Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
March 23rd, 2020
Dear AT Community,
It is with a heavy heart that we have made the difficult decision to NOT open the Quarter Way Inn on April 1st as planned. This was an incredibly tough choice to make, but we feel that we cannot operate in a manner that would meet the latest guidance on limiting the spread of coronavirus. We also stand with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in asking hikers to postpone or end their long-distance hikes for the good of all of us.
As both a thru-hiker and a hostel owner, I am keenly aware of the many different types of people that make up the community of long-distance hikers. I recognize that there will be hikers remaining on the trail – these include people who cannot get home due to travel restrictions, people who have no home to go back to, people who believe they are safer on the trail than at home, and yes, those fool-hardy people who are not taking this global pandemic seriously.
For those hikers who are in a tight spot and are remaining on trail, or frankly anyone that wants a box of backpacker food to eat while imagining themselves on the AT from the comfort of their couch, we are offering our existing stock of resupply items for sale online. Hikers can order and pay online and pick up their resupply items at the end of the driveway, or, if we are available we will deliver the order to the trailhead at mile 555.7. We will also ship resupply boxes anywhere. Hikers may also still send a resupply package to our address and we will make it available outside. No other services will be available besides resupply order pick up and package pick up. Our intent is to help hikers avoid going into town and recover some of the money we have already invested in this season. Hikers are also welcome to call us for advice on how to arrange transportation back home - we can help you research what options are still available.
As the Quarter Way Inn will remain closed for the foreseeable future, we are trying to get creative in recouping some of the money already spent. This is a new challenge for us, so we ask for patience as we work out the kinks. We also welcome any ideas you may have.
This pandemic will have an effect on everyone in the world to some degree or another. For us, it means a year without the joy of hosting hikers, a loss of income, and the delightful task of caring for my niece and nephew so my sister can focus on her critically important job. For grocery store clerks, truck drivers, pharmacists, food service workers, farmers, IT professionals, veterinarians, civil servants, gas station attendants, and other essential service providers, it means doing what needs to be done in a new and pretty scary reality. For teachers and students it means figuring out how to teach and learn remotely. For small business owners, such as the hostels, restaurants, and gear shops that rely on robust hiker traffic, the fear of going bust is real. For those who have been laid off or will be shortly, the lack of a paycheck will leave them scrambling. For health care professionals, like many of our family members and friends, it means a non-stop battle to keep people healthy and keep coronavirus from spreading. For long-distance hikers, it means deferring a sometimes life-long dream of a thru-hike or section hike and not knowing if they will have the opportunity to do it again.
Everyone’s reality is different, and everyone is struggling. In the grand scheme of things, not opening on April 1st is pretty small potatoes. When people are dying, and other people (like my sister) are putting themselves at great risk to save those people (and the rest of us), it is hard to be too upset that our hostel will remain closed and hikes will be postponed. We have made the decision to not open on April 1st out of concern and gratitude for the frontline healthcare workers who are fighting the good fight for all of us.
We urge you to follow the latest guidance from the CDC, WHO, and the ATC and just stay home. Who could have imagined we’d be able to have such a big impact on the world by staying home in our pajamas?
With love and compassion,
Tina and Brett