September Update: State Travel Restrictions During COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, travel restrictions are constantly emerging—and not just internationally. A decent number of state travel restrictions have been implemented to help tame spiking numbers (in cases like Florida) and to preserve hard-fought decreasing infection numbers (as in New York). Some states have imposed a mandatory quarantine upon arrival; in other destinations, negative COVID-19 tests must be presented to enter.
Whether you're considering a short summer road trip or looking to visit loved ones, we've rounded up every U.S. state with travel restrictions so you know how to prepare for crossing state borders. Of course, deciding whether to travel this summer is highly personal, and should take into account safety, other factors of personal risk, case count in your destination, and more. This guide is intended to answer just one of the many questions worth considering before hitting the road.
Read on for our complete guide to COVID state travel restrictions.
All visitors entering Alaska must complete a traveler declaration form, and either arrive with proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or take a test upon arrival for $250 and self-quarantine until results arrive. Alaska residents must meet the same requirements, though the test is offered free of charge, and there is also the option to self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of the trip, whichever is shorter. While traveling in Alaska, visitors are asked to complete a second test 7 to 14 days into the trip, or if and when any symptoms develop.
Currently, Connecticut's travel restrictions focus on those arriving from areas with higher infection rates. Anyone entering Connecticut from a state with a current daily positive test rate higher than 10 cases per 10,000 residents, or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity average over the past seven days, must self-quarantine for 14 days from the last date they were in said state. (Find the above data on the COVID Tracking Project's site or on your own state government's website.)
Additionally, travelers from 31 states must fill out a health travel form upon arrival (list of states and form found here).
There is a mandatory self-quarantine requirement for all individuals arriving in Hawaii, for 14 days or the duration of the visit, whichever is shorter. As of September 1, all travelers must also fill out the online Safe Travels application, which includes questions on health and travel history, and requires visitors to check-in digitally during their quarantine. Traveler are encouraged to begin submitting information well before their flight, though will also be prompted to submit health details within 24 hours of departure.
The 14-day quarantine also applies to some inter-island travel, including any person entering Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, and Kalawao (Molokai). Those arriving on Oahu are not required to quarantine.
After October 1, travelers will have the option to avoid quarantining by taking a test within 72 hours prior to arrival and showing negative results upon landing. (Further details and restrictions here, and Hawaii has been pushing this date back at its discretion.) This will not include an option for testing upon arrival.
Currently Idaho's only travel recommendation applies to Ada County (which includes the cities of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Garden City, Star, and Kuna). The state is encouraging those entering the above area from states with greater community spread or case rates than Idaho's to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Before traveling, you can check Idaho's website and your home state's website for these data points.
While there aren’t statewide travel restrictions in place, Illinois's largest city, Chicago, has a travel order mandating that those arriving from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases self-quarantine for 14-day period from "the last contact with the identified state." This applies to residents and visitors alike. There are currently 22 states the city requires a quarantine from, though the list (which can be found here) is reviewed and updated every Tuesday, to go into effect the following Friday at 12:01 a.m.
Those who have traveled to states and territories with a positive testing rate equal to or greater than 15 percent are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Currently, that list includes Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and Arizona.
Kansas officials have mandated a 14-day home quarantine for those arriving from locations or situations in which they deem to be high risk for exposure. Currently, that includes anyone who has traveled to Aruba on or after August 27, traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise since March, attended an out-of-state gathering of 500 people or greater on or after August 11, has been notified of exposure to a confirmed case, or is arriving from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice from the CDC, which currently includes China, Iran, the EU, the UK, Ireland, and Brazil. This list was updated August 27, and is revisited every two weeks.
Maine has some of the country’s most strident travel restrictions in place. Individuals arriving from almost all states must self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, unless they can provide a negative COVID-19 test result. To qualify, the test must be a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and be taken within the last 72 hours (antigen or antibody tests are not accepted). The Maine Division of Disease Surveillance is strongly urging a “Know Before You Go” policy—meaning anyone planning to go to Maine should receive a PCR test for COVID-19 before leaving their home state. The few exceptions to the quarantine mandate are travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
Anyone arriving in Massachusetts must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form and self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers from states deemed low-risk—currently nine East Coast states and Colorado—are exempt from the quarantine regulation, as are essential workers traveling to the state for professional purposes, and transitory travelers just passing through.
New Hampshire officials are asking visitors from out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Travelers coming to the state for stays at any lodging property are required to bring signed paperwork stating that they self-isolated at home for at least the previous 14 days before travel. The rule covers hotels, motels, B&Bs, cabins, cottages, condominiums, and other short-term rentals. These rules, however, do not apply to visitors from surrounding New England states, including Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, who can visit New Hampshire without restrictions.
Anyone entering New Jersey—including permanent New Jersey residents—from a state with either a high infection rate or high positive test rates is advised a self-quarantine in either their home or hotel. An updated list of states meeting that criteria (currently 33 states and U.S. jurisdictions) is available on the state’s COVID-19 website. Business travelers and essential workers are exempt from the quarantine but should still adhere to social distancing and other mitigation guidelines from the CDC. New Jersey currently has a mask mandate in effect requiring all people to wear masks both inside and outside, including at places like beaches and boardwalks. Police may issue a summons to violators.
All visitors and residents are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter. Some essential workers are exempt. New Mexico also has a mask mandate in all public places unless a person is eating, drinking, or exercising. Anyone failing to comply with the mask mandate is subject to a $100 fine.
New York requires anyone arriving from a state with either a high infection rate or high positive test rates to self-quarantine for 14 days. An updated list of states at or exceeding one or both of those criteria is available on New York’s health department website. Additionally, anyone entering New York from those states is required to fill out a traveler health form that includes information about where you will be staying, where you have been prior, and whether you have or have had any COVID-19 symptoms. Officers will be stationed at airports to collect forms, and anyone failing to fill out a form will be subject to a $2,000 fine. These mandates apply to residents as well. Those just passing through New York, or those who simply passed through one of the designated states, are exempt.
Those entering Ohio from states with positive testing rates of 15 percent or higher are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Currently, this includes travelers from six states, though the list is updated every Wednesday.
Anyone entering Pennsylvania from states deemed at-risk is advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. An updated list of states considered at-risk is available on the state’s health department website.
Travelers visiting from outside the U.S., or states with a positivity rate of COVID-19 greater than 5 percent (that list currently includes 27 states and Puerto Rico, at the time of publishing) must show a negative COVID-19 result taken no more than 72 hours arrival, or self-quarantine for 14 days. Note that there is also a mandatory mask policy for public places across the state, and when inside businesses.
Travelers are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Vermont, with a few exceptions: If you’re driving to Vermont from a county in a Northeastern state that has less than 400 active cases per million residents, you’re in the clear and can move around with the usual COVID-19 precautions. (You can find a map that shows what counties don’t have to quarantine here; this list is updated weekly on Fridays.) Those traveling for essential purposes (such as medical care, care of others) are also exempt, as are those who live near the Vermont border and regularly travel in and out of the state for work, healthcare, or other essential needs. Anyone meeting the above criteria is asked to enter Vermont in a personal vehicle (car or plane), stop only when necessary (for food and fuel), and to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
All symptom-free travelers who are not exempt from the 14-day quarantine have the option to shorten it, by taking a COVID test on day seven of their visit and receiving a negative result.
We're reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a regular basis.