Please refer to the State of Vermont's official website for information regarding guidelines for cross state travel to Vermont. The link can be found here: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/restart/cross-state-travel The map is updated weekly on Tuesdays. It should serve as a guide for out-of-state travelers looking to visit Vermont for leisure travel throughout the course of the pandemic. I bring this resource up because I have noticed a significant increase in the number of out-of-state travelers visiting Vermont during the past two months. While Vermont -and Vermonters alike- appreciate the economic boost that non-resident travelers have brought to the area, we are also very much concerned about the health and safety of our people and our communities. We urge travelers to exercise caution -and restraint- when deciding to visit our great state during this pandemic. The number of new cases of COVID-19 emerging in our state, specifically in the Northeast Kingdom, is alarming. After doing so well to contain the virus over the past six months, infection rates are on the rise. This spike in the number of newly diagnosed cases coincides with the increase in the number of out-of-state tourists that visited Vermont during the foliage season. Given the individual accounts of those who tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, it seems that those working the restaurant/service industry are at an increased risk of exposure to the virus, likely due to the influx in the number of travelers to our state. I personally noticed a large number of out-of-state license plates in the region during September and October in popular tourist locations like the hiking trails around Lake Willoughby in Westmore, and at Kingdom Trails in Lyndonville, but more recently, I have observed an influx in the number of regional travelers making their way up to Hill Farmstead. During four separate visits to the brewery this fall, I have noticed a gradual increase in the number of travelers from out-of-state. Earlier in the year, the breakdown of Vermont plates to non-Vermont plates at the brewery was around 1:2. During the CD30 release, it was about 1:5. This week, during the Samuel release, it was almost 1:25. When I arrived at Hill Farmstead during my specified pick-up window this week, there was a long line of cars stretching out onto Hill Road, extending out several telephone poles deep, almost to where the overflow parking lot is by the field adjacent to the brewery. My wait time was approximately 35 minutes. During this time, I counted the number of out-of-state plates that dropped by the brewery, along with the green Vermont plates that occasionally made an appearance. In total, I saw 47 out-of-state plates at Hill Farmstead during my pick-up window; I saw only one other Vermont plate besides my own picking up beer at the brewery during that same time frame. I understand that the craft beer FOMO for a release like Samuel is huge, and that the need to acquire a hyped beer overrides all logic, but I would urge out-of-state travelers to think twice before visiting our beautiful state during the time of COVID. While some may argue that a limited number of individuals who visited the brewery this week may have actually quarantined (per protocol) in Vermont prior to their trip to Hill Farmstead, or traveled here from counties with less than 400 active cases per million, the reality is that most travelers to Vermont are simply not in compliance with the regulations set forth by the State of Vermont and our governor. The point I am trying to make is that your actions have consequences. Your visit to Vermont, as therapeutic as it may have been for you, likely put others in harm's way. The locals you came into contact with, including the staff at Hill Farmstead, the employees at the gas station where you made a pit stop, the wait staff and kitchen crew at the restaurant where you ate lunch or dinner, etc., were all potentially (and needlessly) exposed to harmful pathogens as a result of your actions and decisions. Here in the Northeast Kingdom, we have a total of two critical access hospitals servicing the needs of our entire region. What this means is that at any one point, the area has only a total maximum capacity of no more than 50 hospital beds (25 beds per facility), spread throughout an area ranging three separate counties. These critical access hospitals are designed to discharge patients, on average, less than 96 hours after admission; they are not intended to hold patients for long-term care. Most of these facilities only have one or two ICU beds, total. If we were to have a mass COVID-19 outbreak in the area, the medical infrastructure here will not be able to sustain itself. I understand that many people are suffering from COVID-fatigue. I understand how appealing Vermont looks to you. I understand how difficult it is to stay home and pass on a Hill Farmstead release, especially when Shaun Hill writes lofty paragraphs about the life-changing qualities of his magical, ancestral, and philosophical beers on Instagram. But what I am asking all of you to do is to strongly consider staying at home during this crisis, regardless of whether coveted beer releases are still taking place throughout the state. This is not a personal attack on any one individual or groups of individuals. I am not asking anyone to defend themselves or their actions. What I am asking of you, the craft beer community, is to consider the consequences of your actions as it pertains to the health and safety of the communities you choose to visit during the time of COVID-19. In the case of Vermont, and in particular the Northeast Kingdom, your best course of action may be to hold off on visiting us for a while. Save up your money and vacation time, and come visit us in 2021, when hopefully, the world will have returned to a state of normalcy. And, if you must visit us, please review the guidelines set forth by the State of Vermont regarding travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, and be sure to follow protocol to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Cheers!