Massachusetts Issues Stronger Travel Restrictions

Massachusetts has issued strict new travel restrictions, including quarantine requirements, unless the person is coming from a “lower-risk state,” has proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or meets certain narrow exemptions.

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, Massachusetts had initially issued “instructions” asking visitors to the Commonwealth from out-of-state to quarantine for 14 days.  There were no penalties, however, associated with this instruction.

That changed on July 24, 2020, when Governor Baker issued a new Travel Order.  Effective August 1, 2020, anyone—including Massachusetts residents returning home—coming to Massachusetts from another state must (1) complete and submit an online “Massachusetts Travel Form” and (2) quarantine for 14 days.  “Quarantining” includes separating from all other people; not leaving identified quarters, or having anyone else come into those quarters; and having food delivered to the room.

There are several exceptions to this Travel Order:

  • Travelers coming from “lower-risk states” are not required to comply.  The current list of such states are: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
  • Travelers who have tested negative for COVID-19 based on a sample taken no longer than 72 hours before their arrival in Massachusetts are also exempt.  Such individuals must be able to provide proof of the negative test result.
  • Workers providing critical infrastructure services, as defined by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, are exempt, though for 14 days they can go only to their place of work and home.
  • People passing through Massachusetts to another state (e.g., people with connecting flights or bus connections) are exempt.
  • People who commute to or from Massachusetts for work or school do not have to comply, so long as they limit their travel out-of-state to their place of work or school only.
  • Patients seeking medical treatment and military personnel are exempt.

While there is no outright ban on work-related travel, the Travel Order “strongly discourages” employers from requiring or allowing business-related travel to non-lower-risk states.  Employers are also urged to strongly discourage their employees from taking leisure travel to non-lower-risk destinations.

There is a $500 fine per day for failure to comply with the Travel Order.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.