; take quarantine precautions when your wife gets back. Read up on the current literature re: major and minor transmission risks and how to quarantine effectively within a household, so that you can make some specific plans and be prepared.
posted by confluency at 2:29 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]

If you stay home, firstly you'll be keeping yourself safe, and, secondly, you've no chance of getting infected and then pass it on to her.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:31 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

Speaking only for myself-- I feel that anyone who thinks holding a 50 person event is a good idea right now is not someone that I would readily trust to enforce masks and distancing.
posted by notquitemaryann at 2:31 PM on September 15 [61 favorites]

By not going, you’re not “letting down” anybody, because the occasion is not about you. It’s fine that your wife is adamant about going; you’re two separate people after all. DON’T GO.
posted by BostonTerrier at 2:33 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]

(A general remark: it may feel in some situations that infection is inevitable so you may as well give up and not bother taking precautions. This is not true. Even in a high-risk situation, like your spouse going to a high-risk event, you can take meaningful steps to try to mitigate your own risk.)
posted by confluency at 2:34 PM on September 15 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't go simply because I'm damned if I'm going to wear a mask (my masks are serious barriers, not some airy symbolic sort of thing) for the duration of a cross country flight. And then you're stuck at some event that you can't even eat or drink at because you're masked? Ugh no thank you. "I just can't face flying right now; I know you understand; love you, enjoy this extra nice gift" would be plenty.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:37 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

The wedding in Maine that was mentioned upthread is now linked to seven deaths and 176 cases, as of earlier today. It was a wedding with around 65 people in a state with a comparatively low rate of COVID-19 at the time. It's led to outbreaks at a jail and a rehab center, and AFAIK, the infection chains may still be spreading.

How would you feel if you had attended that wedding? What choice would you have wanted to make if you could make the choice again? Make that choice.

Personally, I wouldn't do it.
posted by pie ninja at 3:10 PM on September 15 [26 favorites]

Only one of you going halves your risk. I understand feeling like it’s meaningless if she’s going anyway, but it’s not. I mean, you use the men’s room and she uses the women’s restroom. Even if you were in complete lockstep every other step of the journey, that’s a meaningful separation that means being exposed to a whole different set of people. There are half as many times for y’all to mess up with touching your face or incorrectly wearing your mask. It’s half as many opportunities to get sick. You should buy her a very serious mask and plan out each step of the journey very deliberately. If she’s going no matter what, it should be treated with full seriousness.

When she gets back she should, at the very least, sleep in a different room and get a test. Both of you should wear masks in the home at all times until the test comes back negative and y’all should circulate with outside air as much as possible.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:21 PM on September 15 [8 favorites]

Oh also another reason not to go is that if they *are* doing appropriate social distancing it’s probably not going to be a very fun wedding! Like, it can still be worth going to as a ceremonial life event, but maybe not worth going to as a party. Your wife can handle the ceremonial duties.
posted by mskyle at 3:33 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]

I didn't attend my own sib's wedding across country because I couldn't face being masked on a cross-country flight and the prospect of having to awkwardly make smalltalk in a backyard while wearing masks with assorted mystery in-laws held very little upside. If it had been in town I would have gone, an outdoor wedding is not that risky. But a fun party? Not particularly.

You aren't letting anyone down; you would be a mess of nerves once you were there, anyway.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:37 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

Yes. It's not safe. It won't be safe for awhile and every bit of 'just one trip' keeps that safe date moving further and further out.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:41 PM on September 15 [11 favorites]

I'm on Team Essential Travel Only.

In August, there was a wedding in remote Millinocket, Maine; there had been no Covid in the area. Poor compliance with regulations, few masks. Somebody was infected. Cases related to the event, as of today, 176. Deaths: 7. Virus was carried by guests to a nursing home and a county jail, and it has spread.

Infection is about risk and numbers. The more risky things you do, the greater your risk.
posted by theora55 at 3:51 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]

It's okay not to go. Your wife said so. Believe her.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:14 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]

In your last COVID-19 travel Ask, you lived in Los Angeles. If that's still the case, local officials define that county as High Risk, urging residents stay home as much as possible and minimize all contact.
These are the current county stats; there have been issues with data lags in reporting, and COVID-19 remains underreported in general as there's still not enough testing.
If you're living elsewhere in Southern CA, you can look up your county's profile here for its guidance.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:33 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]

Here's an anecdote for you:

A friend of mine felt compelled to go to her brother's wedding. All outdoors, all masked. In theory. A week later, 1/3 of attendees have tested positive for Covid and only about 2/3 have even gotten tested yet.

I would strongly advise you not attend.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:50 PM on September 15 [18 favorites]

I would not go and I would ask my spouse to quarantine outside the home for two weeks after returning, unless maybe my house setup was such that they could completely quarantine in-home separate from me. You'll have to decide what sort of quarantine would work for you if any, but at a minimum, she's not pressuring you to go, you're not comfortable going, the couple clearly fully expects some people not to attend given that they already have streaming plans - you absolutely do not need to go.

Stay home; figure out together what your wife needs to do upon her return for you to feel safe and comfortable with her travel.
posted by Stacey at 4:59 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]

Hey, I'm also on the West coast with family on the East coast getting married this late October! I just got the invite yesterday, and am mildly put out that the RSVP card only had "Attending" and "Regretfully Declining" as options because really my answer is "It's a fucking PANDEMIC, give me a break."

I am not going, and I 100% support you not going, either. Nthing that your wife needs to figure out how to quarantine upon her return, as well.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:50 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]

Honestly, having an-person wedding right now
(where they expect 50 people to attend!)
is incredibly stupid, incredibly selfish, and above all incredibly irresponsible.

Really, not one single thinking person should attend this dangerously ill-advised Virus Fyre Fest. A wedding is not some emergency surgery that must happen immediately on a certain date; the fact that the couple doesn’t care enough about the health of it’s invited guests (and the families they will go home to) to postpone the wedding until it’s safe speaks volumes.

For yourself, for others, for the global community, do not go.

Save the World > “Save the date”
posted by blueberry at 11:50 PM on September 15 [10 favorites]

The Maine wedding, linked above, has already become an infamous superspreading event. I just heard from a friend who attended an out-of-state wedding with more attendees than they expected and many of those didn't wear masks and violated social distancing. I'm going to be keeping an eye out for word of this as the next wedding superspreader event. Weddings above the bare minimum to make someone legally wed just seem like a terrible idea right now, I'm sorry to say. Don't go.
posted by TwoStride at 11:24 AM on September 16 [7 favorites]

You know in your heart that you don't want to go, regardless of anything else. It's risky. It's okay to not go. The event will go fine, and you won't make or break the wedding by being there.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:24 PM on September 16 [2 favorites]

The way things are going these days, if your wife is insisting on going, y'all should make a plan for when she has the virus, what happens if she's sick for longer than 14 days, etc. Stock up on several weeks' worth of everything, and I hope you have a good plan to be able to avoid her for several weeks.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:55 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]

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