Leaving Vermont to hike? Two-week isolation period for COVID-19 still applies upon return

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Cooped up at home. The Long Trail network closed. Local paths more popular than ever

What are Vermont’s outdoor enthusiasts to do as weather improves during the spring of COVID-19? 

For one, don’t go hiking to the Adirondacks — or the White Mountains, or the Berkshires — unless you’re prepared to self-isolate for two weeks, according to guidance from state’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Although some elements of Gov. Phil Scott’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order have been lifted, travel restrictions for non-essential reasons remain in place until at least May 15.

More: Hikers rescued after getting stuck on icy Sterling Pond Trail

Essential purposes are those required for personal safety, food, beverage or medicine, medical care, care of others and to perform permissible work-related duties, per Scott’s standing order. Recreational activity — such as hiking or golf — is not included.

In explaining the state’s stance on whether hiking out of state is permitted or not, a spokesman did not specify whether that also pertained to travelers who did not encounter other individuals out of state. The case was stated broadly.

More: A flatter curve doesn’t mean earlier tee times for Vermont golfers

The directions issued by the state, still in effect, read: 

“WHEREAS, the Governor has determined, in light of the significant risk posed by the further spread of this dangerous disease to Vermonters and the viability of our health care system, to direct residents and non-residents alike coming from outside the State to self-monitor and home quarantine for a period of 14 days.”

Unlike the Green Mountain State, where the Long Trail and related paths on state lands have been closed for several weeks, the Adirondack Range is open for hiking.

New York has urged people to recreate locally and avoid contact with others. The Adirondack Mountain Club noted on its website that trail conditions are unpredictable and two rangers have been pulled from its High Peaks region.

More: Social distancing? Tips for hiking and walking outside during the coronavirus outbreak

Contact Austin Danforth at 651-4851 or edanforth@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @eadanforth.

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