Guidelines for Section Outings


Edited Monday, May 17th, 2021

The Vermont Forward Plan Universal Guidance is the baseline guidance for the outdoor recreation sector. That is adapted below to apply to GMC Outings. You may see the full Universal Guidance here:

Additional guidance expands on practices specific to GMC Outings. This guidance applies to all trip leaders and trip participants.

  • Stay home if sick. Participants that have signs and symptoms of COVID19 or have tested positive for COVID19 are not allowed on the outing.Unvaccinated participants who have not had COVID19 in the past 90 days and have had close contact for more than 15 minutes with any person who is diagnosed with COVID19 are not allowed on the outing. See the Department of Health’s guidance for more information on exposures.
  • Masking. The State of Vermont mask guidance currently differs for fully vaccinated or unvaccinated people. We recommend all people bring a mask on their hike in case they must come in close contact with others.

Vaccinated People

Effective Saturday, May 15th, 2021, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a face covering over nose and mouth or physically distancing, except where required by federal, State or local laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Unvaccinated People

Unvaccinated people are not required to wear face coverings over nose and mouth when they are in outdoor public spaces, provided sustained or prolonged close contact with other unvaccinated people from outside their household can be avoided. For clarity, “sustained or prolonged contact” is defined as more than several minutes. “Close contact” is defined as being less than six feet from an individual from outside your household. For example, masking would not be required when passing someone on the sidewalk or at an outdoor market. Put another way, when you are outdoors, masks are only required when you are in a crowd or with multiple other households where you cannot avoid close contact.

  • Ensure sixfoot spaces and uncrowded places. All hike participants should maintain at least 6feet of social distancing on the outing outside of your household. Fully vaccinated participants may gather closer than 6feet.
  • Practice good hygiene. Hike participants should avoid sharing food, gear or equipment amongst outside of their household unless the other participant is fully vaccinated. In the event that you must share it is recommended to sanitize the shared item prior and wash or sanitize hands afterwards. Follow other practices of good hygiene.
  • Think before you travel. Follow the state’s travel guidance and educate your hike participants about the state’s policies. As of May 14, 2021, there are no testing or quarantine requirements before or after travel, except for international travel. CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID19.

Guidance Specific to GMC

  • Carpoolingcarpooling is OK for those who are fully vaccinated, which is defined as 14 days after your final vaccine dose. If all carpoolers are fully vaccinated masking is not necessary. Each carpool vehicle may contain people who are not fully vaccinated from no more than one household.
  • ParkingHave a backup plan if the parking lot is at or over capacity.
  • As a result of the May 1 update to Events and Gatherings,leaders are no longer required to submit a contact tracing log to the GMC after each hike.
  • As regular trip planning, it is recommended that each trip leader require RSVP for trips to ensure leader and participant are prepared for the hike.
  • Hike OptionsAim for a route that is less likely to be crowded on the day and time of the trip. Consider weekdays or early starts. This is a good opportunity to get out on less traveled trails.
  • Group SizeLimit outings to 10 hikers, including leaders. If you must go over 10 break up into two smaller groups.

COVID19 Resources

ACCD Vermont Forward Plan: Events and Gatherings

Extension of State of Emergency Declared March 13, 2020; and Use of Facial Coverings

Vermont Forward Plan; Gov. Scott’s Phased Reopening Plan

Agency of Commerce and Community Development CrossState Travel

Vermont Department of Health COVID19 FAQs

For questions, concerns or comments related to this guidance contact Lorne Currier, Volunteer and Education Coordinator,, 8022418329.