How to deal with anti-vax relatives who want to hang out?

My Aunt announced that she and her boyfriend will be flying to Pennsylvania from Oregon on June 1st to see her East Coast family (my grandmother, mother, me and my siblings). She has made it well known on social media that she thinks Covid is a total hoax to foist oppression on us via masks and vaccines.

By that time, I will have been fully vaccinated, but I’m still wary of maskless indoor hangouts with unvaccinated people. I think I’m going to end up telling my Aunt that she’s welcome to socialize with me outdoors, but I refuse to spend a prolonged period of time indoors with her if she refuses to wear a mask.

What do you all think, will I be a jerk if I do this?

No, not a jerk at all.

The only jerk in this story is your aunt. I’d just tell her she’s not welcome to visit at all. Stupidity has consequences.

This. Too much has gone on for her ignorance to be rewarded. She needs a hard lesson.

The rest of your family should tell her to stay home. She is not welcome.

If somebody shows up at my door without a mask, they are not welcome, full stop. If they then say - okay, if you really want me to, I’ll put on a mask, that doesn’t change anything, they are still not coming in. Because clearly they (and most likely the people they socialize with) have not been masking and social distancing, and there’s a much higher chance they are infected. Reluctantly putting on a mask now doesn’t change that.

So remember that even if she agrees to wear a mask around you, she and her likeminded friends have certainly not been following sensible social distancing and masking previously, so there’s a much higher probability that she’s infected. And masks only reduce the probability of transmission. It’s not sufficient that she just reluctantly agrees to act sensibly when she’s around you, if you already know she has been reckless for the past year.

I’m all about the, ‘Fuck you, you ignorant conspiracy lunatic!’ sentiments. But also I do wonder about the longer term effects on family relationships. I assume you don’t dislike your aunt under ordinary circumstances so would not choose to avoid her otherwise. I also assume you were at least familiar with her generally right-wing views, so this is not news to you. How do you envision your relationship moving forward if you make her feel unwelcome? I mean, this pandemic will pass and even idiots like your aunt will be a very minor (negligible?) threat to those who are fully vaccinated (based on recent reporting). I wonder if people are using this as an excuse to punish those with whom they disagree politically. I mean, you’ve attended Thanksgiving for years and tolerated that relative you’ve always hated. Why not continue to do so given the risk is no greater than catching a cold (provided you’re vaccinated and do not suffer additional risk factors)?

This is so very very wrong I can not believe you posted it.

Enlighten me. I’ve heard recent reporting about very low risk to those vaccinated. If I’m wrong, I’ll readily accept correction.

What I had to do, and I recommend: Come up with a watertight reason why you can’t visit with unvaccinated people.

Mine is “My wife works with a lot of people with lung issues, so even if there’s a .01% chance of passing something along, I have to say no. Sorry, nothing personal, but that’s what I’ve been telling everyone for the past year!”

(Full disclosure: If I say this to you, I’m not all that sorry…)

My family is full of crazed extroverts, who “can’t waaaaait” to seeee us! But even with vaccinated maskers, my rallying cry has been “Ehh, I can wait a year…” So for the past year, we’ve asked friends and relatives if they can just wait to see us until fall of '21. Turns out they can.

I’m two weeks out from vax, so if I get it’ll probably be a mildER case, unless it’s a variant.
BUT I can still pass Covid along. So I’m masking and being a hermit for others, not just for myself.

Wilful denial of reality is not a political view.

Here’s a few points to think about.

(1) We don’t yet have reliable knowledge about how effective the vaccines are against mutant strains, and what data we do have indicates that even the best mRNA vaccines are less effective, and may eventually need to be supplemented with a booster targeted at the mutant. Mutant strains will inevitably become widespread in the U.S. sooner or later given the stupid behavior of people like OP’s aunt. There may well be a significantly higher rate of “breakthrough” cases of serious disease with mutant strains for people with one of the current vaccinations.

(2) OP talks about mother and grandmother. Unless OP is 5 years old, these are older people at high risk of serious disease or death.

(3) What about other unvaccinated people that the unvaccinated aunt may expose through her undoubtedly irresponsible behavior while traveling, if you enable that travel?

The first step in good family relationships would seem to me to be making sure you don’t infect your relatives (especially the elderly ones) with a potentially deadly disease.

Wait, she wants to see your grandmother? And probably give her a hug? Oh, hell, no.

The extroverts in our extended family really wanted Grandma to come to a family wedding. We told her “Well, ask your doctor…” (this was before vaccinations, and Gram’s in her mid-90s).
Doc said “An outdoor wedding would be okay, but not the reception, and you can’t ride in a car with anyone.” So Gram stayed home and they streamed it for her.

And your Aunt will probably assume she’ll be invited to, and INTO, everyone’s homes. Someone needs to tell her “You can have one afternoon with us all, at an outdoor picnic, but unless you get vaccinated and quarantine before you come, that’s all you get.”

Or hey, just tell her to get poked or stay home.

What I’m finding interesting is watching to see how responses to questions like this change over time.

Like say we get to Christmas. The numbers are really really low, governments have generally relaxed, the public is relatively sure it’s over. Your right wing relatives who haven’t been vaccinated and who insist they haven’t been sick demand to see and hug your 95 year old grandmother. Even if the answer is still the same as now, the circumstances are really different. It’ll be interesting to see how long the most cautious can and will hold out, both personally and when dealing with other people.

After 6 hours on a plane sucking everyone else’s air.

You seem to be implying that we are on some inevitable and irrevocable path to this rosy scenario, and it’s just a question of how long until we should let a dumbass relative hug grandma. No. The stupid behavior of a large proportion of this country’s population means that mutant strains will inevitably become widespread here, and we don’t yet have reliable knowledge on how that may play out, and whether even vaccinated people may still be at significant risk.

Actually, airplanes have among the best air circulation available anywhere, and it is constantly cleaned, using HEPA filters, as it is re-circulated. She could still be newly infected if she sat next to someone who was infected, but not if the infected person was a few rows away. I guess in between is a gray area.

Correction - airplanes have among the best air circulation available when they’re flying. When they’re un/loading passengers & on APU not nearly as much.

Modnote: FYI: this is bordering on insulting.

This is just a guidance, not a warning. Nothing on your permanent record.

My 81 year-old widow mother had to learn the hard way. She had every excuse in the book why she wasn’t going to get vaccinated based off of anecdotal evidence ranging from she already gets plenty of vitamin D so she should be safe to the vac;s side effects are so bad she doesn’t know if she’d survive them.
She finally gave in after my uncle & aunt (her younger sister) told her she was not welcome in their home if that was the case. And I (live out of state) would not be visiting her til she was vac’d.
She gets her second dose of Pfizer this Friday.

I’ve got one anti-vax relative. He’s not generally anti-vax, just anti-this vaccination. He also thinks the election was stolen from Donald Trump and that Joe Biden is a Socialist and Kamala Harris is a Communist. So you get the picture.

He’s been out of this area for a couple years now, but he’s coming up for a visit. Wants to get together. Wants to see all his nieces and nephews. My children are too young to be vaccinated.

Most concerning, he’d like to visit our father, who lives in a nursing home (I guess it’s actually a “memory care” facility).

I’ve had difficulties with him in the past about the political stuff, and his insistence on carrying a gun (which he has absolutely no reason to do, but that’s a whole 'nother story).

But I’m thinking, no, I won’t have him around. And I do have control over who can visit my father, and I’m thinking no to that too (and the nursing home itself is on the verge of insisting on vaccination for visitors, but they haven’t yet).