News·6 min read

State travel restrictions to know before the holidays

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Dec 22, 2020

Last updated on Dec. 22

We’re finally nearing the end of 2020. And it turns out, the holidays are just as chaotic as the rest of the year. Cases are on the rise and the CDC says it's not safe to travel.

What if I still plan to travel? Asking for a friend...

If that's the case, make sure you stay safe and know the state rules...

States with travel restrictions: enter the state you have to submit a travel declaration and self-isolation plan online, or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Alternatively, you could purchase a $250 COVID-19 test upon arrival and then quarantine until the results arrive. But businesses are mostly open and there’s no mandate on masks.

California...Following a recent rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the state Governor Gavin Newsom said he was “pulling the emergency brake” and issued a regional stay-at-home order. If a region's available ICU beds drop below 15% then that region must follow the guidelines of the order for at least three weeks. Most tourism is shut down. And public health officials recommend quarantining for 14-days after entering or returning from California. Also, masks are required.

Connecticut...Last week, Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order issuing anyone traveling to CT from a state or territory, (other than NY, NJ, or RI), or from outside the country must self-quarantine for a 10-day period. You also have to fill out a Travel Health Form. Failure to fill out the form or self-quarantine may result in a $500 violation.

Washington D.C....You need to get a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before traveling to the nation’s capital. And if it’s positive, you’re told to stay home. The district also recommends staying home if you’ve come in contact with someone who tested positive. And if you’re planning to stay for more than three days then they advise getting tested within three to five days after arrival. Plus, masks are mandatory.

Hawaii…(aka the strict state.) The state requires a 10-day quarantine. But if you want to bypass it, then proof of a negative COVID-19 test must be submitted to Hawaii’s Safe Travels system or you have to have a hard copy of the negative result before boarding your flight. That’s not all. Tests taken after the flight are not accepted. And showing up without a negative result triggers the mandatory quarantine. Unless you’re traveling to the island of Kauai, it opted-out of the pre-testing program. Meaning: the quarantine there is mandatory no matter what the test results say. Also, masks are mandatory in the state. In fact, it’s the law.

Illinois...masks are mandatory but there's no statewide restriction on travel. But if you’re planning on heading to Chicago then you may want to look at this map. Travel rules vary pending on what color (red, orange, or yellow) your state of origin is designated as. Red = mandatory 10-day quarantine. Orange = 10-day quarantine or a pre-arrival negative COVID-19 test. Yellow = you’re in the clear – no test or quarantine required.

Kansas...gets into the nitty-gritty. If you attended an out-of-state mass gathering of 500 or more where you did not socially distance or wear a have to quarantine for 14-days. Or if you previously went on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March also have to quarantine. There is a mask mandate, but not all counties must participate. And some are having a hard time enforcing it.

Kentucky...Last week, the state’s Department for Public Health revised its travel guidance following a spike after Thanksgiving. Now, they are discouraging all out-of-state leisure travel until further notice. And upon return, they recommend a voluntary self-quarantine of 14 days. Also, masks are a must.

Maine...wants you to get a COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival. Or you have to quarantine for at least 10 days. Unlike other states, it’ll accept a post-arrival negative COVID-19 test to bypass quarantine.

Massachusetts…requires travelers to fill out a Travel Form, quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, or produce a negative COVID-19 test at least 72-hours prior to arrival. Its asking that visitors who do not get tested before they arrive quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Failure to comply with these measures may result in a $500 fine per day.

Minnesota...highly discourages out-of-state travel because of the high level of coronavirus spread in its communities. And it's asking all visitors and residents to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

New Hampshire...recommends self-quarantine for 10 days after arriving for most travelers except those from Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – they're exempt. The state also has a seven-day rule: If the person is asymptomatic and has a negative COVID-19 test on or after day seven of quarantine, they may shorten or end their quarantine.

New Jersey...strongly discourages all non-essential interstate travel right now. But it advises that travelers should quarantine for 10 days (or seven days and a negative COVID test). And it recommends getting a COVID-19 test before and after arriving in the state.

New upfront. Travelers headed to the southwestern state are required to quarantine for 14 days unless they are traveling from a low-risk state. No state is currently considered “low risk” to New Mexico.

New York...doesn't make it easy. First, travelers must get tested at least three days before leaving to come to NY. After arriving, visitors must quarantine for three days. Then on day four, you have to get a second COVID-19 test. If both tests were negative, you can end quarantine early.

Ohio...advises a 14-day self-quarantine for those coming from states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or higher for COVID-19.

Oregon...recommends a 14-day quarantine for all visitors and returning residents. Tourism and recreational travel are considered nonessential.

Pennsylvania...requires a negative COVID-19 test 72-hours before arrival. It accepts COVID-19 tests after arrival but requires quarantining until you can provide a negative test result.

Rhode Island...asks travelers to fill out a certificate of compliance and travel screening form before arrival. And anyone traveling to Rhode Island from states with a COVID-19 positivity rate higher than 5% must quarantine for 14 days. But visitors can skip the quarantine period if they have a negative test result at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

Vermont...strongly advises against nonessential travel. All out of state travelers who are staying at a lodge, short-term rental property, or camping must fill out a Certificate of Compliance to promise that they will meet the quarantine requirement.

Washington...recommends a 14-day quarantine for interstate and international travel and asks residents to stay close to home.

That’s 21 of 50 states with defined travel restrictions. Meaning the rest of the states are a little more lax. Especially Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee – none of which have mask mandates or travel restrictions.


The vaccine may be on the horizon, but COVID-19 still isn't over. So if you're going to cross state lines, make sure you're following guidelines to keep yourself and everyone else safe.

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