COVID-19 in July: Which US States Are Still Restricting Travel?

IMPACTING TRAVEL  LAURIE BARATTI  JULY 02, 2020 PHOTO: Map of the United States. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images/KeithBinns)

are reopening, and Americans are looking to take to the interstate highways and get out of town.

But, a new swell of coronavirus cases is also on the rise since the lifting of lockdown measures, and travelers aren’t yet free to blithely bound across states lines in pursuit of the perfect vacay.

In some states, a negative result from a recent COVID-19 PCR test will enable you to bypass standing restrictions, but you’d better be sure to bring the proper documentation or prepare yourself to submit to the standard, fourteen-day quarantine policy upon arrival.

An updated USA Today report, combined with TravelPulse’s investigation of individual states’ policies, revealed that the following of our nation’s constituents are still enforcing interstate travel restrictions:

Alaska: All arrivals into the state must provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 result from a test performed within 72 hours of departure. (Proof of negative results from tests taken up to five days prior to departure will be accepted, but such travelers must take another test upon arrival). Alternatively, they may test upon arrival and are requiring to quarantine at their own expense until test results come back. If your coronavirus test comes back positive, you’ll obviously need to remain quarantined until cleared by medical professionals.

Arkansas: As of June 15, Arkansas lifted its quarantine requirement on travelers (previously applicable based on the location they were coming from). Still, it’s asking returning residents to observe standard quarantine protocols as a precaution when coming back from affected areas.

iStock/Getty Images Plus/gguy44Interstate travel quarantine restrictions.
PHOTO: Interstate travel quarantine restrictions. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/gguy44)

Connecticut: Along with other Tri-state areas, Connecticut effected new restrictions on June 25, requiring fourteen-day quarantine of visitors or returning residents coming from any region having a daily new COVID-19 case rate of ten in every 100,000, or an average ten-percent or higher positivity rate, observed over a rolling, seven-day period. As of June 30, sixteen states fell under the restrictions’ criteria: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Florida: Florida requires anyone arriving from the New York tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) to self-quarantine for fourteen days or the duration of their stay, if it’s shorter. Airline employees and athletes returning to college campuses are exempted, as well as people “performing military, emergency or health responses”.

Hawaii: Beginning August 1, out-of-state arrivals will be permitted to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a CLIA-certified laboratory in order to bypass quarantine requirements.

– Hawaii’s Health Department is still ironing out details of the new program, including the exact window acceptable for pre-travel testing.

– Testing will not be available at airports, so travelers should be prepared to provide printed or electronic evidence of their negative results upon arrival, and must test at their own expense. Those without pre-travel tests will still be subject to two-week quarantine rules.

– Until August 1, the fourteen-day quarantine requirement stands for all inbound visitors and returning residents.

– Inter-island travelers are no longer required to quarantine once they’re within state limits. Instead, they’ll need to complete a mandatory Traveler Health Form before departing for another island.

Nurse holding test tube for novel coronavirus.
PHOTO: Nurse holding test tube for novel coronavirus. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/photoguns)

Illinois: Requires anyone arriving from China, Iran, Italy or South Korea to undergo a fourteen-day self-quarantine.

Kansas: Travelers coming from Alabama, Arizona or Arkansas on or after June 17, or South Carolina or Florida on or after June 29 must still submit to a mandatory fourteen-day self-quarantine. The same rule still applies to anyone who traveled internationally or sailed on a river cruise or cruise ship, on or after March 15.

Maine: Starting June 26, arrivals to Maine can choose between the fourteen-day quarantine or present proof of negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours old. Visitors coming from New Hampshire and Vermont (effective June 26), and Connecticut, New York and New Jersey (effective July 3) are exempted from the rule and may enter without either testing or quarantine.

Massachusetts: All arrivals into Massachusetts, including returning residents, continue to be required to self-quarantine for fourteen days, except (as of July 1) those coming from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Others exempt from the directive include healthcare workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and other designated essential workers.

Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine
PHOTO: Portland Head Lighthouse, Portland, Maine (Photo via Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Nebraska: The state is strongly urging (as opposed to mandating) that returning Nebraskans and visitors coming from international destinations should self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms for fourteen days. Exemptions include healthcare workers, commuters and other specified groups.

New Hampshire: The state’s “Safer at Home” guidance still asks (but does not enforce) that out-of-state visitors with plans to stay in New Hampshire for an extended period of time to adhere to the two-week self-quarantine.

New Mexico: Effective July 1, New Mexico is enforcing fourteen-day quarantines for all travelers from out of state, whether arriving by plane or vehicle. June 1 exemptions to the travel quarantine remain in effect, which include: airline employees traveling for work, public safety employees, healthcare workers, emergency first responders, military personnel, employees of federal agencies or national defense contractors, those arriving in New Mexico pursuant to a court order and those traveling to New Mexico to conduct business activities.

New Jersey: A travel advisory implemented on June 25, issued Jointly with Connecticut and New York, requires out-of-state visitors and returning residents coming from any high-risk region to adhere to a fourteen-day quarantine. Affected areas are those displaying daily new infection rates of ten or more in every 100,000 people, measured over a rolling, seven-day period. Sixteen states currently meet the criteria: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

New York: Partnered with Connecticut and New Jersey, New York—the epicenter of the crisis in the pandemic’s earlier days—is taking precautions to prevent new community spread by requiring returning residents and visitors from out of state to quarantine for two weeks if arriving by way of high-risk areas, which currently include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

North Dakota: Restrictions for U.S. domestic travelers have been lifted, but all inbound international travelers are required to self-quarantine for fourteen days unless merely passing through the state or commuting specifically to provide essential supplies or services.

Skyline of New York with the Empire State Building. (photo by johnkellerman/ iStock / Getty Images Plus)
PHOTO: Skyline of New York with the Empire State Building. (Photo by johnkellerman/ iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s executive order remains in effect, requiring those arriving on flights from the New York tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut), Washington state, California or Louisiana to self-quarantine for fourteen days. The mandate does not apply to airline personnel, military, healthcare and emergency workers.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island’s Phase III reopening guidelines require inbound travelers coming from states with a COVID-19 positivity rate of more than five-percent (see the current list here) to quarantine for fourteen days or produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours of their arrival. Those who test after arriving in Rhode Island are responsible for testing costs and must adhere to quarantine pending a negative test result.

South Carolina: The state is recommending (not mandating) that those coming from a region with widespread viral transmission adhere to quarantine for two weeks from the date of their departure.

Charleston, South Carolina
PHOTO: Charleston, South Carolina. (photo via Susanne Neumann/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Vermont: Residents of other Northeastern states that have a similar active COVID-19 caseload to Vermont (defined as less than 400 active cases per million) may enter without quarantining if they arrive in a personal vehicle.

– Out-of-state visitors arriving in a personal vehicle who are residents of quarantined counties must either undergo a fourteen-day self-quarantine upon arrival in Vermont or may complete a seven-day quarantine, followed by a negative test in their own state to enter Vermont without further restrictions.

– Those arriving via public transportation (i.e., plane, train or bus), or who must make stops while journeying in a personal vehicle, can complete either a fourteen-day quarantine or a seven-day quarantine, followed by a negative COVID-19 test taken in Vermont.

Virginia: There are currently no quarantine requirements for U.S. travelers, but the Department of Health instructs those who have traveled internationally, or aboard a riverboat or cruise ship, to self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms for fourteen days.

West Virginia: There are no official interstate travel restrictions in place, but West Virginia’s Bureau for Public Health recommends that persons “who have traveled or are traveling to a large or crowded vacation area” continue to quarantine and self-monitor for fourteen days upon entering the state.

Wisconsin: While there are currently no statewide restrictions, the Department of Health Services reports that several Wisconsin counties have issued jurisdictional travel advisories, which may require arrivals to quarantine or shelter in place at their destinations. Prospective visitors should be sure to check for area-specific safety updates and closures.