Effective July 1, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker had issued a travel advisory restricting out-of-state travel to Massachusetts, including state residents returning from other states. Anyone entering Massachusetts has been required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers coming from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, or New Jersey are exempted from these restrictions, as are critical infrastructure workers. The governor has since issued a travel order amending and clarifying his previous advisory.
On July 24, 2020, Governor Baker issued a travel order to take effect on August 1, 2020. This travel order reinforces many of the same guidelines laid out in his previous travel advisory but clarifies and elaborates on some of the exemptions to the travel restrictions. The travel order also allows the state to punish violators up to $500 per violation and that each day of failure may be treated as a separate violation and may result in a separate $500 civil fine, which the previous advisory did not.
In short, the updated travel order requires anyone arriving in Massachusetts, both residents and nonresidents, to self-quarantine for 14 days, with the following exemptions:
- Visitors coming from lower-risk COVID-19 states who have only been in lower-risk states for the past 14 days. Lower-risk COVID-19 states include Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, New Jersey, AND Hawaii (which was not included in the previous advisory).
- Anyone who has received a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Massachusetts. The negative test result must be produced on request.
- Travelers who are only passing through Massachusetts on their way to another location. This exemption only applies for the time it takes to reasonably travel through the state without unnecessary delays.
- Anyone who must regularly commute in or out of Massachusetts for work or school, as long as the travel is only between the traveler’s residence and work or school.
- Anyone who must travel to Massachusetts for specialized medical care from a physician in the Commonwealth.
- Anyone required to travel to Massachusetts by order of a federal or state military authority.
- And, finally, anyone entering Massachusetts to perform a critical infrastructure function as defined here.
Travelers to Massachusetts who are not covered by any of these exemptions can end their selfquarantine early by receiving a negative COVID-19 test result. Anyone required to selfquarantine upon arriving in Massachusetts or exempted due to a negative test result should fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form before arriving in the state.
Employers Next Steps
- Limit any business travel outside of lower-risk COVID-19 states whenever possible to avoid forcing employees to self-quarantine for 14 days on their return.
- Clarify any policies regarding employees traveling outside of the above-mentioned states for non-work-related reasons (i.e., is such travel prohibited, do employees need to provide notice of travel plans, etc.), and be sure to enforce them consistently.
- If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with updating your travel policies, please email us at email@example.com.
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