Regional Web banner January
Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Precautions kept this traveler safe

By Ray Hanania

My family is Middle Eastern, and I have traveled all my life. The war of 1948 that chased my Christian parents and relatives from their homes in Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem spread them throughout the world.

They ended up in Jamaica, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia and, of course, throughout the United States.

RayHanania 1

Ray Hanania

My family then immigrated legally and nurtured a strong love for America that you often don’t see among the immigrants of today.

So, I travel a lot. Traveling is in my blood. If the pandemic has done anything to me besides reinforce health concerns as a senior citizen over the past 19 months, it has made me long for the ability to return to vacation.

I live a modest life, work very hard, and I save money. You don’t see that a lot in today’s society where many people want everything for free or believe they are entitled.

I pay a lot of taxes but apparently not enough to cover the void created by laziness, entitlement and “envy spite.” That’s where someone wants what you have and hates you for it.

I finally got to travel last week, to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We had to prepare as a family. I got my Pfizer shots. I wear a mask almost all the time except when I am with my immediate family. I scrub my hands with sanitizer frequently and go through it as fast as I consume Diet Coke.

Flying is always a concern. I would get sick on an airplane long before COVID-19 became a frightening and deadly acronym. This was long before the novel coronavirus surpassed gun control and abortion as the most contentious political debate topics.

But if the pandemic did anything, it forced Americans to start focusing more on ways to stay healthy, rather than on the kind of health insurance you have. Many illnesses have a lot to do not with the kind of healthcare you have, but your cleanliness practices. There are always exceptions; but for the most part, failing to take care of yourself and embracing unhealthy practices increase your chances of getting sick.

That’s why I am a big believer in wearing a face mask. I ignore the political exploitation of the pandemic by the far right and far left, focusing on the common-sense practicality of taking precautions.

It’s still risky going on vacation. Those who don’t take precautions or think a face mask is a violation of your constitutional rights, are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk.

The real COVID crazies are the ones who pretend it is not a threat and use it for their political profit.

People who travel should get vaccinated and wear a face mask.

The Dominican Republic and the airlines require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to board the plane. When you return, you are required to take an antigen nasal test three days before you return. That requirement is imposed by the airlines and the country you are returning to.

It makes sense. I know how Americans think about COVID-19. I don’t know if foreigners do.

I wore a mask throughout the vacation at the resort. I also wore it O’Hare, where we boarded the Frontier airplane (which claims to be cheaper, but really is more expensive than the better-known airlines).

I wore a mask at the airport on arrival in the Dominican Republic. Going through customs. Waiting for my bags. In the transit ride. At the hotel in the lobby. I only took it off when I was with my family in the room or on the beach. Or, when I was eating dinner.

The hotel took precautions, too. You had to wear plastic gloves to get food from the buffet. Every employee was vaccinated and wore masks all the time. Hand sanitizers were everywhere. It was like being at Costco on a weekend when they had free food stations throughout. Much of the food was cooked fresh.

But at the end of the vacation, you had to take that test. The nurse told me one out of 20 people tested positive for COVID-19. Mostly people from places outside of the U.S. When you test positive for COVID, you are not allowed back into the United States or allowed on the plane. You are quarantined for two weeks.

What that means is you are placed in a room at the far end of the hotel, where you sit for two weeks with air conditioning, a TV and internet at no cost to you.

They provide food, paid for by the government. You can’t go to the beach. The cleaning staff wears full body covers like in the movie Contagion. You can’t leave the room. Two weeks of misery, then you purchase your own return ticket when released.

We took the test, and it was negative because we didn’t drop our guard. I don’t want to take a chance. I know I am responsible. The problem is, I don’t know how responsible other people are.

It only takes one exposure to get sick, and your state of health determines whether you live or die.

Check out Ray Hanania’s work at hanania.com.

Local News

The Rios family plans to make The Great American Bagel shop at 12774 S. Harlem Ave. a go-to breakfast and lunch choice in Palos Heights and beyond. Pictured (from left) are Manny Jr. Manny Sr., daughter Silvia, Mia and mother Silvia Rios. --Photo by Cosmo Hadac

Experienced bakers buy The Great American Bagel in Palos Heights

New owners nearly double the menu for breakfast, lunch By Cosmo Hadac When The Great American Bagel’s shop in Palos Heights changed hands late last year, the new owners who walked in the door weren’t exactly new. Manny Rios Sr. and his wife, Silvia, have nearly 50 years of combined experience in the bagel…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

New owner will keep Palmer Place name and burgers Copy

By Steve Metsch Palmer Place Restaurant and Biergarten, a mainstay in downtown La Grange for nearly 40 years, will soon have new owners. But not much else will change. The name on 56 S. La Grange Road will still read Palmer Place. The employees now there will still have their jobs. And the hamburgers that…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF January 19, 2022

Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and the village council could make a decision on Monday regarding video gaming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park could be making its decision on gaming on Monday

By Jeff Vorva Will Palos Park make its decision on bringing in gaming machines to the village on Monday? The world will have to wait until Monday to find out. The village council will meet for the first time in 2022 on Monday after its Jan. 10 meeting was cancelled because of a lack of…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that mandates from Cook County are unlawful. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Pekau takes Rubin and Foxx to task over mandate punishments

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park has Cook’s County’s attention. The village’s decision to vote against enforcing Cook County COVID-19 mandates at a special meeting Dec. 28 has been a hot topic. The village’s position is that businesses need not require proof of vaccination for patrons to enter. Some businesses are taking the board up on…

CRRNH_FrontPageStory_011922

‘These bruises won’t heal’

CPS kids back in school, but bitterness remains By Tim Hadac Teachers who walked off the job in the new year returned last week after the Chicago Teachers Union rank and file voted to accept Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s offer of increased safety measures at schools. But it was a divided vote, with just 55.5% in…

CRRNH_JohnShakerAnd Burt_011922

Smooch from a pooch

Mutts of the Midway volunteer John Shaker smiles as he gets a smooch from Burt, a 5-year-old American Pit Bull/Boston Terrier mix. Shaker works as a transporter, driving dogs to and from veterinarian appointments. The 37-pound Burt was rescued by the non-profit Mutts of the Midway from a shelter in Texas. For several months, he…

The Clear-Ridge Little League is scheduled to start its games in April, but signup is occurring now. --File photo

Here’s a sure sign of spring

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. How have you been surviving January? This is one month I always hope flies by. If the sun is out, the temperatures are, or feel like they are in the subzero range. If it’s cloudy, which is most of the…

Justice Police Chief Kraig McDermott (from left), Justice Police and Fire Commissioner Don McGuire, Justice Police Officer Kady Sassenger, and Justice Mayor Kris Wasowicz. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Justice swears in new police officer

By Carol McGowan The Justice Village Board approved the recommendation of the Justice Fire and Police Commission to hire Police Officer Kady Sassenger at its January 10 meeting. Her move from the Coal City Police Department to Justice is considered a lateral move, which means the officer transfers from one department to another for the…

Michael Medeisis chats with village Trustee Norma Pinion after the board promoted himto the rank of fire battalion chief. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Medeisis promoted to fire battalion chief in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch The Bridgeview Fire Department has a new battalion chief. Michael Medeisis, 55, was promoted from the rank of lieutenant at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Bridgeview Village Board. “Hey, hot diggity dog, we’ve got a great guy (promoted),” village Trustee Michael Pticek said. Trustee James Cecott said the promotion was due.…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
Cook County Sheriff ad.2
The Rios family plans to make The Great American Bagel shop at 12774 S. Harlem Ave. a go-to breakfast and lunch choice in Palos Heights and beyond. Pictured (from left) are Manny Jr. Manny Sr., daughter Silvia, Mia and mother Silvia Rios. --Photo by Cosmo Hadac

Experienced bakers buy The Great American Bagel in Palos Heights

New owners nearly double the menu for breakfast, lunch By Cosmo Hadac When The Great American Bagel’s shop in Palos Heights changed hands late last year, the new owners who walked in the door weren’t exactly new. Manny Rios Sr. and his wife, Silvia, have nearly 50 years of combined experience in the bagel…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

New owner will keep Palmer Place name and burgers Copy

By Steve Metsch Palmer Place Restaurant and Biergarten, a mainstay in downtown La Grange for nearly 40 years, will soon have new owners. But not much else will change. The name on 56 S. La Grange Road will still read Palmer Place. The employees now there will still have their jobs. And the hamburgers that…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound PDF January 19, 2022

Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney and the village council could make a decision on Monday regarding video gaming. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park could be making its decision on gaming on Monday

By Jeff Vorva Will Palos Park make its decision on bringing in gaming machines to the village on Monday? The world will have to wait until Monday to find out. The village council will meet for the first time in 2022 on Monday after its Jan. 10 meeting was cancelled because of a lack of…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that mandates from Cook County are unlawful. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Pekau takes Rubin and Foxx to task over mandate punishments

By Jeff Vorva Orland Park has Cook’s County’s attention. The village’s decision to vote against enforcing Cook County COVID-19 mandates at a special meeting Dec. 28 has been a hot topic. The village’s position is that businesses need not require proof of vaccination for patrons to enter. Some businesses are taking the board up on…

CRRNH_FrontPageStory_011922

‘These bruises won’t heal’

CPS kids back in school, but bitterness remains By Tim Hadac Teachers who walked off the job in the new year returned last week after the Chicago Teachers Union rank and file voted to accept Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s offer of increased safety measures at schools. But it was a divided vote, with just 55.5% in…

CRRNH_JohnShakerAnd Burt_011922

Smooch from a pooch

Mutts of the Midway volunteer John Shaker smiles as he gets a smooch from Burt, a 5-year-old American Pit Bull/Boston Terrier mix. Shaker works as a transporter, driving dogs to and from veterinarian appointments. The 37-pound Burt was rescued by the non-profit Mutts of the Midway from a shelter in Texas. For several months, he…

The Clear-Ridge Little League is scheduled to start its games in April, but signup is occurring now. --File photo

Here’s a sure sign of spring

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. How have you been surviving January? This is one month I always hope flies by. If the sun is out, the temperatures are, or feel like they are in the subzero range. If it’s cloudy, which is most of the…

Justice Police Chief Kraig McDermott (from left), Justice Police and Fire Commissioner Don McGuire, Justice Police Officer Kady Sassenger, and Justice Mayor Kris Wasowicz. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Justice swears in new police officer

By Carol McGowan The Justice Village Board approved the recommendation of the Justice Fire and Police Commission to hire Police Officer Kady Sassenger at its January 10 meeting. Her move from the Coal City Police Department to Justice is considered a lateral move, which means the officer transfers from one department to another for the…

Michael Medeisis chats with village Trustee Norma Pinion after the board promoted himto the rank of fire battalion chief. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Medeisis promoted to fire battalion chief in Bridgeview

By Steve Metsch The Bridgeview Fire Department has a new battalion chief. Michael Medeisis, 55, was promoted from the rank of lieutenant at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Bridgeview Village Board. “Hey, hot diggity dog, we’ve got a great guy (promoted),” village Trustee Michael Pticek said. Trustee James Cecott said the promotion was due.…

DVN Les Brothers Restaurant House Ad
CRR NH Fireside Realty House Ad