Latest Interstate Travel Restrictions
As autumn progresses and the festive season approaches, plenty of Americans are faced with COVID-complicated decisions about traveling to see family and friends around the country. Because quarantine mandates and requisite public hygiene measures are still being determined jurisdictionally, U.S. states have adopted a hodgepodge of various rules applying to travelers, often depending upon which state you’re traveling to and where you’re coming from. Some still require out-of-state visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or provide proof of a valid negative COVID-19 test to enter their states. Here’s a rundown of the latest guidance on travel restrictions by state.
All non-Alaskan residents coming from another state must either:
—Present proof of a qualifying negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their departure, and upload the results to the Alaska Travel Portal, and submit a travel declaration and self-isolation plan through the online portal;
—Purchase a COVID-19 test for $250 upon arrival in Alaska and self-quarantine at their own expense until results are reported; or
—Adhere to the work plan that their employer filed with the State of Alaska.
Out-of-state visitors spending more than a week in Alaska are also requested to take an optional second test between five and 14 days after their arrival.
In Connecticut, any traveler coming from a state that has a high rate of infection (positive testing rates higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average) is required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Travelers from affected states and territories may be able to shorten or bypass quarantine by providing a negative COVID-19 PCR test result to Connecticut’s Commissioner of Public Health. The list of impacted states is updated on a weekly basis every Tuesday. All interstate travelers must also complete an online Travel Health Form.
Following several postponements, Hawaii finally launched its pre-travel testing program on October 15, enabling interstate visitors to bypass the 14-day quarantine by providing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their arrival.
But, note that the rules are very specific: the Aloha State is only accepting results of a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) performed by one of the trusted testing partners approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. Visitors must upload test results to the state’s online Safe Travels form and complete a health questionnaire within 24 hours of departure.
In addition to the statewide pre-travel testing measure, the Big Island is also requiring a second rapid test to be taken by all passengers (ages five and over) upon arrival at the airport. Maui and Kauai are also offering optional secondary testing for visitors. Hawaii will also be conducting random surveillance by testing ten percent of travelers four days after arrival.
While Idaho hasn’t imposed statewide travel restrictions, out-of-state visitors to Ada County, which includes places like Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Garden City, Star and Kuna are “encouraged” to quarantine for 14 days if they are traveling from an area with substantial community spread or case rates higher than those in Idaho.
Though Illinois likewise hasn’t imposed statewide travel restrictions, the city of Chicago has issued an Emergency Travel Order requiring returning residents and travelers to Chicago coming from states that are experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days. At the time of publication, its list of impacted areas included 25 states and Puerto Rico.
Kansas has placed restrictions only on very specific sets of travelers. Returning residents and visitors who attended an out-of-state event or mass gathering of 500 or more people, at which individuals did not socially distance and wear masks are required to quarantine for 14 days; as is anyone who has been on a cruise ship or river cruise since March.
Kentucky is recommending that travelers coming from states with a positive testing rate of 15 percent or higher self-quarantine for 14 days. At the time of publication, 11 states were on its list of impacted states, but travelers can always check the current positivity rates for each state on the Johns Hopkins website, since those numbers are in constant flux.
Out-of-state travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or sign a Certificate of Compliance indicating that they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 (PCR or antigen tests both acceptable) within the past 72 hours. Visitors arriving in Maine from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Vermont are exempted from both quarantine and testing requirements.
All visitors, including returning residents, who do not meet exemption parameters must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, plus provide negative results of a COVID-19 test taken up to 72-hours prior to arrival or self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers coming from lower-risk states, as designated by the Department of Public Health, are exempt. Lower-risk states are defined as those with average daily cases below ten in 100,000 residents and positive test rates of under-five percent, based on a rolling seven-day average. Failure to comply with these orders may result in a $500 fine.
Travelers to New Hampshire from surrounding New England states (Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island) are exempt from quarantine orders. Those traveling from non-New England for an extended period of time are still “asked” to self-isolate for 14 days.
The governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut continue their joint incoming travel restrictions on visitors from states with significant COVID-19 spread, and visitors or returning residents coming from the impacted states must quarantine for 14 days.
Impacted states are defined as those with 1) an average daily new case rate of higher than 10 in every 100,000 residents or 2) a 10 percent or higher positivity rate, both measured over a rolling seven-day period. The list of affected states is updated online regularly, but, as of October 13, included 38 U.S. states and jurisdictions.
Those coming from affected areas are also asked to complete a voluntary online survey to provide information about where they’re traveling from and their destination.
New Mexico is requiring travelers from states considered high-risk, based on COVID-positivity rates, to self-quarantine for 14 days following their arrival or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. The list of high-risk and exempted low-risk states is updated every Wednesday. As of October 14, low-risk states included only Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington state.
In line with the Tri-State area’s joint travel advisory, New York is requiring a 14-day quarantine of all travelers coming from states with a significant degree of COVID-19 spread—defined as a daily case rate of more than 10 in every 100,000 residents or a positive testing rate of higher than ten percent, both criteria being based on a rolling seven-day average. As of October 13, the list included 38 impacted U.S. states and jurisdictions.
Those arriving by air from impacted states must complete a Traveler Health Form before leaving the airport or face a $2,000 fine. Those traveling to New York via other transportation methods, such as car or train, must fill out the form online.
Ohio is advising travelers coming from states with positive testing rates of 15 percent or higher, based on a rolling seven-day average, to self-quarantine for 14 days. As of October 14, affecting states included Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The list is updated online every Wednesday.
Pennsylvania recommends that anyone visiting or returning from areas with high incidences of COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state. As of October 16, impacted states included Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Rhode Island is requiring travelers from states and jurisdictions with positivity rates of higher than five percent to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. While the website notes that quarantining is always preferred, travelers can bypass quarantine by providing their negative results of COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or may test after entering the state and remain quarantined pending their results. As of October 12, the regularly updated list was up to 32 impacted states and jurisdictions.
Out-of-state visitors must also complete a Certificate of Compliance, attesting to their fulfillment of quarantine/testing requirements, which they’ll need to provide to their hotel or rented accommodations upon check-in, as well as an Out-of-State Travel Screening Form with their contact information and intended itinerary.
Most out-of-state visitors to Vermont will need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The state is allowing travelers from any country with less than 400 active cases of COVID-19 per one million residents to enter without quarantining. An online map of Northeastern and New England states, updated every Tuesday, identifies those counties subject to quarantine and those that are exempt.
Non-Vermont residents traveling in a personal vehicle are allowed to complete their 14-day quarantine in their home state, or complete a seven-day quarantine in their home state and obtain negative test results in order to enter Vermont without restrictions. Those arriving by air, train or bus, or from further than a direct car ride, must complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival or undergo a seven-day quarantine, followed by a negative test taken at their quarantine location in Vermont.
The nation’s capital requires persons who’ve participated in non-essential travel to or from designated high-risk states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Last updated on October 5, the list of impacted states includes Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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