Your 2020 Cape Cod Vacation & COVID-19

UPDATE: June 30, 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 earlier this month, 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 to have their rental calendars filled - or nearly filled - for July, August and even into September. For vacationers, though, finding an available vacation rental is becoming more and more challenging 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, or someone will probably beat 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 on Friday, 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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