The Ethics of Cross State Travel to Vermont in the Time of COVID-19

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by rodmanfor3, Nov 7, 2020.

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  1. rodmanfor3

    rodmanfor3 Savant (931) Aug 11, 2014 Vermont

    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:

    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.

  2. Amendm

    Amendm Meyvn (1,120) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    You are right, in general people should avoid recreational travel. My wife and I had plans to visit my parents in Florida back in March. We cancelled our flights and hotel reservation out of an abundance of caution for us and them. The next month thousands of spring-breakers headed down to Fla, my wife and I were upset by this as it shows a general lack of consideration for the millions of Floridians in the danger age.
    Cheers and maybe I will finally visit HF some time next year.
  3. jamvt

    jamvt Devotee (401) Aug 5, 2005 Massachusetts

    Need the TLDR version. Way to many words.
  4. Piels25

    Piels25 Aspirant (248) Dec 17, 2013 Massachusetts

    Don't go to Vermont (read: Hill Farmstead) until 2021.
  5. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (289) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    America is founded upon pursuit of individual happiness, and I assume Thomas Jefferson meant pursuit of barrel-aged farmstead ales.

    [shakes head] Jesus Christ I can’t understand why people can’t sacrifice literally the most inconsequential thing(s) for the greater good. “F*** your hospitals! Masks are infringing on my basic rights.”
  6. nh2032

    nh2032 Devotee (405) Oct 15, 2009 New York

    Couldn't agree more. As someone who has been checking the website weekly for months to see if I'm allowed in I'm resigned to the fact that it won't happen anytime soon. But still I respect the rules and I'm not going to break them. After this week's update there are exactly 2 counties from all of NY, PA, NJ, CT, MA, RI and NH were leisure travel was allowed per policy and those counties represent a whopping 60k people. The Vermont rules are very strict but to this point they've managed COVID better than anywhere in the country.

    Given how seriously the team at Hill Farmstead takes their commitment to the community and state you have to wonder when they start clamping down themselves if they continue to see this behavior. The retail shop manager was interviewed on a podcast recently and mentioned he already had been following up with people placing extremely large orders since curbside started trying to weed out potential resellers, etc.
  7. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (2,137) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    But... but... Susan cans and Poetica 3 2L growlers!!

    By the way, if you want to know where all the VT license plates are, come over to our side of the river and check out the parking lot at any Home Depot. I mean, sure, dying of Covid sucks but you start talking 6% sales tax and life gets real cheap real fast.
  8. Kozaka

    Kozaka Defender (617) Apr 25, 2006 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    I’ll keep my distance in exchange for some Arthur and Mary.
  9. eaglephile

    eaglephile Initiate (164) Jan 12, 2009 Massachusetts

    I agree with this of course, but the reality is that not everyone thinks this way, and many people assume they are the exception.

    Should HF not make special releases because it attracts to much traffic? There are a whole host of problems with that, but is it fair to say HF relies on out of state traffic to move product at the rate they do? Probably.

    IMHO, the only way to really stop people from traveling is through laws/EO’s and enforcement. Otherwise people will keep assuming they’re they exception.
  10. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (5,393) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    My wife & I had tentative plans to visit Vermont this summer before this whole catastrophe started roiling the waters this spring. We looked at the quarantine recommendations & decided we didn't want to be the assholes skirting the rules, especially after seeing some of the amazing selfish behavior around us.

    Unfortunately, the people who need to see this will stop reading after a few words.
  11. robo55

    robo55 Initiate (64) Oct 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    Northeast Kingdom? Seriously?!!!
  12. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Defender (603) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    It sucks but it needs to be done...
    I miss hanging out at Blackback, tasting parties, visiting Montreal, but would miss myself or anyone near and dear being alive more.
    rodmanfor3 likes this.
  13. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (289) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    Silver lining is that Canada might want us again. Let’s give them time to heal, but they’ll get there.
    skivtjerry likes this.
  14. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (294) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    OP I assume that you are also making this impassioned plea to all your fellow Vermonters not to travel out of state lest they bring back Covid across virus proof borders and you yourself have not left the state of Vermont in past 10 months.
  15. robo55

    robo55 Initiate (64) Oct 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    What needs to be done? Locking down? It’s just delaying the inevitable - everyone gets it. CDC director said the vaccine will be, at best, 60% effective. This winter is going to be bad for COVID, cases everywhere are spiking significantly.
    forum8417 likes this.
  16. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Defender (603) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Speaking for myself, I have not left Vermont for just under a year, and have no plans to do so soon. If something made going out of state necessary, I would be cautious, e.g. packing toilet paper and shitting in the woods rather than risking a public restroom, and not going out much at my destination. In fact this is pretty much how I handle the in-state travel that my job requires.
    rodmanfor3 likes this.
  17. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Defender (603) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    It's pretty simple. We don't want to be North Dakota.
  18. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (294) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    Having been to North Dakota several times pre-covid I think the sentiment holds true in any time.
  19. trevorpost

    trevorpost Meyvn (1,436) Aug 3, 2008 Pennsylvania

    It's the name of a region of Vermont - pretty widely acknowledged at that.
  20. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (294) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    whoa- just how many shits have you taken in the woods?
  21. Newport_beerguy

    Newport_beerguy Defender (646) Feb 24, 2011 Rhode Island

    Your state may not have beer as good as Hill Farmstead, but every state has pretty good fucking beer at this point, so why the need to travel to a hospital under-served area?
    DrStiffington, rozzom and skivtjerry like this.
  22. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Defender (603) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    None this week, but quite a few... I live on a dead-end dirt road 9 miles from the nearest town. If I'm working in the woods for a few hours TP is in my kit. And due to an unfortunate stomach bug accident a few years ago, I have TP in my personal vehicle and my work bag at all times. It has proven handy once or twice.
    rodmanfor3 likes this.
  23. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Defender (602) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Vermont hotel and inn operators have some responsibility here too. I haven’t been up, but I know it’s a real *wink wink* check the box thing when it comes to checking in out of state guests.
  24. RyeRocco

    RyeRocco Initiate (51) Mar 26, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Thats exactly what most of do when we visit hill farmstead from out of state. We stay in our cars, wear masks and only get out at the destination to load our beer.
  25. nesarebad

    nesarebad Zealot (522) Feb 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    I only travel out of state with a negative COVID test in hand (within 48-72 hours). I quarantine back at home until I have a negative COVID test in hand. Thankfully, this is possible with the local testing available to us here.

    Edit - I have not been to Vermont
  26. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (278) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    Explore your own state. I guarantee you haven’t been to every part of your state. Shit, I went from a Berkshires virgin to someone who has spent multiple long weekends there and I love it.
  27. nesarebad

    nesarebad Zealot (522) Feb 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    Do they have those dank farmhouse beers there tho?
    Lucoli likes this.
  28. robo55

    robo55 Initiate (64) Oct 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.
  29. robo55

    robo55 Initiate (64) Oct 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    There’s an incubation period of 7 days where you can test negative and still be infected.
    Jwale73 likes this.
  30. nesarebad

    nesarebad Zealot (522) Feb 4, 2012 Massachusetts

    It is up for debate...
  31. cskollmann

    cskollmann Initiate (67) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts

    This is irresponsible. Limiting spread is respecting other people's rights. It is not inevitable.
  32. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (278) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    There is no substitution for Hill Farmstead since they are the best brewery in the world. In the Berkshires I suggest Shire Breu Hous. They make nice saisons, kettle sours, ipas which you may find in cans in the Berkshires finer liquor stores.
  33. Marksniat

    Marksniat Initiate (21) Jul 26, 2020 Vermont

    "we?". people have been pouring across the border without let up since this began. It started during ski season and at the height of sugaring season. People should act responsibly, but Im looking at the stats and am not seeing much of a rise. 21 new cases, 1 death in 3 months.
    The Department of Health reported on its dashboard Saturday the 59th death from Covid-19 in Vermont, the first since July 28.
    If anyone wants to buy a house in Vermont mine is for sale.

    The department also reported 21 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total cases confirmed in Vermont since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,347.

    New cases were reported in the following counties:

    • Chittenden: 4
    • Washington: 4
    • Windsor: 3
    • Caledonia: 3
    • Addison: 1
    • Bennington: 1
    • Essex: 1
    • Windham: 1
    • Grand Isle: 1
    • Lamoille: 1
    • Orange: 1
    #33 Marksniat, Nov 8, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  34. Marksniat

    Marksniat Initiate (21) Jul 26, 2020 Vermont

    Berkshires have some of the best breweries on the east coast, Brick and Feather, New City, Fort Hill...
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  35. Marksniat

    Marksniat Initiate (21) Jul 26, 2020 Vermont

  36. LakesideBrewing

    LakesideBrewing Initiate (97) Dec 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    Agreed that everyone should take all precautions necessary when going anywhere. No big gatherings, masks inside and, in some cases, outside, hand washing, etc. It is certainly the people that are ignoring these guidelines that are spending this virus, not the people responsible following the rules, regardless if they travel across a state line. I’m sure some people here will just blame us Massachusetts residents and that’s cool, I get it. But, and this is an honest, not being a Masshole, question: should we shut down State Borders? I’m thinking New Hampshire and Vermont small businesses would say, absolutely no. Again, honest questing.

    DeliveryMan and Marksniat like this.
  37. LakesideBrewing

    LakesideBrewing Initiate (97) Dec 1, 2013 Massachusetts

    Honest question! Haha, not questing.
    rozzom likes this.
  38. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (5,191) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Society Trader

    Why doesn't Hill just do what Tributary did with Mott the Lesser - Hold pick-ups for out-of-staters until it is safe for pick-up.
  39. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (2,137) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    You can just leave New Hampshire out of this. We have no rules. We’ll lick your open sores for a buck.
    AlcahueteJ, rozzom, meefmoff and 5 others like this.
  40. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Defender (602) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Let’s not go crazy on the hyperbole here. Some solid breweries in the Berkshires and really all over the state, and all a pretty easy drive while the weather is still nice.
    Stormfield likes this.
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