The governor of Vermont Friday announced steps to move the state closer to reopening its critical tourism sector.
Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, unveiled a plan that will allow certain visitors from out of state to start arriving Monday—with no quarantine restrictions.
If you live in one of the teal-colored counties on the map provided on this state website, you can drive to Vermont starting Monday—booking a stay at inns, hotels, or resorts with no quarantine requirement.
Before, there was an order that visitors would have to stay inside for two weeks, basically making a short getaway impossible if people were complying with the mandate.
"It's a move forward," observed Steve Wright, the president and general manager of Jay Peak Resort, who noted the destination really can't make its business work on those teal-colored counties alone. "We, as the rest of the state is and the rest of the lodging sector is, are in a very precarious situation here."
The Scott Administration explained the reason the more rural areas of the Northeast are allowed for now is that they have fewer than 400 COVID-19 cases per million residents. That suggests there are less risk travelers who would bring the virus into a state that currently has low infection rates.
Counties with more disease activity, seen on the map in yellow or red, will still have to wait to come to Vermont until their case counts drop further, the governor said.
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"This first phase will still only be a small portion of our northeastern region," Scott said. "But it's a step in this process."
Scott, who also authorized lodging establishments to start operating at 50% capacity, said he'll keep loosening restrictions gradually, and when he deems it safe to do so.
Starting June 15, the state will begin the next phase of its travel and tourism reopening, according to an online posting by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
More guests will at that point be able to visit Vermont—even from COVID-19 hot zones—if they can attest they have quarantined in their own home for two weeks, or for one week then pass a COVID-19 test.
Furthermore, those people must be able to drive to Vermont in their own car without stopping on the way, ACCD said.
A full list of guidance on what travelers must complete before visiting can be found on the state's website.
The June 15 start of the next phase is good timing for the famous Woodstock Inn and Resort, which reopens its lodging June 16.
"All we keep hearing is, 'We can't wait to get back,' 'When are you opening your doors?' 'We're looking forward to getting back there,'" Courtney Lowe of the Woodstock Inn and Resort told NECN and NBC10 Boston.
Lowe added that golfing, mountain biking, dining, and limited spa services would be available to visitors.
Additionally, Scott Friday announced that starting Monday, indoor dining may resume at Vermont restaurants—with 25% capacity to start. Previously, they have been limited to outdoor dining only for a few weeks.
Northern New England's hospitality sector is also waiting for a reopening of the border with Canada—a big source of business. It's closed through at least June 21.