14-Day Quarantine Complicates Tourist Rentals

All over the country, states have instituted the two-week quarantine for hotels, inns, golf courses and other amenities to stop people from states with high COVID-19 infection rates from bringing the virus with them.

All over the country, states have instituted the two-week quarantine for hotels, inns, golf courses and other amenities to stop people from states with high COVID-19 infection rates from bringing the virus with them. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Thirty states, from Maine to Montana, have instituted either a mandatory or recommended 14-day quarantine for visitors.

This article originally appeared on Stateline.

Ken Mason is in the ninth generation of his family to run the Seaside Inn in Kennebunk Beach, Maine. He’s worried he might be the last.

What’s got him concerned are the COVID-19 rules that Maine and many other states have put in place requiring visitors from other states to quarantine for 14 days once they arrive. That won’t work for Mason. His average visitor stays three and a half days; that’s typical for tourist rentals. Mason is now limited to hosting only Maine residents or out-of-staters who agreed to quarantine for the two weeks.

All over the country, states have instituted the two-week quarantine for hotels, inns, golf courses and other amenities to stop people from states with high COVID-19 infection rates from bringing the virus with them, sickening local residents and overwhelming medical facilities.

But the requirements are devastating for people who rely on rental income from out-of-state tourists, especially those in New England or other northern climes with very short summer seasons. Even if visitors stay with a friend or relative, the 14-day quarantine means they can’t shop or go out for curbside pickup dining.

“It’s basically shut us down for the summer,” Mason said in a phone interview from his hotel near Gooch Beach, named for Mason’s wife’s ancestor Jedidiah Gooch, who ran the hotel (founded in 1660) beginning in 1756.

Mason tallied up the number of visitors from Maine last summer: nine. Most of his guests come from Massachusetts and New York — states with high numbers of coronavirus cases. He understands the reasons for the quarantine (he’s thinking about moving into the hotel to protect his own family from the few visitors who might come carrying the disease), but it’s killing his business.

Thirty states, from Maine to Montana, have instituted either a mandatory or recommended 14-day quarantine, including tourist destinations such as Arizona, Florida, Nevada and South Carolina. The rules are subject to change, however, and some states have begun to loosen other restrictions. South Carolina, for example, has allowed some beach access subject to local orders.

Maine recently allowed hotels and inns to start taking reservations again (they had been blocked) for after June 1. But the state’s two-week quarantine remains.

"People don’t go to Maine to sit in a hotel room."

Jan L. Jones, professor UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN

The varying state rules can be confusing for travelers, as well as impractical for hotels, said Jan L. Jones, professor of hospitality and tourism at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

“A lot of these smaller businesses don’t have travelers for more than a few days at a time,” she said in a phone interview. “People don’t go to Maine to sit in a hotel room. There has to be a clearer message for how the whole industry can work together. Can I go to a local restaurant for pickup?”

According to the guidelines: no, at least not in Maine. But the question remains: Can a hotel open a self-contained restaurant? Can guests order takeout — at least back to their room?

Questions like these have thrown the travel industry for a loop, along with everything else associated with COVID-19.

Catherine Prather, president of the National Tour Association, which represents tour operators, said in a phone interview that the “uncertainty in the patchwork nature of what is happening in different states and even cities within states … does add to the difficulties the tour companies are having right now. It’s understandable, but it’s absolutely frustrating.”

Prather said her organization is trying to keep a list of the rules in different states and even different countries, but it’s difficult to keep up with daily changes.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization reported international tourism though the end of March dropped 22.4% compared with the first three months of last year.

Even places where tourists can spread out, such as golf courses and campgrounds, have quarantine restrictions in place. In New Hampshire, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu issued orders allowing golf courses to open, but only for New Hampshire residents.

Sununu said this month he’s mostly worried about golfers from Massachusetts, a coronavirus hot spot. New Hampshire has stayed relatively unscathed.

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice, also a Republican, said campgrounds, cabins and lodges are open, but only to West Virginians.

"How it’s going to be policed is up to local law enforcement."

Tony Cameron, CEO MAINE TOURISM

Golf courses also are limited to in-state residents in Maine, said Tony Cameron, CEO for Maine Tourism. But enforcement is a murky area, he said in a phone interview.

“There are fines if you get caught,” he said. “How it’s going to be policed is up to local law enforcement. From our perspective, there’s a lot of gray areas.”

In New Hampshire, there are no penalties for noncompliance, Sununu admitted.

“It’s really up to the facility to make sure they’re adhering to the rules,” Sununu said at a news conference earlier this month. “We don’t have stay-at-home police that patrol the state.”

It’s a difficult balancing act between “the health of Maine people and the health of Maine’s economy,” said Kate Foye, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

“The last thing anyone wants to do is to overwhelm our health care system, put frontline responders more at risk, or potentially further destabilize our economy for an even longer period of time,” she said in an emailed statement.

Delaware beaches are slowly opening up to residents, but not to visitors from other states unless they stay quarantined for the requisite 14 days.

Year-round residents from nearby states including Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia who own summer homes at the Delaware beaches are welcome to use their houses, but are still subject to the 14-day quarantine, said Jonathan Starkey, a spokesperson for Democratic Delaware Gov. John Carney, in an email.

The Colorado Tourism Office has come up with a unique way of keeping up enthusiasm — the power of pretend. The “Waiting to CO” campaign, using the state’s two-letter abbreviation as a verb, features a kid in a helmet riding a plastic kayak down the front steps of his home and a climber in full gear scaling his fireplace stonework.

But dreaming doesn’t pay the bills or keep 205 summer employees working, according to David Woods, owner of Burnette’s Campground, a 180-site facility at York Beach, Maine, dating from 1969. He said 70% of his business comes from Massachusetts, and most of the rest from other points in the Northeast.

“We’re allowing people to come up as long as they are willing to quarantine for 14 days and making them sign a contract that if they leave, they will not be let back in,” Woods said in a phone interview.

“People are really pissed off at us, because they think it’s our doing,” Woods said. He has offered to refund money to trailer owners who pull out of their reservations by June 1. Those who opt to come after that date and self-quarantine will get a discount for losing the month of May, which can be applied to next year’s rent, he said.

His customers are loyal, he said, and might go for it. “I’m in my 60s. There are people who were there before my wife and I got married out of high school.”

Elaine S. Povich is a staff writer for Stateline.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
Erie County, PA offers all local restaurants free digital tools to plan for safe COVID reopening
Erie County, PA, USA
Online permitting and approval process during COVID-19 exceeds in-person performance numbers
Markham, ON, Canada
Chula Vista creates a Digital Equity and Inclusion Plan
Chula Vista, CA, USA

NEXT STORY: White House Open to Loosening Rules for State and Local Aid Funds, Mnuchin Says

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.