Massachusetts COVID-19 travel order begins Saturday

Coronavirus Local Impact

(WWLP/Mass.gov) – Starting Saturday, people traveling into Massachusetts from high-risk states will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

People won’t have to quarantine if they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result that was administered up to 72-hours prior to their arrival.

Travelers from high risk states are required to complete a travel form that will be submitted online. Failure to comply could result in a $500 fine.

One woman told 22News, she thinks it’s the right thing to do, but feels it may discourage travelers from coming to the state.

“I think it might discourage them to come. Some may be able to come if they were staying with family and could quarantine but I think it is a hard situation.

Anne Marie Swift, Chicopee

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Berkshires had a quick rise in cases which many residents said they think came from people from different states quarantining in the area.

Linda Camppell of Millerton, New York told 22News, “Washing your hands, social distancing and travel restrictions is part of it. It gives me the hibby gibbies when I see someone from South Carolina drifting through, I’m wondering ‘did you quarantine or are you just exposing us?'”

The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states includes: 

  1. Connecticut
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Maine
  4. Vermont
  5. Rhode Island
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Hawaii
(Mass.gov)

All individuals entering Massachusetts after 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 2020 who are over the age of 18 or an unaccompanied minor must complete and submit the on-line Massachusetts Travel Form unless the individual meets an exemption.

Three Exemptions to the Quarantine Requirement

The following persons are not required to quarantine upon entering Massachusetts

1. Travelers Entering from lower-risk States:

Travelers arriving from States designated as “COVID-19 lower-risk States” are not subject to the quarantine requirement.  States are included on the list of COVID-19 lower-risk states based on meeting two criteria: average daily cases per 100K below 6 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as 7 day rolling average.  The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states can be found here:https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order#lower-risk-states-

This list of lower-risk states is subject to change based on health data metrics.

You will be treated as “arriving from” a COVID-19 lower-risk State if you are coming to Massachusetts from one of the listed States and, aside from merely transitory travel, you have not been present in any State or jurisdiction not designated as a COVID-19 lower-risk State in the last 14 days.

2. Travelers Who Meet the 72-Hour COVID Test Rule:

Travelers are exempt from the quarantine requirement if they have received a negative result from a COVID-19 test based on a sample obtained not longer than 72 hours before their arrival in Massachusetts.  A traveler relying on the 72-hour test rule must be prepared to provide proof of the negative test result on request.

Individuals who receive a positive COVID-19 test result from an antigen test or an FDA EUA-approved molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test are instructed to isolate in their home state.

Tests that are acceptable to satisfy the 72-hour test rule are limited to the following:

3. Limited CircumstanceSpecific Exemptions:

People who travel into Massachusetts in any of the following circumstances are not required to quarantine for 14 days:

  • Transitory travel: This includes people who are passing through Massachusetts and permits travelers to drive through the State or to connect to their airplane, bus or train, or to stop at a highway rest stop, but this exception extends only so long as is reasonably required for the traveler to complete their transit, make any necessary airplane, bus, or train connection, or make use of travel services such as at a highway rest stop.
  • Persons Commuting for Work or School: People who regularly commute outside of Massachusetts to a fixed place to attend school or work or any person who regularly commutes into Massachusetts to a fixed place to attend school or work; provided that in either case, this exception applies only to and from the person’s residence and place of work or school.  Workers or students who travel to any place that is not their home state for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on this exemption and must quarantine for 14 days upon return.
  • Patients Seeking or Receiving Medical Treatment Patients who are traveling to Massachusetts to seek or receive specialized medical care from a physician located in the Commonwealth and persons accompanying and providing needed support to the patient.
  • Military Personnel: Any person who is required to travel to Massachusetts at the order or directive of a Federal or State military authority.
  • Workers Providing Critical Infrastructure Services: Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions as specified in Version 3.1 of the listing published by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are exempt from quarantine while they are commuting to or from or while at work.  For the first 14-days after arrival, when the worker is not at work or commuting to work they must quarantine. Additional information may be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce. Workers who travel to or from Massachusetts for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on this exemption.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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