Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a COVID update on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020.
New York State Team
Travel restrictions, requirements for COVID-19 testing and quarantines are becoming more commonplace among states as they try to curb the virus’ spread during the holiday season.
Health and political leaders in the Northeast, which were the first to get hit by the virus in March and April, are now experiencing a surge in cases and record levels in some places.
And they fear family gatherings, students coming home from college, crowded holiday shopping and other events could lead to a further spike in COVID-19 cases.
“I am concerned about Thanksgiving, and I do believe Thanksgiving could have a large impact if people are reckless: Traveling out of state, false sense of security with family, false sense of security being home,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
COVID-19 travel restrictions by state: What you need to know before you travel
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, and New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware are among the states that have issued executive orders that limit private gatherings to no more than 10 people.
“With the alarming numbers we are seeing right now, we have to take these steps today to preserve and protect public health and to slow the spread of this virus,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Nov. 16.
Here are the current COVID restrictions across the Northeast heading into Thanksgiving:
Cars wait in line at the entrance to MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Conn. to get a COVID-19 test on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (Photo: Aaron Flaum/Record-Journal via AP)
The only exceptions: New Jersey, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Or if you’re coming from Hawaii.
The quarantine or negative test requirements apply to travelers who have been in any applicable state or country for more than 24 hours in the past 14 days.
It does not apply to travelers who spend less than 24 hours in Connecticut.
For anyone staying for longer than 24 hours from affected states, they must also fill out a travel health form upon arrival: ct.gov/travelform.
There is indoor dining allowed at 50% capacity, but restaurants must closed at 10 p.m., and bars have remained closed.
Thanksgiving gatherings a potential ‘superspreader’: These tips can help avoid COVID-19 spread
Gov. John Carney speaks during his weekly press conference on the state of COVID-19 in Delaware Nov. 17, 2020, at the Carvel State Building in Wilmington. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal)
Delaware doesn’t require a quarantine when visiting the state, but it has in recent days added new COVID restrictions.
Indoor gatherings in private homes are allowed up to 10 people, while houses of worship and events in public spaces are limited to 30% of the venue’s stated fire capacity — with a cap at 50 people.
Outdoor public gatherings are limited to 50 people.
“These are difficult decisions, but we face a difficult and challenging winter,” Gov. John Carney said Tuesday.
COVID-19 in Delaware: Here are the latest restrictions and what you need to know
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urges people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus while speaking at a news conference Nov. 5, 2020, in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo: Brian Witte/AP)
The state hasn’t implemented a quarantine order on all visitors, but it does want travelers to get a coronavirus test no more than 72 hours upon arrival.
And the state says returning residents and out-of-state visitors should quarantine while they wait for the test results.
The test requirement does not apply to travel to and from Washington, D.C., Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia.
Nor does it apply to those who come to the state on a daily basis for work and have work-based COVID-19 screening procedures.
The state also requires all restaurants and bars to close by 10 p.m., and all retail businesses and venues need to limit capacity to 50%.
Maryland restrictions: Gov. Hogan sets new limits on restaurants, bars, religious institutions
Shoppers comply with the mask regulations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus at Bridgton Books Nov. 13, 2020, in Bridgton, Maine. (Photo: Robert F. Bukaty, AP)
Those traveling to Maine from states other than Vermont and New Hampshire for an extended period are asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.
But the state will allow adults who get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival to forgo the 14-day quarantine.
“Maine is strongly urging visitors to ‘Know Before You Go’ and be tested and receive results in their home state before traveling to Maine, which will allow them to take appropriate action depending on the result,” the state’s website said.
The state had exemptions for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, but they ended Nov. 4, and the exemption for Massachusetts ended Nov. 16.
Most everything in the state is ordered closed by 9 p.m.
Runners wear masks while jogging along a sidewalk Oct. 27, 2020, in Boston. (Photo: AP Photo/Steven Senne)
All travelers entering the state, including residents from anywhere other than Vermont, must fill out a travel form and quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative coronavirus test result taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Travelers who fail to quarantine may be fined $500 a day.
The state had exempted lower-risk states from the requirement, but only Vermont still is considered a low-risk state.
People who commute for work or school to and from Massachusetts are exempt, as are patients seeking or receiving medical treatment, military personnel and critical infrastructure workers.
Massachusetts is also ordering all gathering sizes at private residences indoors to be limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people.
De Blasio to New Yorkers: Avoid out-of-state travel this holiday season
There is no travel quarantine requirement for those traveling to New Hampshire from surrounding New England states: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
But anyone from New Hampshire or visiting there from outside of those states need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return or for seven days if the person is asymptomatic and has a negative COVID test on or after day seven of quarantining
On Nov. 20, the state issued a mask mandate: Anyone over age 5 has to wear a mask in public, indoors or outdoors, where they cannot maintain six feet of social distancing.
“By wearing your mask, you help us keep our friends, family, neighbors and critical workforce members and those they care for safe, as well as our economy open,” Gov. Chris Sununu wrote Nov. 19 on Twitter.
In this April 10, 2020, file photo a woman wearing a face mask sure to COVID-19 concerns walks along the Jersey City waterfront with the New York City skyline in the background. (Photo: John Minchillo, AP)
Travelers arriving from high-risk states — now totaling 46 states and territories — are required to quarantine for 14 days.
The quarantine doesn’t apply to nearby states: New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
But the state is discouraging all non-essential travel to and from any states.
And anyone coming from outside the region is asked to complete a voluntary online questionnaire.
The state is also closing its bars and restaurants at 10 p.m.
Cases surging: New Jersey sees record COVID-19 numbers ahead of Thanksgiving
People walk with masks on in downtown Port Chester Nov. 11, 2020. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)
With the exception of essential workers and those coming from contiguous states, all travelers must quarantine for 14 days.
But affected travelers can opt to shorten the duration of their quarantine by submitting a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, quarantine for three days and get another test on day four.
Providing that result is negative, the traveler may exit quarantine.
New York also requires all visitors to fill out COVID questionnaires, particularly at airports and hotels.
Its bars and restaurants also must close at 10 p.m., but there may be additional restrictions across the state in COVID hot spots with high rates of infection.
The cars on the Duquesne Incline pass each other carrying signs encouraging face mask wearing on Nov. 22, 2020 in downtown Pittsburgh. (Photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP)
State officials issued an order Nov. 17 that requires anyone who enters Pennsylvania to be tested within 72 hours of arriving.
If someone cannot or does not get a negative test, they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
The only exception is those who commute to neighboring states for work or health care.
The state also now requires mask-wearing anywhere in the commonwealth indoors, as well as outdoors if physical distancing is not able to be kept.
Sam Hinthron carries his cat, Giro, in a backpack while looking to board a commuter train to Boston Nov. 20, 2020, in Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo: David Goldman, AP)
Out-of-state travelers have to complete a certificate of compliance with travel quarantine and testing requirements, as well as health screening form.
So travelers and returning residents must quarantine for 14 days if they arrive from a state with a coronavirus positivity rate of more than 5%, which is now up to 43 states —including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Those who can produce a negative test result taken within 72 hours of arrival do not need to quarantine. However, quarantining is preferred, the state advises.
And the state is limiting the social gathering size solely to the people you live with.
Thanksgiving sacrifices: How frontline workers adapt to limited family time for holidays
Beatrix Robb, 13, of Brattleboro, Vermont, and her mother, Jen, look for a book at the Brooks Memorial Library, in Brattleboro Nov. 13, 2020. (Photo: Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)
On its state website, Vermont says that, “In ordinary times, Vermonters are pleased and proud to welcome visitors”
But not now.
Anyone traveling to Vermont must quarantine for 14 days, and residents leaving must also quarantine when they return.
There are some caveats, though.
People traveling by car directly can complete either a 14-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine followed by a negative COVID test in their home state and enter Vermont without further quarantine restrictions.
But if you’re coming by public transportation — plane, train or bus — visitors must quarantine in Vermont. And that can either be for 14 days or seven days if you get a negative test.
But Vermont is also banning any gatherings with people outside their own homes.
There are a few exceptions, such as individuals living alone can gather with another household.
Vermont’s multi-household gathering ban: Gov. Scott offers clarification
Contributing: Curtis Tate, USA TODAY
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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