COVID-19 in August: Your Guide to US State Travel Restrictions

COVID-19 in August: Your Guide to US State Travel Restrictions

It’s already the height of summer and, with kids readying to resume their studies soon, many Americans seek to reconnect with distant friends and family; or simply to escape the environs they’ve been stuck in since the start of the pandemic.

Road trips are proving popular this summer as a way to vacation on one’s own terms, in relative isolation, and without facing the question of whether or not to get on an airplane.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

But, given the swiftness with which the virus spreads and absent a uniform, federally-imposed containment approach, you could find yourself facing different regulations when you arrive at your destination than were present while you were planning.

Many states have mandated that inbound travelers adhere to quarantine rules upon arrival, while some have testing or pre-testing options, so you can skip the self-isolation period.

Several states have identified specific areas the country from which travelers are subject to restrictions, while others have imposed none at all.

Read on for a comprehensive list of state-specific travel restrictions currently in place across the U.S.


A State Park near Anchorage, Alaska (Photo via Leieng / iStock / Getty Images Plus )
PHOTO: A State Park near Anchorage, Alaska (Photo via Leieng / iStock / Getty Images Plus )

Alaska:

– Effective August 11, all non-residents entering the state must provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test performed within the 72 hours prior to departure.

– Testing for non-residents will no longer be available upon arrival, although Alaska residents are eligible to test onsite when they arrive at the airport.

– Non-residents can go get tested at an approved site once inside the state and self-quarantine at their own expense until their results arrive. The only other option is to self-quarantine for the full fourteen days or the duration of your stay, whichever is shorter.

– Until August 11, the current orders stand, which allow travelers to either skip quarantine by presenting test results from 72 hours prior to departure; or up to five days prior, in which case, they must be re-tested at the airport upon arrival.

– All persons entering Alaska from another state must also complete a Traveler Declaration Form.

Connecticut:

Connecticut is partnered with New York and New Jersey in maintaining a joint travel advisory, which applies to persons entering from high-risk states, a list of which is continually being updated.

– The regulation requires a full fourteen-day quarantine for both visitors or returning residents coming from any region having a daily new COVID-19 case rate of ten in 100,000 people, or a ten-percent or higher positivity rate, based on a rolling seven-day average.

– Anyone entering from one of such states must also fill out a Travel Health Form, with failure to do so potentially resulting in a $1,000 fine and mandated quarantine completion.

– Travelers who are “just passing through” (spending less than 24 hours in-state) are not subject to quarantine requirements and are allowed to take brief stops while crossing, including at rest areas for vehicles; and in the course of layovers for those who are traveling by air, bus or train.

– As of August 1, the restriction applied to the following 36 states and jurisdictions: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

– An updated list is always available by visiting the state’s dedicated website.


Pineland Monument Park in Lee County, Florida
PHOTO: Pineland Monument Park in Lee County, Florida. (photo courtesy of Lee VCB)

Florida:

– Florida requires anyone arriving from the New York tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), including persons entering via roadways, to self-quarantine for fourteen days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter.

– The executive order exempts “individuals involved in commercial activity”, as well as “students traveling for the purpose of academic work, internships, sports training and any other activity or program approved by the educational institution.”

– Certain other types of travel may be permitted without restriction, such as to provide medical or in-home care for others, or to attend a job that’s considered an essential service.

Hawaii:

Currently, all visitors and residents arriving into Hawaii must adhere to the Aloha’s State’s strict fourteen-day quarantine order

– Hawaii’s Pre-Travel Testing Program launch has been delayed until September 1, after which incoming travelers can present proof of negative results from an FDA-approved COVID-19 NAAT test from a CLIA-certified laboratory, taken within the 72 hours before boarding their flight, if they want to avoid the fourteen-day quarantine requirement. No testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport.

– While quarantine requirements have been lifted on travelers hopping between islands, passengers are still temperature-checked prior to boarding and those with temperatures over 100.4 degrees aren’t permitted to fly. Inter-island travelers must also complete a new Traveler Health Form, which can be filled out and submitted online, after which they’ll be emailed a QR code to take with them to the airport.


Aerial shot of Hawaii's Waikiki Beach
PHOTO: Aerial shot of Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach. (Photo via jhorrocks / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Illinois:

While no statewide restrictions are currently in place, Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order a fourteen-day quarantine is required for both visitors and returning residents entering the city who come from areas experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

– As of August 1, the restricted list included 22 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

– The list is set to be updated every Tuesday and any changes will go into effect the following Friday at 12:01 a.m.

Kansas:

Returning residents and visitors coming to Kansas from Florida must quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival, as must anyone who has sailed aboard a cruise ship or river cruise boat since March 15.

– Anyone who was already under a travel-related quarantine must finish out their entire fourteen-day quarantine period, including those who had visited Arizona between June 17 and July 27.

– Anyone entering the state who has traveling to a country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice, including Brazil, China, Iran, Europe’s Schengen area, Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

– The list of restrictions was last updated on July 28 and will be reviewed approximately every two weeks.


Louisville, Kentucky, skyline
Louisville, Kentucky skyline on the river. (photo via Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Kentucky:

– On July 20, Kentucky issued a new travel advisory, which recommends a fourteen-day quarantine for those entering the state from Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico.

– Kentucky’s rate of positive patient tests is presently sitting at around 15 percent, so states with similar or lesser rates of infection are still considered unrestricted.

Maine:

Travelers to Maine can choose to quarantine for fourteen days or may provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results from a specimen taken no longer than 72 hours prior to their arrival.

– Travelers may also get tested once they’re in Maine, but must quarantine at their own expense while they await results.

– Visitors coming from New Hampshire and Vermont (effective June 26), and Connecticut, New York and New Jersey (effective July 3) are exempted from the rule and may enter without undergoing either testing or quarantine.

– Persons who are not residents of Maine or the aforementioned states must sign a Certificate of Compliance have received a negative COVID-19 test result, that they will quarantine in Maine for fourteen days, or that they have already completed their quarantine, in order to check-in at any type of lodging or campgrounds.


Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine
PHOTO: Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine. (Photo via Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Maryland:

On July 29, Maryland issued an updated out-of-state travel advisory that “strongly recommends” that all residents refrain from non-essential travel outside of the state, due to spiking COVID-19 rates.

– Travelers coming from another state are “encouraged” to either get tested within the 72 hours before departure or promptly upon their arrival in Maryland, in which case they should self-quarantine while they await their results.

– Marylanders returning from any state with a COVID-19 test positivity rate of ten percent or higher (excepting Virginia and Washing D.C.) “should” get tested and self-quarantine at home results are received. Travelers may refer to the CDC’s list of COVID-19 test positivity rates.

Massachusetts:

As of August 1, a new order requires all arrivals, including returning residents, who do not qualify for an exemption to quarantine for fourteen days or to produce a COVID-19 test result from a sample taken up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. Failure to comply with this directive could cost you up to $500 per day.

– Travelers who are over the age of 18 or an unaccompanied minor are also required to fill out an online Massachusetts Travel Form.

– Those who wish to avoid quarantining for two weeks can test at an approved center within the first 72 hours of arriving in Massachusetts, but must self-isolate until they get their test results.

– Travelers from “lower-risk” states are exempt from both the form and quarantine requirements, which means that they meet both of two criteria: average daily new case numbers of less than six per 100,000 people and positive test rates below five percent, as measured on a seven-day rolling average As of August 1, these include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.


Downtown Boston Cityscape
PHOTO: Boston, Massachusetts cityscape. (photo via SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

New Hampshire:

– Quarantine requirements have been lifted for travelers arriving in New Hampshire from surrounding New England States (Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island).

– Persons entering New Hampshire from non-New England states for “an extended period of time” are still being instructed to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, though the government’s “Safer at Home” guidance does not specify any enforcement measures.

New Mexico:

– New Mexico now requires all out-of-state travelers to quarantine for fourteen days upon entry into the state, whether they’re arriving by plane or via ground transportation.

– Travelers who are just passing through or making overnight stops in New Mexico can continue on their way. The guidelines state that visitors must quarantine for two weeks or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter.

– Some exemptions include: airline employees traveling for work, public safety employees, healthcare workers, emergency first responders, military personnel, employees of federal agencies or national defense contractors, those arriving pursuant to a court order and, “persons who are employed or contracted by an essential business traveling into the state to conduct business activities.”


Jersey City, New Jersey skyline
PHOTO: Jersey City, New Jersey skyline. (photo via SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

New Jersey:

– The state’s incoming travel advisory (issued jointly with New York and Connecticut) requires a fourteen-day quarantine of all returning residents and visitors coming from areas with positive COVID-19 test rates of more than ten in every 100,000 people, or a positivity rate of ten-percent or higher, based on a seven-day rolling average.

– As of August 1, impacted areas included the following 36 states and jurisdictions: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

New York:

– In conjunction with Connecticut and New Jersey, New York requires returning residents and visitors from out of state to quarantine for two weeks if arriving by way of areas with positive tests of higher of ten percent, or positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents.

– As of August 1, the following 36 states and jurisdictions met criteria for restrictions: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

– Travelers coming from restricted states are required to complete the State Health Department’s Traveler Form or face a fine of $2,000 and court-ordered quarantine completion. Airlines are distributing forms to passengers prior to landing, and enforcement teams are also in place at airports to ensure compliance. Those arriving in New York via other means of transport, such as cars, buses and trains, must complete the form online.

– “Pursuant to Executive Order 205, anyone who violates a quarantine order may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days,” states a Department of Health notice.


Beautiful fall colors on the cliff of American Falls of Niagara Falls on the New York side
PHOTO: Beautiful fall colors on the cliff of American Falls of Niagara Falls on the New York side. (Photo via Orchidpoet/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ohio:

– Travelers entering Ohio by way of states that report positive testing rates of 15 percent or higher (based on a seven-day rolling average) are “advised” to quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival.

– As of July 29, when the list was last published, affected states currently include Arizona, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas and South Carolina.

Pennsylvania:

– The state is recommending (no word on enforcement) that anyone coming from areas with high COVID-19 case counts quarantine for fourteen days.

– As of July 31, that list includes the following 19 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.


Bristol, Rhode Island
PHOTO: Bristol, Rhode Island. (photo via DenisTangneyJr/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Rhode Island:

– Travelers coming from states that have a positive testing rate of five percent or higher must quarantine for fourteen days. An updated list can always be found here.

– Those wishing to skip quarantine can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within the 72 prior to their arrival.

– Travelers can also take a test at their own expense after arriving in Rhode Island, but must quarantine while awaiting their test results.

– However, the state says observing the full fourteen-day quarantine is always preferred as a tried-and-true measure, as opposed to relying upon test results.

South Carolina:

– The state is recommending (not mandating) that those coming from a region with widespread viral transmission adhere to quarantine for two weeks from the date of their departure for South Carolina.


Green Mountains, Vermont
PHOTO: Green Mountains, Vermont. (Photo courtesy Ron and Patty Thomas/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Vermont:

– Residents of other Northeastern states that have a similar active COVID-19 caseload to Vermont (defined as less than 400 active cases per million) may enter without quarantining, provided they arrive in a personal vehicle.

– Out-of-state visitors arriving in a personal vehicle from quarantined Northeastern counties or from any state outside of the Northeast (defined as New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia) must either undergo a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival or may complete a seven-day quarantine, followed by a negative test in their own state, to enter Vermont without further restrictions.

– Those arriving via public transportation (i.e., plane, train or bus), or who must make stops while journeying in a personal vehicle, can complete either a fourteen-day quarantine or a seven-day quarantine, followed by a negative COVID-19 test taken in Vermont.

– All out-of-state travelers utilizing lodging, campgrounds or other accommodations must complete and submit a Certificate of Compliance form or verify compliance via a digital checkbox.


Spotlight on Washington, D.C. Exploring America's Capital
PHOTO: Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Collette)

Washington, D.C.:

In effect through August 10 (after which an updated order will be posted), travelers arriving in the capital from certain high-risk states must quarantine for fourteen days.

High-risk states are considered to be those with ten or more daily new COVID-19 cases, based on a seven-day rolling average.

– As of August 1, the following 27 states were impacted: Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

– Travelers from Maryland and Virginia are exempt from restrictions.





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