COVID-19 Impacts for
Cape Cod Vacationers

Information & Updates

UPDATE: December 26, 2020

Beginning today, the maximum capacity limit for many venues has been reduced again - this time to 25%.

Here's the Governor's recent order.

UPDATE: December 13, 2020

As of midnight, Massachusetts has gone back to Re-Opening Phase 3, Step 1. Here are just a few of the changes:

  • Maximum capacity limits are reduced 40% in the following places, among others: retail, lodging (common areas), museums, libraries, gyms and health clubs, movie theaters (no more than 50 people per theater), and places of worship.

  • At restaurants and other sit-down dining venues: patrons must wear masks at all times when not eating/drinking; maximum of 6 persons per table; 90-minute time limit per table; no musical performances at restaurants; no food court seating at malls.

  • In private residences: indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.

  • Face coverings are required in all public places for everyone over 5 years of age.

  • Travel restrictions are still in place for anyone coming to MA from a state other than Hawaii.

Here's a link to the latest MA Covid-19 requirements.

UPDATE: November 28, 2020

We're now down to one "lower risk" state: Hawaii.

If you're coming to MA from anywhere other than Hawaii, here's what you need to know

UPDATE: November 21, 2020

The list of "lower risk" states has been reduced to two: Vermont and Hawaii.

If you're coming to MA from any other state, be prepared to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive or to prove that you've tested negative for COVID no more than 3 days before your arrival.

UPDATE: November 6, 2020

New executive orders and advisories take effect today.

The "Stay at Home Advisory" instructs that we should stay at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs, and taking a walk are allowed.

In addition, per Governor Baker's latest Executive Orders:

  • many businesses, activities and entertainment venues are required to close by 9:30 p.m.

  • face masks are required in all public places - even when you're able to maintain 6' of social distancing

  • indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to a maximum of 10 people, and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people

Read the new orders and advisories here ...

The list of "lower risk" states currently includes:

  • District of Columbia

  • Hawaii

  • Maine

  • New Hampshire
  • New York

  • Vermont

  • Washington

Please see my October 5th update to learn what you must do if you're coming to Cape Cod from a state that's not on the list.

UPDATE: October 25, 2020

The list of "lower risk" states currently includes:

  • California

  • Connecticut

  • District of Columbia

  • Hawaii

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • Vermont

  • Washington

Please see my October 5th update (below) to learn what to do if you're coming to Cape Cod from a state that's not on the list.

UPDATE: October 5, 2020

The list of "lower risk" states has been scaled back. It now includes only the following states:

  • Connecticut

  • New Hampshire

  • New York
  • Maine

  • Vermont

  • Washington, DC

* IMPORTANT - The list of lower-risk states is subject to change at any time as the COVID situation in each state changes.

Please be sure to check the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' official list before making your travel plans!

If you'll be visiting Massachusetts from a state that's not on the lower-risk list, and you don't meet one of the limited exemptions, then you MUST:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival;

  • Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.

If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, visitors, and residents must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.

Failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.

UPDATE: September 22, 2020

Here's the current list of "lower risk" states:

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Maine

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico

  • New York

  • Oregon

  • Vermont

  • Washington

* Please see my August 1st update for travel implications of lower risk vs. higher risk state designation.

UPDATE: September 9, 2020

The list of "lower risk" states now includes:

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Maine

  • New Hampshire

  • New Jersey

  • New York
  • Oregon

  • Pennsylvania

  • Vermont

  • Washington

  • West Virginia

  • Wyoming

UPDATE: August 29, 2020

As I mentioned in my August 1, 2020 update (below), Massachusetts' COVID-19 requirements are somewhat relaxed for visitors coming into MA from a "lower risk" state. 

A few states have recently been added to the lower-risk list. It now includes:

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Maine

  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey

  • New York

  • Pennsylvania

  • Vermont

  • West Virginia

* Please see my August 1, 2020 update to learn what you'll need to do if you plan to come to Massachusetts from a state that's not on the lower-risk list.

UPDATE: August 15, 2020

Just a quick FYI:

Due to over-crowding/lack of social distancing by beachgoers in recent weeks, the Town of Mashpee's Board of Selectmen have restricted the town's beaches to residents only.

Please, everyone ... if you're coming to the Cape, do your part to keep other towns from following suit. Follow all Covid-19 guidelines when you're at the beach!

  • Limit your group to less than 10 people.

  • Maintain at least 12 feet between towel/beach blanket areas.

  • Wear your mask when you're walking on the beach and going to/from the parking lot.

UPDATE: August 1, 2020

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has issued a new Travel Order, effective today. 

Unless you're coming into Massachusetts from a "lower risk state" (see below) or you meet one of the other limited exceptions to the Order, you'll be required to:

1. Complete a special travel form before coming into Massachusetts. 

2. Quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours before your arrival in Massachusetts.

If your COVID-19 test result has not been received prior to arrival, you must quarantine until you receive a negative test result.

Failure to comply may result in a fine of $500 per day.

These requirements apply to visitors and to MA residents who have been out of state. Limited exceptions apply.

The "lower risk states" are: 

  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Vermont

Before making any travel plans, please click here for everything you need to know about the Massachusetts Travel Order.

UPDATE: July 6, 2020

Phase 3 re-opening is underway on the Cape. Historical and cultural sites, museums, outdoor performance venues, health and fitness centers, and some indoor recreational activities now have the green light to open.

Does that mean they'll all be open when you get here? Not necessarily. Some have already cancelled for the season. Others will open whenever they're prepared to welcome visitors.

Please be sure to check directly with the business, venue, attraction, etc. for details before you make any plans!

UPDATE: July 1, 2020

Hello from sunny Cape Cod!

With summer in full swing, lots of people have been asking me, "What's it like on the Cape now?" So, in this update I'll give you my insights on the things people are most curious about ...

Traffic Conditions - The last few weekends have (almost) seemed like "normal" summer with traffic at the bridges. There were miles-long traffic back-ups coming on-Cape on Friday and going off-Cape on Sunday. I've noticed an up-tick in traffic volume on our local roads, too. I expect this trend to continue for the Independence Day holiday weekend and in the weeks to come.

*Note: If you're wondering about the best times to travel on or off-Cape, have a look at my traffic page for suggestions.

Vacation Rentals - When Phase 2 re-opening was announced in June, the Cape Cod vacation rental market went off-the-charts crazy!

Many vacationers who normally come to the Cape for a week in the summer have opted to stay for 2 weeks, a month, or all summer. And they've been super-quick to snap up their preferred rental property.

Needless to say, property owners/managers are thrilled that their rental calendars are filled - or nearly filled - for July, August and even into September. For vacationers, though, vacation rental vacancies are getting tougher to find with every day that passes.

If you're planning to come to the Cape this summer, and you haven't reserved your rental yet, I highly recommend that you do it sooner than later.

*Note: As of this morning, some of the properties I've featured on my vacation rental page still have a few open weeks. If you see one you like, jump on it before someone beats you to it!

Hotels, Motels & Inns - They're filling up quickly, too. If you're hoping to stay at a hotel, motel or inn - especially one that's on the beach - it's a good idea to reserve your room soon to avoid disappointment.

Beaches - Cape Cod National Seashore officials have announced that the Seashore will re-open on July 2nd, with some restrictions:

  • Salt Pond Visitors Center in Eastham and Province Lands Visitors Center in Provincetown will remain closed for the season. Orientation services and information will be offered outdoors on the Centers' grounds.

  • Programming and historical building will remain closed.

  • Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro and Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown will not be life-guarded. All other National Seashore-managed beaches will be staffed with lifeguards.

  • Rest room facilities at the beaches will be open. Shower rooms will remain closed.

  • Beginning on July 2nd, beach entrance fees/passes will be required at all National Seashore beaches except Head of the Meadow.

  • Beach entrance fees and passes may be purchased at beach booths. No passes will be issued at the Visitors Centers.

  • Massachusetts' COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing, mask-wearing, beach games, etc., remain in effect.

*Note: I haven't seen or heard any announcement about private beach campfires at Cape Cod National Seashore beaches, so I don't know when (or if) they'll be allowed in 2020.

When the National Seashore re-opens, I'll speak with a ranger about the Seashore's plans for beach campfires and issuing permits. As soon as I have any new info to share with you, I'll post it on my beach campfires page.

Until my next update ...

Stay well, everyone! Best wishes for a safe and fun Independence Day weekend!!

~ Dee

UPDATE: June 19, 2020

Beginning this coming Monday, June 22nd, Massachusetts will begin the second stage of Phase 2 re-opening. 

Restaurants will be allowed to open for indoor service under strict hygiene, social distancing, and other health-related guidelines.

Restaurants with outdoor dining spaces will continue to seat and serve outdoors. Take-out is always an option, too!

UPDATE: June 8, 2020

Slowly but surely, it's beginning to feel like summer on Cape Cod. 

As of today, Massachusetts has entered Phase 2 of re-opening.

  • Hotels and other lodgings are finally allowed to welcome guests again. (They won't be able to host events, meetings and functions until a later phase.)

  • Restaurants may serve customers in outdoor seating areas.

  • Retail stores may open with occupancy limits.

  • Historical sites may re-open their outdoor spaces to visitors, although no guided tours or interior visits are allowed quite yet.

  • Playgrounds, public pools and other outdoor recreation areas will be opening up again, too.

  • Beaches are open. Services and amenities may be limited. Parking stickers/passes may be required to park a vehicle in the beach parking lot.

* Note: Social distancing and personal protection/hygiene guidelines are still in effect. Please follow the guidelines on your visit to the Cape. Let's make this a fun, safe summer for everyone!

For more details about Phase 2 re-opening, check out this article from MassLive.

May 20, 2020

Dear Friends:

I hope you and your loved ones are staying well and making the best of these challenging times. 

By now, you're probably aware that Massachusetts is in Phase 1 of a 4-phase re-opening plan.

What does that mean for this coming Memorial Day and beyond?

Memorial Day

Beaches. The Cape's beaches are open now, as they have been all along. What hasn't been open is the parking lots.

That will change on Memorial Day (May 25th). Parking lots will re-open at most beaches, but parking spaces will be limited to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Many beaches that are normally lifeguarded will not be. Rest rooms, changing rooms, indoor showers, water stations, etc., will remain closed. Beach wheelchairs will not be available.

Beach-goers will be required to follow Phase 1 rules, including but not limited to:

  • social distancing - 6 feet person-to-person, 12 feet between beach blanket/towel areas

  • group gatherings - 10 people maximum per group

  • face masks - required if appropriate social distancing isn't possible, not required while swimming

  • beach activities - volleyball, bocce and other organized games are prohibited

Lodgings. Hotels, motels, inns, vacation rentals, etc. will not re-open to vacationers until Phase 2. Phase 2 is not expected to happen until June 8th at the earliest.

Food. Grocery stores are open. Restaurants will offer curb-side pick up/take-out only.

Activities, Attractions & Events. It's hit or miss, depending on whether social distancing and other health measures are possible in each setting.

For up-to-date information, confirm directly with the venue/sponsor before you make plans to go.

Beyond Phase 1

We're all looking forward to the day when we can have Cape Cod back as we know and love it.

I'm cautiously hopeful that Massachusetts' COVID numbers in MA will continue to go in the right direction allowing Phase 2 to kick in on or around June 8th.

Until then, if you do come to the Cape ... please, please, please follow the guidelines.

And if there's even a remote chance that you might be carrying the virus, please put your visit to the Cape off for a few more weeks.



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