As paddlesports outfitters, guides and enthusiasts we are all trying to gaze into our crystal balls to see what our industry will look like as we emerge from COVID-19 isolation. There are still a lot of unknowns on what the next 6 months or a year will hold, but the State of Maine is offering a glimpse of what easing the rules might look like as COVID-19 cases wane and states begin to relax restrictions.
The State of Maine has issued guidance on a phased plan to begin to re-open business in the state of Maine. It includes specific guidance for business sectors, including outfitters & guides, in preparation for the first phase of business re-openings as the number of COVID-19 cases begins to decrease.
Maine is one of the premier destinations for paddlesports enthusiasts of all stripes and a favorite destination for Boston area paddlers. Maine boasts several world-class white water rivers, an extensive network of lakes and rivers for canoeists and flatwater paddlers, as well as some of the best sea kayaking in the world along the Maine Island Trail. Maine’s economy depends, in no small measure, on revenue from outdoor recreation so it’s not surprising that Maine has been carefully considering the requirements for outfitters and guides as they prepare to relax restrictions in the state.
For Boston area paddlers hoping to get out on Maine waters this spring or summer with their favorite outfitter or guide, the guidance will disappoint. In part, the Phase 1 guidance for outfitters and guides states that
Out-of-state clients will not participate in Guided Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Activities until the Executive Order requiring a 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors is lifted by the State.Emphasis added. Source: https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists
In Stage 2 and Stage 3, which is tentatively being planned for the July/August timeframe, the guidance suggests relaxing restrictions on out of state visitors provided they meet the 14-day quarantine requirement. This means that any visits to Maine would require the first 14 days of your trip to be in self-quarantine and only then would you be eligible to participate in guided activities.
Visitors with second homes or camps in Maine have the option to travel to Maine, isolate for 14 days and spend the rest of the summer enjoying Maine’s recreation opportunities. For the rest of us, the 14-day requirement will realistically prevent us from traveling to Maine this summer to enjoy a week or a weekend of paddling.
As with all plans during the pandemic, these requirements are subject to change as conditions change around the country and the region. The Boston Paddling Activities Committee will be monitoring the situation closely will share any changes in outdoor recreation policies with our members.