MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH SLOWLY OPENS JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER SEASON
North Conway, NH – After months of quarantine, juggling home schooling with remote working, sewing and wearing masks and standing in lines for groceries, travelers are itching to get out and enjoy their summer vacations. With a number of summer camps cancelled in other states, families are seeking alternatives but hoping to find locations offering extensive outdoor recreation possibilities, lodging and restaurant options, and above all, a safe environment for travel. As America moves slowly toward re-opening, Mt Washington Valley offers the ideal location for East Coast travelers to dip their toes back into travel. Surrounded by 770,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, and filled with family attractions, tax-free shopping and plenty of lodging and restaurant options, all now allowed to open with safety, with cleanliness and distancing requirements integrated and in one secure place, visitors can begin to plan summer vacations within driving distance when they choose Mt Washington Valley.
New Hampshire has now moved into Phase 2 of Governor Sununu’s Reopening Plan, entitled Stay At Home 2.0. While the picture shifts regularly with additional guidelines for re-opening New Hampshire, a handy guide to generally what’s open in New Hampshire is here. From there, a click through to the individual guidelines offers a complete rules and outlines for operations.
While the Governor’s guidance may allow businesses to open, not all will re-start their businesses immediately. Many businesses are working on staffing, new cleaning and safety protocols, acquiring PPE and other approvals or circumstances. Be sure to check with individual businesses for their hours and opening dates. In addition, since guidance is changing constantly, these opening dates are fluid. This outlines what’s open as of June 16, 2020.
In every case where tourism sectors are open in New Hampshire, social distancing, masks and universal cleaning and safety rules will be in effect.
Outdoor Attractions/activities: Outdoor activities situated in recreational or natural settings that occur individually or in small groups of 10 people or less are now allowed to open in New Hampshire. This includes centers for biking, canoe and kayak rentals, mini-golf, outdoor driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, small fishing charters, paint ball, outdoor guiding services (fishing, hunting, hiking, ziplines), and other small group outdoor activities. Inland beaches have been re-opened with limits on occupancy and picnic tables removed. Social distancing, required masks, limitations on group sizes and more plus universal guidelines for employers will be in place.
Tourist Trains were allowed to re-open on June 15, 2020. Larger amusement parks and are allowed to re-open starting on June 29, 2020. Check with individual attractions to find out individual schedules.
Golf: Mt Washington Valley’s ten golf courses may now open to the public, along with golf courses throughout New Hampshire. Group play of no more than four may be permitted with tee times spaced at least 10 minutes apart. Pro Shops / Clubhouses may now open, including all indoor check-in and merchandising, and will follow Retail Guidelines. Personal clubs must be used; no rental sets or sharing of clubs are presently allowed. Clubhouses may provide restroom availability and food operations but will be adhering to social distancing and all mandated restaurant policies. Golfers and staff are asked to wear masks in settings where social distancing is difficult. Additional rules and club protocols and schedules may vary. Be sure to check with the individual club for tee times, requirements and information.
Lodging: Under the NH Stay at Home 2.0 guidelines, guests from all states commenced to start checking in on Friday, June 5th, 2020. Guests from all states but New Hampshire will be welcomed and are required to attest in writing that all the person(s) staying at the lodging facility 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 when within less than 6 feet of another person during this 14 day “quarantine”. Lodging properties larger than 20 rooms will be operating at 50 percent occupancy (those with under 20 rooms and lodging properties that have outside room access have no occupancy limitations). In addition, enhanced housekeeping sanitation strategies after every room use will be in place. Common areas at all lodging properties are required to be closed and room service or grab and go items may serve as an alternative to hotel restaurants. Hotel restaurants are subject to restaurant rules. Masks, social distancing and safety protocols will be among other additional protocols put into place at New Hampshire’s lodging facilities. Lodging properties in Mt Washington Valley will open as they are able to put all necessary operations in place.
The Mt Washington Valley Chamber is keeping a list of lodging properties open in Mt Washington Valley. Click here for the list of lodging opening dates and additional information about new operations.
Restaurants: Restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining (where space allows), take out and curbside delivery. However, starting June 15, Stay at Home 2.0 stipulates that full indoor seated dining is allowed in Belknap, Coos, Carroll, Cheshire, Sullivan and Grafton counties and at 50 percent capacity in all other New Hampshire counties. Mt Washington Valley is in Carroll County, thus allowing all of the Valley’s restaurants to open for indoor and outdoor seating as of June 15th. Masks must be worn by guests while moving about the restaurant but are not required while seated at the table. Tables have been moved to allow a safe distance between tables. No more than six guests may be seated at the table. It’s likely that reservations are required at most restaurants, so be sure to call ahead to ensure your table. Additional restrictions may vary from restaurant to restaurant.
Stores, shops, outlets and boutiques in Mt Washington Valley and throughout New Hampshire were among the first to re-open. Procedures will be set up to limit customers in order to allow for easier social distancing inside. All employees and shoppers will be asked to wear masks while inside the stores. Look for additional guidelines here. The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce is keeping a list of all the shops that have reopened here. Here’s your chance to do some tax-free back-to-school shopping in Mt Washington Valley.
As Mt Washington Valley slowly and carefully opens along with the rest of New Hampshire, visitors are finding solace in the outdoor recreation and natural beauty of the region. For more information on visiting Mt Washington Valley, including lists of businesses now open and more information on precautions being taken, be sure to visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org for complete trip planning resources. To plan your vacation to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov and for more complete information on visiting during New Hampshire’s re-opening, here’s another great resource: https://www.visitnh.gov/covid19/reopening.
Photo: Sanitizing efforts at The Wentworth, an Elegant Country Inn. Wentworth Photo.