Travel Restrictions: Here’s what you need to know for Massachusetts

Coronavirus Local Impact

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

Every state has different travel restrictions in place in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Beginning Aug. 1, anyone entering Massachusetts (visitors and returning residents alike) from a state considered “high-risk” for COVID-19 has to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative test result.

Those found to be in violation of the order could be fined $500 per day.

There are exemptions, which include people traveling from one of four “lower-risk states,” along with people commuting to work or school, people receiving specialized medical treatment, and military personnel.

  1. Hawaii
  2. Vermont

However, workers or students who travel out-of-state for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on that exemption, according to Mass. officials.

The Department of Public Health metric for determining lower-risk states for the purposes of Massachusetts’ interstate travel policy considers data over two weeks before moving a state from lower risk to high risk. One week of data is the standard for moving states into the lower risk category. Additionally, the threshold of daily cases per 100,000 residents is 10 (which ensures that Massachusetts’ standard is in line with other states). States are included on the “lower-risk” list based on meeting two criteria: average daily cases per 100K below 10 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as a 7-day rolling average.  

Below are some other travel scenarios that may be relevant to Southern New Englanders, with answers from Mass.gov.

“Travelers are exempt from the requirements to fill out the Travel Form and self-quarantine or obtain a negative COVID-19 test result if their travel is limited to brief trips for purposes that the commissioner has designated as Critical Life Activities:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Visits to pharmacies
  • Attending appointments with licensed health care providers, including medical, dental, or mental health
  • Visiting persons receiving treatment in hospitals or residing in congregate care facilities
  • Attendance at day care or children’s camps
  • Attending religious services, and funerals or memorial services
  • Attending to the care needs of a family member

“During such trips, travelers are instructed to wear face-coverings, maintain social distance, practice good hygiene, and adhere to all other COVID-19 rules and restrictions.”

Are trips that last less than 24 hours exempt from the order?

“No, there is no specific exemption for trips that last less than 24 hours. Such short trips may be covered by exemptions like the ones for transitory travel or commuting for work or school. The full list of exemptions is here. Travelers arriving from places other than lower-risk states must fill out the Travel Form and self-quarantine or obtain a negative test result if they do not meet one of these exemptions.”

Visit Mass.gov or text “MATraveler” to 888-777 for more information.

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