December 22 Update: The leaders of MVTA have evaluated the most recent rules and guidance issued by the governor and relevant State agencies related to COVID. As of November 13, biking, hiking, walking, running, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, photography and nature walks were allowed with proper social distancing and masking, and open to Vermont residents and those who meet quarantine and testing requirements. We were in good shape then. However on November 20, the State revised the guidance to state that these activities can only take place among household members with at most one non-household member. Now as of December 22, the state is again encouraging outdoor recreation with standard protections. With this in mind and consistent with the guidelines we have developed the following plan to safely meet the needs of our members:
This policy is based on the current guidance and will be updated as necessary. The new policy as of December 22 is below:
- Any social events remain suspended. This includes the monthly potluck meetings normally hosted by our members. We have also paused on planning small gatherings at the end of a hike or ski. One potential exception are the January, February and March brunch meetings that normally include skiing and snowshoeing on the host's property. The brunch and social aspects remain suspended, but the skiing and snowshoeing may take place.
- Our trips can now restart under the State's protocol. Per the guidance, we will require that masks must be worn regardless of distance, only handle your own equipment, and any trips with more than 10 people will be split into groups consisting of no more than 10. The latter typically happens anyway.
- Per the State’s guidance, our trips will be open to Vermont residents and those from other states who have quarantined for 14 days, or 7 days plus a negative PCR test. As with ski areas, we don't request proof of testing, but request compliance.
- If any member is feeling ill, please do not attend an event (and get checked out!).
- These plans are subject to change as the Vermont rules and guidance change, for better or worse.
4.1 Outdoor Recreation and Fitness
Vermonters are encouraged to participate in no contact outdoor recreation and fitness activities.
- Outdoor recreation and fitness activities include, but are not limited to biking, hiking, walking, running, hunting and fishing, skiing, skating, snow machining and other outdoor activities.
Anyone participating in outdoor recreation and fitness activities must wear a cloth face covering.
All participants are expected to consistently maintain at least six feet of physical distance from anyone outside their immediate household.
Plan outdoor activities responsibly and do not take unnecessary risks.
- Winter conditions can change quickly; be prepared for a backcountry emergency by carrying enough gear and extra warm clothing to be self-sufficient for an extended period of time.
Promote an “arrive, participate, and leave” mentality; do not gather at trailheads, access areas or other outdoor facilities before or after recreation and fitness activities.
Nothing in these guidelines should be interpreted to override the need to observe requirements for use of trails or property, including that users obtain appropriate permission from private landowners where required and the expectation that, where needed, users will check with state or local land managers regarding conditions that remain in effect.