Update on Covid protocols, new procedures and state-mandated travel orders for Massachusetts & Maine DINE members

hand cleaningThere have been some updates, easing and changes to the travel restrictions for visitors to the six New England States since our last state by state update in June. Since then, restrictions have been lifted in every New England state.  As you start planning those colorful fall romantic getaways to your favorite members of Distinctive Inns of New England, we wanted to keep you apprised of what to expect at your favorite New England inns.

Throughout all of the DINE inns, great care has been taken to keep guests and staff safe.  Each of the inns has re-examined their cancellation and reservation policies and adjusted them to be as flexible as possible. Heightened deep cleaning processes are in place, hand sanitizer and plastic barrier shields have been added throughout the inns, socially distanced tables are set up, food service is designed to be as contact-free as possible and all state limitations are being followed and/or exceeded. All plates, cups, dining utensils, placemats, sheets, pillowcases and additional bedding are thoroughly sanitized at each inn between uses.  In addition, high-touch items like magazines, decorative pillows, books, games, playing cards and guest directories have been either removed or digitized to avoid guest-to-guest contact.  Staff at the inns wear masks at all times, and guests at all of the DINE inns are asked to wear masks at all times too, except when enjoying meals.  In return for the heightened attention to their safety, guests are simply asked to understand and respect the difficult changes that innkeepers have been asked to make to keep everyone safe.

In the coming weeks we’ll take a close look at what each of the DINE member inns are doing, while outlining travel restrictions, new procedures and plans for upcoming fall getaways.  Today, we’ll start with DINE inns in Maine and Massachusetts.

In Maine

Rainbow in Rockport, Maine.Under Maine Governor Janet Mill’s Keep Maine Healthy plan, the State of Maine will allow adults who obtain and receive a negative COVID-19 test taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival to forgo a previously required 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Maine. However, residents from Vermont and New Hampshire (effective June 26) and Connecticut, New York and New Jersey (effective July 3), and Massachusetts (effective Sept. 23) are exempt from this requirement because when adjusted for population, the prevalence of active cases of COVID-19 in these states is similar or better to that in Maine.  Visitors may be tested in Maine, but they must quarantine while awaiting the results.  Maine is strongly urging visitors to be tested and receive results in their home state before traveling to Maine, which will allow them to take appropriate action depending on the result. Websites like Get Tested COVID-19 show local testing options in Maine and nationwide.

In addition, anyone staying in Maine who is not from exempted states must complete a Certificate of Compliance form indicating 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. The certificate will be provided to you from the inns where you stay prior to or at check-in.  Visitors may be asked to furnish proof of the negative test result upon request.  The State’s standing order –  which allows anyone in Maine over the age of 12 months who feels they need a test to get one without an order from their own primary care provider – coupled with enhanced testing capacity in July resulting from an agreement with IDEXX, support testing of tourism workers in Maine and serve as a back-up option for tourists who cannot be tested at home and commit to quarantining in Maine while awaiting results.

Camden Maine Stay guestroomAt Camden Maine Stay Inn: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the inn’s owners and staff are laser-focused on identifying and implementing the public health requirements and best practices applicable at the property, and for staff, guests, vendors and operations. The goal here is to take all necessary and appropriate actions to preserve the health and safety of everyone who comes into contact with the inn. The cleanliness of the inn has always has been a source of pride for the innkeepers and staff, and a point of satisfaction for guests. All safety and cleaning protocols have been reviewed and updated to meet or exceed the industry standards and state guidelines. Janis and Peter, Camden Maine Stay Inn’s innkeepers, are taking the property’s cleanliness to an entirely new level, as they describe it. Breakfast will be a two-course served breakfast enjoyed in the breakfast room with socially distanced tables.  Afternoon refreshments are still served, simply packaged to avoid unnecessary contact. In addition, reservations may be rescheduled whenever a guest wishes and without penalty provided that the rescheduled stay begins within one year after the start date of the original stay. In addition, if a guest wishes to cancel a reservation made directly with the inn (vs a third party) for a stay during 2020, regardless of when in 2020 the stay was to have been or when you cancel the reservation, the inn will refund 100% of your deposit, will not charge you for the remaining balance of the reservation, and will not impose any cancellation fee.

Inn at English Meadows guest roomAt Inn at English Meadows: To avoid guests gathering inside while waiting to check in, your innkeeper will meet you outside. Guests are asked to pull up in the space alongside the patio (or any other space available) and call the inn 207-967-5766 when they arrive. Due to rooms being left vacant for several hours before cleaning to ensure housekeeping staff safety, early check ins will not be possible. If you happen to arrive early, please feel free to park in the inn’s parking lot and enjoy walking around town until 3PM.  The inn’s housekeeping staff will not enter rooms once guests have checked in; housekeeping needs will be made by request including replacement or additional towels and amenities, bottled water, etc. which will be delivered to the room. To minimize waste, guestroom amenities will be customized to the guests’ specific requirements, confirmed in the week before your arrival. Rooms will be left vacant for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours, before the inn’s housekeeping staff enters to clean and disinfect. After diligent cleaning and disinfecting of the guestrooms and bathrooms, every hard surface (like furniture, light switches, clocks, etc.) and every soft service (like throw pillows and upholstered furniture) will be wiped down with a non-chemical 70% alcohol FDA approved all-natural disinfectant. A full service 3-course breakfast will be just as delicious as always but presented differently. The breakfast bread course will be wrapped and waiting for you at the table. Fruit and main courses will be served and plated together. The patio tables are reduced in number and spaced to allow appropriate physical distancing between guests. When weather requires breakfast service to move into the dining rooms, the number of breakfast seating times will be increased. The inn’s afternoon refreshments will be individually wrapped.

In Massachusetts

Bittersweet Farm near Gateways Inn & RestaurantAccording to the Aug 1, 2020 Mass.gov Covid-19 Travel Order, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts must who do not meet an exemption, are required to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless they are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health or quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts. If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result. At the time of this blog, the lower risk states which are exempt from the Massachusetts travel order are Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Click here for additional information on the most up-to-date travel orders for Massachusetts.

Breakfast trays at Harbor Light InnAt Harbor Light Inn: A glass barrier has been added at the front desk and all doors are kept locked with access via an intercom (or guests key).  Hand sanitizer has been installed at every exit door.  Hand soap dispensers were also installed in all employee areas. Common area surfaces are wiped with sanitizer throughout the day.  All exterior seating is cleaned after each use.  No housekeepers will enter any guest’s room until after they have checked out.  Daily service is by guest request only. In addition, all rooms are sanitized by Ultraviolet Lamps and deep cleaned before arrival and whenever possible, guest rooms are isolated after check-out for a minimum 24 hour period. All outside seating is separated by more than 6 feet.  All inside dining has also been reconfigured to minimize guest contact. Breakfast is pre-ordered the night before and put on trays that may be enjoyed outside or in the privacy of your room.

Gardens at Captain's House InnAt Captain’s House Inn:  Guests will have the option of contactless check-in. The inn will contact you before your arrival to confirm your preference and provide you with instructions for contactless check-in. Rooms will be left empty for 24 hours between guest stays when possible. Early check-ins will only be available on request and cannot be guaranteed.  Once you have checked into your room, the staff will not enter your room unless specifically requested, including for daily housekeeping service. Guests in need of fresh towels, toiletries, or other amenities, can request these as needed for daily contactless delivery to your room. The inn’s housekeepers are taking extra steps to ensure all rooms are thoroughly disinfected and sanitized between stays. Guests will be provided with hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks during their stay. Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day, with particular attention to surfaces and high touch items such as doorknobs, light switches, etc. The dining room has been reconfigured so that tables are appropriately distanced, and guests will continue to enjoy served individualized breakfasts in the dining room and outside on the patio as long as weather allows.  For those who prefer, the inn offers a ‘grab and go’ option for guests who may want to enjoy breakfast at one of the local Cape Cod beaches. In addition, afternoon tea will be served upon request and delivered to you.

Deerfield Inn - patio lit at nightAt Deerfield Inn: The entire property has been deep cleaned and sanitized and multiple cleanings continue throughout each day. Hand-sanitizer is also available throughout the inn. In addition, personal protection equipment (PPE) amenity kits featuring disinfecting gel, nitrile rubber gloves and masks will be provided upon request for guests.  Ultraviolet lights and sanitizing protocols are used to clean guest rooms, with particular attention paid to high-touch items. Guests may choose between two levels of housekeeping services where housekeepers enter the guest room once daily to provide service and restock linens and amenities or fresh linens and towels along with any other requested amenities can be packaged and placed at your door upon the guests’ request.  The frequency of cleaning and sanitizing has been increased in all public spaces with an emphasis on frequent contact surfaces and the frequency of air filter replacement and HVAC system cleaning has been increased. Fresh air exchange has been maximized throughout the inn. New dining locations have been added including on the lawn, porch, terrace and in-room service. For meals from the restaurant, curbside pick up has been added too.  All menus, tables and chairs are sanitized upon completion of dining and spacing of tables has been adjusted to allow for six feet between tables.

Gateways Dining RoomAt Gateways Inn: The inn has new owners who’ve made big changes to the restaurant, adding what is now called Walker Street Grill.  At the inn, masks are worn by staff indoors at all times and handwashing protocols for employees have been added.  In addition, hand sanitizer is available throughout the inn.  Check-in and check-out processes have been adjusted to allow for contactless procedures, which guests are informed about prior to arrival.  All common area surfaces are cleaned frequently with an alcohol solution, which is used for cleaning guest rooms too.  Deep cleaning protocols in guest rooms have been added.  Presently, the inn is maintaining a 24-hour downtime in guest rooms between reservations to allow the room to rest.  All tables for dining have been moved to allow for social distancing and outdoor dining has been added while the weather allows.  The inn is currently not serving breakfast to guests.

Next week, we’ll examine the updated Covid protocols, travel restrictions and news from DINE inns in Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.  Fall is returning to New England, isn’t it time for your autumn getaway?  Book direct or forever hold your peep!

In Maine:  Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden and Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunkport.

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield.

Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic