Vermont has updated its state quarantine rules, and now includes New Hampshire's neighboring Grafton County as an area subject to travel restrictions.
Vermont requires a quarantine for travelers to and from any county with over 400 COVID-19 cases per million. Counties with 400-799 cases are coded yellow, and those with more than 800 cases are red.
Travelers going to and from those counties must quarantine for 14 days, or 7 days with a negative COVID test.
A total of seven New Hampshire counties now have quarantine requirements in Vermont: Belknap, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford.
Grafton County now has an estimated 442 active cases per million, putting it in the yellow category. County commissioner Linda Lauer says she was caught off guard by the new restriction.
Residents of the Upper Valley travel regularly across the state border between Vermont and New Hampshire. Lauer says this restriction could impact winter tourism in the area.
“This all came as a surprise to me,” Lauer said. “Should this situation continue on, there would be an impact on our ski areas, [like] Cannon [Mountain]...so I would hope that this would not impact our ski seasons.”
She added, “We certainly, right now, are nowhere near where we were in the April, May time frame, but we are approaching it.”
The Upper Valley Aquatic Center in White River Junction, Vermont has had to restrict access to Grafton County residents. But director Joe Major says the move has resulted in more awareness about the community spread of COVID-19.
“A lot of our members are going ahead and getting the test which, quite frankly, may have been a good byproduct of the situation because you have more people that are going to get tested and find out,” Major said.
Essential travel is still allowed in all counties, which includes commuting to work, school or shopping for groceries.
This story was originally published Oct. 15, 2020 about six New Hampshire counties on Vermont's restricted travel list. It was updated Oct. 21 with news that Coos County was added to the list, so that seven of the state's 10 counties are on Vermont's restricted travel list.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story placed Cannon Mountain Ski Area in Lincoln. It is in fact in Franconia, in Grafton County.