Summer travelers should take note of varying state travel restrictions


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Travel restrictions are in place in many U.S. states

Ole Olafson , Reporter

Anyone planning on taking a summer vacation before the end of summer should be sure to check with individual states regarding their rules for visitors from other places during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Many states have enacted regulations which require travelers from high transmission areas, or sometimes any areas, to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.  Like most quickly constructed policies aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, travel restrictions between states seem to be a confusing patchwork of widely varying rules.  Some make perfect sense and others don’t seem to be grounded in much of anything.

It appears that some state governors applied science and rational thought to their policies.  Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have a entered into joint travel advisory which requires a 14-day quarantine for visitors from any region with a transmission rate of at least 10 positive tests for every 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average.  In late June, it would have included Ala., Ark., Ariz., Fla., N.C., S.C., Wash., Utah and Tex.

Other states like Alaska and Hawaii are using a system which requires visitors to have proof of a recent negative test.  Visitors can also test after arrival but need to quarantine until the results come back.  If the visitor tests positive or rejects testing they will have to quarantine.

A few states have adopted broader, blanket-type travel restrictions.  Massachusetts and Vermont basically require all travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Nebraska requires all international travelers to quarantine for two weeks and anyone spending less than 14 days in the state to quarantine for their entire visit.  All visitors to Maine must quarantine unless they have negative test results not older than 72 hours.

Places like Arkansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia don’t have any legally binding restrictions in place but ask only that travelers consider self-quarantining, especially if they have traveled internationally or from high-transmission areas.

Still others, like Florida have puzzling restrictions that don’t completely make sense.  The sunshine state only has restrictions in place for travelers from N.Y., N.J. and Conn.