Holidays are usually for gatherings but many get-togethers are complicated or canceled because of COVID-19.
In response to a record number of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths, some states are reimposing stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions ahead of the winter holidays.
Many Americans are considering whether to proceed with their Christmas, New Year’s or other holiday trips as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging them not to travel and to get tested before and after if they do.
“Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said earlier this month.
Resource guide: What you need to know about coronavirus and COVID-19
Some states are discouraging interstate travel by requiring or recommending that visitors and residents returning from other states quarantine. Others allow visitors to present a recent, negative coronavirus test in lieu of the quarantine. A few states require travelers to fill out health questionnaires when they arrive.
Some counties or municipalities have issued similar advice to travelers, so anyone looking to go on a road trip or take a holiday vacation should check government websites for their destination and anywhere they plan to stop overnight.
If you are still deciding whether to travel, check USA TODAY’s updated list to see what restrictions are in place at your destination.
Residents, nonresidents and workers must submit a travel declaration and self-isolation plan through the state’s portal. Out-of-state travelers must also arrive with proof of a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Alternately, out-of-state visitors can opt to pay $250 for a COVID-19 test upon arrival. The test is free for Alaska residents, though they also have the choice of quarantining for 14 days. Children under 10 are exempt from the testing requirement.
More information: https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers
Due to a sharp rise in cases and hospitalizations, California has enacted regional stay-at-home orders for areas with high infection rates and a scarcity of available ICU beds. These orders, which last for a minimum of three weeks, take effect 24 hours after ICU bed availability falls below 15%.
The list of affected areas can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website. In regions under stay-at-home orders, hotels may not accept out-of-state reservations for nonessential travel unless a visitor plans to stay for 14 days and restaurants cannot offer dine-in service. Outdoor recreation areas may remain open, but indoor facilities, such as ski lodges and on-site restaurants, cannot. Overnight stays at campgrounds are also prohibited.
An advisory from the state’s public health department also advises people arriving or returning to the state to quarantine for 14 days.
More information: https://covid19.ca.gov
Effective Dec. 14, travelers headed for Aspen or anywhere in Pitkin County must complete an online affidavit prior to travel and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered within the last 72 hours and be symptom-free for 10 days prior to travel. If the test results are still pending at the time of arrival, the visitor must quarantine until it comes back. A negative test and affidavit is required for anyone age 10 and up; parents must sign one for minor children. Travelers who do not get tested must quarantine for 10 days. Failure to comply may result in a $5,000 fine.
More information: https://covid19.pitkincounty.com/travel-affidavit/
Anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state other than New York, New Jersey or Rhode Island with a positivity rate of more than 10 per 100,000 residents (or 10% positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average) must quarantine for 14 days. Visitors from states meeting those criteria must also fill out online travel health form upon arrival in Connecticut. A map of impacted states can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website.
The restriction also applies to anyone who’s traveled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 3 travel health notice. It applies to travelers who have been in any applicable state or country for 24 hours in the past 14 days. It does not apply to travelers who spend less than 24 hours in Connecticut.
More information: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Travel
All travelers must complete a form through the state’s Safe Travels site. Visitors ages 5 and up who want to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine must have a negative COVID-19 test result from one of the state’s trusted testing partners taken within 72 hours of the final leg of their trip. If results aren’t available before boarding the final leg of the trip, travelers must quarantine for 14 days or the length of the stay.
Be aware that inter-island travel may require a second test or quarantine through at least Dec. 31; check relevant county websites for the latest information.
As of Dec. 1, the city of Chicago is requiring some visitors to quarantine and others to provide a negative COVID-19 test result, depending on the degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19. Anyone visiting or returning from what the city has designated a “red” state must quarantine for 14 days must provide a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their visit. Visitors from “yellow” states are not required to quarantine or be tested. Check the city’s map to see what category your state is in.
Although the state recommends a full 14-day quarantine, it has adapted its requirements following the CDC’s latest recommendations. As of Dec. 8, these individuals are eligible for a shortened quarantine:
- Anyone who has not had any symptoms within six days of exposure can undergo a PCR test and receive a negative result may cease quarantine on day 8 or when the result comes back.
- Those without symptoms who do not get tested may be released after 10 days.
According to a Dec. 1 update, the following individuals are not eligible for the shortened quarantine:
- Anyone who has been to a mass gathering with more than 500 people where masks were not worn and social distancing was not observed
- Traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise after March 15
- Residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities
- Offender populations in Department of Corrections prisons
The requirements don’t apply to anyone traveling through the state, only those whose destination is Kansas.
Kentucky continues to recommend that any traveler who goes to a state with a positivity rate of 15% or higher quarantine for 14 days. Kentucky includes a list of those states on its COVID-19 website.
More information: https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-travel-advisory
Out-of-state visitors have the choice to complete a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in Maine or obtain a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Maine. New Hampshire and Vermont residents are exempt.
More information: https://www.maine.gov/covid19
Maryland recommends anyone traveling from states with positivity rates of 10% or higher or states with average case rates above 20 per 100,000 get tested and self-quarantine while awaiting results.
More information: https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/faqs/#faqHoliday
Visitors and returning residents are required to complete the Massachusetts Travel form, though visitors from states designated as low risk by the state department of health are exempt. A 14-day quarantine is also required unless an individual has a negative result from a COVID-19 test administered no earlier than 72 hours before arrival. Travelers who fail to quarantine may be fined $500 a day.
More information: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order
The state is under a stay-at-home order through Dec. 18. Travel is “highly discouraged.” Incoming visitors and residents are asked to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
More information: https://www.exploreminnesota.com/info/coronavirus-covid-19-information
Visitors and returning residents who have been outside of New England for nonessential travel must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Travelers from Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island are exempt. Travelers who get a negative PCR test result on or after Day 7 of that period may end their quarantine.
More information: https://www.covidguidance.nh.gov/out-state-visitors
New Jersey recommends visitors or people returning from states other than New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware to quarantine fro 10 days or test negative for COVID-19. The state “strongly discourages” interstate travel, but for anyone who does leave the state, New Jersey recommends the following:
- A viral (not rapid) test one to three days before the trip and a second three to five after returning
- A 10-day quarantine for anyone who tests positive
- A 7-day quarantine for anyone who tests negative
- A 10-day quarantine for anyone who does not get tested after travel
In addition, the state is asking travelers to complete a voluntary online questionnaire. The advisory does not apply to people spending fewer than 24 hours in New Jersey.
More information: https://covid19.nj.gov/travel
Travelers coming from a high-risk state must quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay. High-risk states are specified on the state’s COVID-19 website.
There are several exemptions: airline workers, public safety or public health workers, military personnel and their dependents, federal employees, federal defense contract workers, first responders and health care workers.
More information: https://www.newmexico.org/covid-19-traveler-information
With the exception of essential workers and those coming from contiguous states, all travelers who leave the state for more than 24 hours must quarantine for 14 days. Affected travelers can opt to “test out” of 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.
Travelers who go out of state for less than 24 hours do not need to quarantine but must get a coronavirus test on the fourth day following their return.
More information: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory
More information: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/docs/COVID-19-Travel-Guidance.pdf
The state doesn’t mandate quarantines or testing; however it instructs people arriving from areas with high community spread of COVID-19 to wear a mask in all public spaces and avoid indoor gatherings for 10-14 days.
More information: https://oklahoma.gov/covid19/resources-recommendations/travel.html
Travelers from other states or countries are urged to quarantine for 14 days upon entering the state, and residents are urged to avoid nonessential out-of-state travel.
More information: https://traveloregon.com/travel-alerts/#covid
Visitors and returning residents who enter Pennsylvania from another state must have a negative COVID-19 test taken either within 72 hours of crossing into Pennsylvania or 72 hours after arrival. Alternately, they can opt for a seven-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day 5 of quarantine. Travelers over age 11 who do not get tested must quarantine for 10 days.
Anyone coming to Rhode Island from a state with a positivity rate higher than 5% is required to quarantine for 14 days unless they can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.
More information: https://health.ri.gov/covid/travel
South Carolina: No current travel restrictions as of 12/11: https://scdhec.gov/covid19/resources-community-covid-19/travelers-covid-19
All travelers entering or returning to Vermont must quarantine for 14 days.The only exception is essential travel. Travelers can end quarantine early if they haven’t had any symptoms of COVID-19 and get a PCR test on or after day 7 with a negative test result.
More information: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/travel-quarantine
Travelers from other states or countries, as well as returning residents, are urged to quarantine for 14 days on entering the state. Residents are urged to avoid nonessential out-of-state travel. The state also advises visitors to check the website for the county they plan to visit in case there are any additional restrictions.
More information: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/travelers-commuters
Anyone traveling from a state with more than 10 cases per 100,000 people must get a coronavirus test no more than 72 hours prior to traveling. Visitors from Maryland and Virginia are exempt, as are people visiting for family emergencies or funerals. Anyone spending less than 24 hours in the District does not need to take a test. Visitors who are in Washington for more than three days should get tested within three to five days of arrival.
Contributing: Curtis Tate
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