I feel sorry for people. A few short months ago, booking a family holiday was one of the most normal things in the world. You could not attend a hairdresser without being asked about it. Now the hairdressers are back open for business - but it's unlikely that anyone who might be going on a sun holiday would dream of mentioning it in the chitchat while their elongated roots are changed back to blonde.
Now, to go on holidays abroad is akin to going on public transport without a mask or being on a beach at the same time as lots of other people. It leaves you liable to someone photographing you and rushing to social media to highlight what a terrible person you are - a socially irresponsible idiot who deserves to be shamed for your actions, while the poster basks in 'likes' and positive affirmation that they are a much better person than you.
But is it as black and white as travel abroad = bad, staycation = good? No, I'm not sure that it is.
Firstly, if you stay home and spend your holliers here and go to pubs or house parties where social distancing is poor, well then you cannot feel too smug about someone who goes abroad and spends most of their time outdoors on a beach.
Secondly, it absolutely depends on where you go. If you were foolish enough to head to Florida for a break that would be incredibly irresponsible - the US has levels of Covid-19 that are spiralling out of control. However, if you went to Greece, where case numbers are tiny, that would be a completely different matter.
Lastly, people travel for all sorts of reasons. Some to see family members they've been kept apart from for months on end - some of them elderly or ill. Others need to travel for essential work purposes. Some will be travelling for leisure, but within that group there are many who have just come through extraordinary times. I spoke to one doctor recently who told me he was at the end of the road, having worked flat out at some personal risk to himself and his family; he wanted nothing more than to head for a week to the holiday home he has in France and put his feet up and enjoy some wine and sunshine. But now he feels he can't because it would be so frowned upon - even though he doesn't believe the kind of holiday he would be having would increase his, or anyone else's, risk of contracting Covid-19.
Dr Tony Holohan, who deserves much praise for his handling of the pandemic (Ireland has the lowest incidence in western Europe and if anything it's thought we over-estimated the Covid-19 deaths here) - steering us through it at a time when his wife is critically ill - has said cancel your holiday plans if you're booked to go abroad. But as someone who used to be a doctor, I know that people don't listen to medical advice as often as we might like.
People are being given mixed messages. Ads for cheap flights and sun holidays are everywhere. Quarantine isn't mandatory; in the opinion of our Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, mandatory quarantine isn't workable here - and even the doctors aren't all in agreement. Dr Jack Lambert, specialist in infectious diseases, says if you travel to an area with similar risk to here and practise social distancing, then that trip is unlikely to be an issue Covid-19 wise.
The real reason why I feel sorry for people, however, is they are now caught between public health advice to stay home and the aviation industry, who are now running flights. So if someone booked flights before all of this and those flights now take off, they will simply lose all of their money if they aren't on board.
It's all very well asking people to put on the green jersey - but they've already done a huge amount. If you've just lost your job and had a miserable lockdown and now you're also expected to forgo the sun holiday you paid for in all innocence a few months ago, in favour of a staycation that you can't afford because you spent your cash on a trip to the Algarve, I think that is very hard.
The voice that is absent in all of this is the Government. The ordinary consumer who has booked to go away is now caught between the doctors and a hard place. But it is not Nphet or Aer Lingus who are to blame. Nphet is trying to protect us and the tourism sector is trying to survive. Government can decide what the airlines do. If they don't want people to head off to the Costas, they can stop that happening. Or, if they feel there are safe places for people to fly to without being corona-shamed, they can sort that too. Instead, what we have is a total absence of clarity about what happens when the current set of international travel restrictions run out.
Neither Nphet nor the aviation industry are supposed to be running the country - our elected representatives are supposed to be doing that. Currently people are being asked to shoulder massive personal cost in order to do the right thing, while the holiday flights take off in direct contradiction of public health advice.
Ordinary people who booked holidays are the meat in that sandwich - which is being eaten - while they watch thousands gather at funerals, people thronging beaches and house parties, and pubs around the country flouting guidelines. At the start of this pandemic, when the Government wanted to influence people's behaviour and get them to stay home, they paid €350 a week to those who couldn't work.
Now it appears people are supposed to walk away from their hard-saved holiday money without a backward glance. If flights were cancelled, at least they'd get a refund. The Government needs to step in here and get on with it now - decide what people can and can't do. These people are holidaymakers not troublemakers. And they're being thrown under an Aircoach.