After months spent detached from various components of normal life, we’re beginning to see a rebound from the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our daily lives. As states plan their reopening phases, we can now go out to eat, have our hair cut, send the kids to summer camp, and enjoy most of the outdoor recreation that builds our summer experience.
Depending on where you live, of course.
What it all means for our summer travel plans can be confusing, especially as different states begin implementing various degrees of quarantine requirements. Bottom line, it’s going to be a challenge to enact your usual plans for a New England vacation during these summer months.
Many attractions will be open for business, but with limited services. You CAN get there from here, but whether or not you’re welcome to be there is another situation entirely. Want to go visit the Polar Caves in New Hampshire? It’s possible. Following that up immediately with a trek to Burlington, Vt., to stroll Church Street? Not so fast.
The freedom you’re normally used to during a seasonal jaunt through the region is going to be more regimented in 2020.
Here are just some of the parameters you should expect to follow this season as you look to navigate New England:
Amusement parks like Story Land and Santa’s Village will open in July, with reservations necessary in order to purchase tickets.
The Mount Washington Auto Road will be in operation this summer as well. “The Auto Road won’t have guided tours for at least the first part of the summer, but the drive-yourself option should bring us as much business as we can handle,” Crispin Battles, marketing director for the Mount Washington Auto Road, said. “And, of course, all of our events are canceled for the summer. So, we’re focusing on the core of our business, which is people driving themselves up the road. Thankfully we have a perfect attraction for our new socially distanced world.”
All beaches on New Hampshire’s seacoast are open for all activities but are limited to groups of 10 people or fewer. If you’re looking to stay for an evening or longer, please keep in mind that all New Hampshire lodging properties must adhere to the 14-day quarantine requirement. This means that operators should require a copy of a New Hampshire driver’s license or a signed document attesting that all staying at the lodging remained at a home for at least 14 days before arriving in New Hampshire.
As of late June, visitors to Vacationland will need to sign a certificate of compliance “indicating either that they have received a negative COVID-19 test result, that they will quarantine in Maine for 14 days, or that they have already completed their quarantine in Maine.” If a Maine resident visits New Hampshire or Vermont, he or she is not required to quarantine upon returning to Maine. If they visit elsewhere, the requirement that they quarantine for two weeks remains in place.
The Green Mountain State is requiring quarantine in its home state for 14 days before coming to Vermont if driving in a personal vehicle and making no stops along the way. Quarantine at a Vermont lodging establishment is also an option for 14 days if making stops along the way or traveling by plane, train, bus or other means of transportation.
Basically, unless you plan to travel to Vermont directly, without any rest area stops, and can confirm your home quarantine, you’ll be within limits. Also, your quarantine limits also depend greatly upon which county you’re traveling from. Visit www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19/traveling-vermont for more information.
Visitors to Massachusetts are welcome, provided they self-quarantine for 14 days. All visitors are expected to wear masks or face coverings in public places when you keep a distance of six feet from others.
Those looking to visit the Cape from out of state would be best to call ahead and inquire about any limitations that may be implemented.
Restaurants, bars and cafes have reopened in the Ocean State (check out the bustling sidewalk tables in Providence’s Federal Hill), and attractions like the Newport beaches and the Roger Williams Zoo are ready to welcome visitors this summer.
Block Island ferries are running, Newport beaches are welcoming visitors, and you can find plenty of clam shacks about, along with the state’s finest coffee milk and Del’s Lemonade.
According to ctvisit.com, “Anyone traveling into Connecticut, New York or New Jersey from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average are directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state.” Check website for details about which states are affected.
The most important things to remember when attempting any trip this summer is to plan ahead. Not only may quarantine procedures be required, but it is also likely that whatever attraction you wish to visit will require reservations.
Stay safe, and have fun. It is still summer. Even in a pandemic, there’s plenty of room for fun.
STATE TRAVEL UPDATES
It can all be quite confusing, particularly since each state is going through its own reopening phases. For the most up-to-date information, though, you should visit the following before deciding to travel to any other state:
New Hampshire: www.visitnh.gov/covid19/reopening
Rhode Island: www.reopeningri.com
Many popular regions in New England have regular COVID-19 updates on tourism and chamber of commerce websites, such as visitmwv.com (Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau); berkshires.org (The Berkshires); capecodchamber.org (Cape Cod); and gostowe.com (Stowe, Vt.).