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Travel Planning During Coronavirus

Updated 9/26/2020 7:15 AM

With all the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, many of you are looking for some clarity regarding Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket vacation rentals. We observed that visitors during Summer 2020 were able to enjoy their vacations and continue to do so into the off-season. However, it requires extra effort by all to maintain your safety and the safety of the Cape & Islands community.

Whether you have already booked a home or are considering doing so, here is some information that might be helpful.

 

Booking a Vacation Rental

Q: What is the current status of short-term vacation rentals in Massachusetts? Are they allowed now?

A: Yes, as of Monday, June 8, 2020, all short-term rentals are permitted.

Gov. Baker announced on June 6, that Phase 2 of the Massachusetts Re-Opening Plan will begin on Monday, June 8. Vacation Rentals were included in Phase 2 as part of opening all lodging (hotels, motels, inns and short-term rentals).

All rental owners are required to follow the Safety Standards and Checklist developed by the State of Massachusetts.

Q. What is considered a short-term rental?

Short-term is any vacation rental that is rented for 31 or fewer days.

Q: I am traveling from out-of-state. Do I need to quarantine for 14-days?

A: Gov. Baker announced a new restriction for anyone entering the state of Massachusetts. All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, who do not meet an exemption, are required to:

  • Complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless you are visiting from a lower-risk state designated by the Department of Public Health.
  • 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.

This travel order went into effect on August 1.

Lower-risk State Exception: Anyone traveling from a lower-risk state are exempt. As of September 25, 2020, this includes Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Washington. The list of states will be maintained by the Department of Public Health. View details of Lower-risk states

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

For full details, view the Mass.gov COVID-19 Travel Order

Q: What if my COVID-19 test has not been received prior to arrival?

A: If you are visiting from outside of the lower-risk states, and your test results are not available yet, then you must quarantine until you receive a negative test result.

 

House Cleaning

Q: What advice are you providing homeowners regarding extra cleaning this year?

A: In accordance with the Massachusetts "Safety Standards and Checklist: Operators of Lodgings", we have provided all our owners with a Cleaning Checklist and Cleaning Log to be followed between each guests' stay.

We have also contacted a number of cleaning companies to learn about the extra measures they will be taking this summer. Many of them are adding additional staff and will need a longer period of time to be sure that the home is safe for the next renters.

We are also urging them to reach out to their guests to inform them about extra measures they will be taking this year to ensure their guests’ safety.

Q: What are your recommendations to minimize our risk of contagion in vacation rental homes?

A: Prior to your arrival, check with the owner/manager about extra cleaning procedures they have adopted for this year.

Owners and property managers have been advised to provide cleaning and disinfecting agents for your use during your stay.

Guests should bring their own face masks and other sanitizing products (e.g. hand sanitizer) to ensure recommended hygiene practices are followed during their stay

Even if linens are provided, you may offer to bring your own.

Consider arriving a day later and/or leaving a day earlier to allow more time for the home to be adequately disinfected between guests.

 

Cancellation Policies

Q: Does WeNeedaVacation.com have a "cancellation policy"?

A: Although cancellation policies are up to the individual homeowner or property manager, we have been communicating with the owners who advertise their homes on our website with information and advice about cancellations. We recognize that these are extraordinary circumstances and are advising homeowners to adjust their policies accordingly.

Q: Do you offer trip insurance?

A: We do not offer trip insurance through our site, but these companies do:

And TravelInsurance.com and SquareMouth are sites that will allow you to compare the rates of various companies. Be sure the coverage you choose protects you adequately. Unless you purchase a “CFAR” (Cancel for Any Reason) policy, it may not cover a situation such as this COVID-19 crisis.

Q: How is your company different from the other multi-national sites?

A: A fundamental difference between us and our Big Box competitors is that we do not process the bookings, hold deposits on behalf of the owner, or charge you a service fee. Rather than a booking platform, we are a marketing one. Thus, the entire legal and financial transactions are controlled by the homeowner or manager.

Having said that, however, we take a very active role in providing our homeowners/managers with as much guidance and support as possible to ensure a high quality of management and professionalism. This is for their sakes as well as for their guests’ experiences. In multiple communications, we have urged them to be as understanding and lenient as possible in terms of their cancellation policies during these difficult times.

Q: Have there been any changes to the Steamship Authority’s reservation policies or schedules?

A: It’s always best to check the SSA’s website for up-to-date information about their policies and schedules: SteamshipAuthority.com

 

Beaches & Restaurants

Q: Are the beaches open?

A: The beaches are open. Massachusetts has published beach safety and re-opening standards for all beach managers and visitors to follow. Many beaches will reduce the capacity of their parking lots. During the summer, most towns that offer visitor beach stickers for multiple days, a week or full season, will only sell stickers online or by mail. For specific beaches, it is recommended that you check the town's website for the most up-to-date information on parking and facilities.

Learn more about the Beach Guidelines.

Q: Are restaurants open?

A: Many restaurants are already open for take-out or delivery and as of June 8, restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining provided they followed the State's mandatory safety standards and recommended best practices.

Some towns have established special rules allowing certain restaurants to expand outdoor seating options.

As of Monday, June 22, indoor dining is also permitted. Indoor dining will have some restrictions such as reduced capacity to ensure appropriate distance between tables.

Q: What businesses are opening in Phase 3?

A: On Monday, July 6, Step One of Phase III started.

Businesses eligible to reopen, subject to industry-specific rules concerning capacity and operations, include the following:

  • Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues
  • Museums, cultural and historical sites
  • Certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact

Businesses are expected to open at different rates and with some restrictions on hours or capacity, so check the businesses' website or call prior to visiting. For more info, see Mass.gov Phase 3

 

Vacationing Responsibly & Safely

Q: What recommendations do you have for planning a trip to the Cape & Islands?

A: In order to make your trip safe, enjoyable and stress-free as possible, view our useful tips and advice on how to prepare, what to bring and vacation responsibly.

Learn more about Vacationing Safely and Responsibly.

Other Questions

These are unique and unprecedented times, and we ask for your patience and understanding, just as we have asked of our homeowners and managers. We truly believe that, by working together and having realistic expectations for this summer, the Cape & Islands can be a most welcome relief in these difficult times!

We invite you to contact the owner or manager of the home you have booked or are considering booking, or feel free to call or email us with any questions or concerns you may have.