When my flight was making its final descent into Puerto Vallarta on Friday afternoon, the stewardess decided that was a fine moment to inform the passengers on my plane that the international airport, for some unknown reason, still required all passengers in the airport to wear masks. This was puzzling to me, having not read that at all or been informed of that before, and not having brought a mask with me. When I deplaned I asked the stewardess if she had any masks available herself; she did not, and she said that there may be some available in the airport. I must admit that this put my entrance into Mexico in a bit more contentious of a light, as I wondered if I would be seen as some sort of accidental or reluctant rebel, considering that most of the passengers on my flight, having been informed of the rule about masks, were wearing masks, though a few of us were not.
It remained unclear whether this was required throughout my time in the airport, because although there were signs in the airport on the way from the gate to immigration and customs that said that masks were still required in the airport, it seemed that a substantial number of people from other flights and some of the staff themselves were not wearing masks. Even among some of the people who had put on the mask earlier upon hearing that the masks were required put their masks below their nose and mouth or took them off when they saw that some of us were not wearing masks with total impunity, with no one even mentioning anything to us, much less us getting in trouble for it.
As it happened, when I was having dinner tonight with close friends who had arrived a bit later than I did to the feast site, I asked them whether or not they had been told about the supposed mask requirement, even if it was a bit of a dead letter at least as I saw. One of the people had, like me, traveled on Alaska Airlines, and had like me been informed of the mask only as the plane was about to land, and she was given a mask to wear by the flight attendant, and she too saw the signs in the airport that stated the mask requirement though she also saw people who (like me) were not wearing masks without any apparent problem resulting from that. The other three people had flown a different airline, had not heard anything about any mask requirement from the flight crew, and were apparently in such a mad dash through the airport that they did not see the mask requirement at all themselves.
All of this leaves me with an obvious set of questions. Is the mask requirement in the Puerta Vallarta international airport still in effect? Is it simply not being enforced at all, or is enforcement merely spotty and selective? Have some airlines been informed differently about the rule and whether or not it is in effect? What is the morality of a situation like this, where someone is informed of a mandate when it is too late to do anything about it? Is it wrong to set an example that a pointless rule that may or may not actually be in effect can be violated with impunity? Is it wrong to tell people about a supposed rule that may not be in effect, or to not tell a rule that is either not in effect or is a dead letter? What are the circumstances in which one would ask any or all of these questions?