While technically, we have not quite started summer according to the calendar, ask any traveler or innkeeper at Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) and all eyes are on summer vacations. This is especially true this year after three long months of quarantine and DINE inn shutdowns. We know there’s a lot of pent up desire to hit the road with masks in hand, and all 11 DINE inns are really looking forward to welcoming guests back. After a long stint of juggling home schooling, remote work and creative ways to shop, travelers are more than ready to hit the road for those romantic New England getaways.
Each of the New England states’ guidelines for re-opening vary a bit. It’s important to note, however, that in every state masks are required to be worn, all efforts to promote social distancing are underway, new ramped up standards and procedures for cleaning have been developed and implemented, and contactless hospitality is the new norm. You may be asked some mandated health questions when you arrive and/or have your temperature taken, depending on state’s rules and regs.
We’ve previously focused on not only guest etiquette but also what to expect from the “new normal” at DINE inns. We’ve discovered that one of the unintended consequences of contactless travel is plenty of privacy. This article is intended to clear up confusion about who can travel to DINE inns. While the guidelines and protocols are constantly shifting, we expect the following regulations to be in place for the busy July 4th weekend – the unofficial start to the summer season.
The Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunkport and the Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden are both open and welcoming guests from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont presently who may travel without restrictions to Maine. Starting June 26, adult visitors to Maine from anywhere other than New Hampshire and Vermont (states with similar low-incidence of COVID-19 like Maine) must attest to a negative result from a valid test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours before entering Maine. An alternative to the testing is for travelers to attest to a 14-day quarantine in Maine (before staying at any lodging property). The Keep Maine Healthy plan governing travel to Maine stipulates the kind of test necessary and further spells out the process of quarantining.
Part of this plan is to set up “Swab & Send” testing sites throughout Maine where any resident or visitor to Maine will be allowed to be tested without a doctor’s orders. We don’t know when the testing sites will be up and running. Since tests will be sent out, the results will take 24 to 48 hours, during which the visitor may stay in quarantine in a Maine lodging property, i.e. their favorite Maine DINE inn.
The Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness and the Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield are presently open and welcoming guests from all states. Governor Sununu’s Stay at Home 2.0 Plan stipulates that all lodging operators will require a copy of a NH driver’s license for New Hampshire residents or a signed document from any out-of-state guest(s) attesting that all the person(s) staying at a New Hampshire lodging property remained at a home for at least 14 days before arriving in New Hampshire, only going out for essential items and when outside of the home maintaining social distancing and wearing face masks. Once visitors have attested to their 14-day at-home quarantine, they are free to enjoy a getaway to New Hampshire and the DINE inns there.
The Grafton Inn and the Rabbit Hill Inn have recently re-opened their doors to welcome visitors for lodging and dining with limitations. The State of Vermont has determined that any county with less than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents is now eligible for quarantine-free leisure travel. Using this interactive map as a guide, Vermont inns and lodging properties are allowed to host guests coming from the counties highlighted in blue or teal. The map is updated each Friday identifying quarantine and non-quarantine counties throughout New England and New York. The State hopes more counties will be added over time as their active case counts improve and that the criteria may be expanded beyond 400 cases per million as circumstances allow.
Travelers coming from an “approved” county, may travel to Vermont without quarantine restrictions if they travel directly to Vermont in their personal vehicle. This means guests may not arrive via air, train, bus, etc. without following quarantine orders below. All travelers are strongly urged to register with Sara Alert upon arrival to Vermont to get two weeks of daily reminders to check for common symptoms of COVID-19.
Starting June 15th, travelers coming from a “Non-approved” county and/or arriving via plane, train or bus must complete either: (i) a 14-day quarantine; or (ii) a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative test in their home state to enter Vermont without further quarantine restrictions. When guests arrive, they will be required to sign a document certifying their valid quarantine status and also be asked a number of health questions.
DINE inns in Massachusetts including the Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield, Gateways Inn in Lenox and Captains House Inn in Chatham, Cape Cod will inform their guests at the time they make a reservation and again at check-in of the Commonwealth’s policy urging travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days at home before arriving in Massachusetts from out of state. Additional strict hygiene, social distancing, and safety protocols will be in place too.
Connecticut, home to the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic, re-opening on June 20, is following state guidelines, which emphasize cleanliness and social distancing, with the hope of ensuring customer confidence do not appear to put any restrictions on who can travel to the inns. While the CDC encourages quarantine by all visitors, the state’s guidelines do not appear to require that guests attest to it.
Please note that all outlines and guidelines for visiting DINE country and DINE inns is subject to revisions with the changing optics of the Coronavirus pandemic in each state. Further restrictions and/or loosening of rules may be announced at any time depending upon the traction of the virus.
For now, however, DINE inns are happily re-opening albeit with limitations in many cases to keep both residents and visitors to the state safe. It’s time to dip your toes back into travel and DINE inns offer the perfect one-tank getaway this summer. Be sure to book direct when you make reservations at any of these DINE inns.
In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic