My sister-in-law got the phone call at dinnertime the night before we were to drive to a Wyoming guest ranch for a five-day, three-generation family vacation. There was a coronavirus outbreak among the ranch’s staff; in two days, the numbers had climbed from three to 18 infections. The staff members with the coronavirus and any others who had been in close contact with them were quarantined. The ranch’s chief operating officer said we were still welcome to come but warned that the service would not be at the ranch’s usual level. My brother and sister-in-law, who had booked and planned the vacation, opted to take the full refund the ranch offered, not because of how the outbreak would affect the service, but for safety.
The nine of us, ranging in age from 7 to 83, had gathered in Jackson, where my fiance, Derek, and I live, for the half-day drive to the ranch. We were crushed, but we didn’t doubt that canceling was the right decision. After briefly mourning the loss of our intended vacation, we jumped into action to create a Plan B.