Effective July 1, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker issued a travel advisory advising travelers from out-of-state, including Massachusetts residents, to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering the commonwealth. Effective August 1, 2020, this advisory was replaced by a travel order enforcing and adding some exemptions to the previous advisory.
Both the travel advisory and travel order included a list of lower-risk states to be exempted from travel restrictions. The travel advisory’s list included all New England states as well as New York and New Jersey. The subsequent travel order’s list included the same states and added Hawaii.
Effective Friday August 7, 2020, Rhode Island has been removed from Massachusetts’ list of lower-risk states for contracting COVID-19. Following a surge of active COVID cases, Rhode Island has been removed from the lower-risk list of New York, Connecticut, and now Massachusetts, with other states likely to follow suit.
Despite this change, travelers from Rhode Island may still be exempted from travel restrictions if they fall under the following exemptions.
- Transitory travelers passing through Massachusetts on the way to another destination;
- Commuters for work or school who have to travel out of or into Massachusetts at least weekly;
- Patients seeking or receiving specialized medical care;
- Military personnel travelling under the order or directive of a Federal or State military authority;
- Or workers providing critical infrastructure services.
Any travelers from Rhode Island, including Massachusetts residents who do not meet one or more of these exemptions must complete and submit the online Massachusetts Travel Form.
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 aforementioned 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.
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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.