This is a developing story. This article was last updated on April 8, 2021.
The lingering threat of COVID-19 in New York City is still very real—and emotions raw. You’ll see locals outside, be it in playgrounds or nursing a cold beer on the sidewalk, and they have masks on and hand sanitizer at the ready. Ask anyone from the city and they’ll rattle off names of people they know who’ve been sick with coronavirus; they themselves might have had it. Which is why the former COVID-19 epicenter of the world, and by extension, the state of New York, neighboring New Jersey, and Connecticut, have cautiously reopened in lockstep together with restrictions in place.
Here’s what you need to know about travel to the tri-state area.
Do I need to quarantine or get a COVID test when traveling to and from New York?
As of April 1, New York is dropping its mandatory quarantine rule for domestic travelers coming from any other U.S. state or territory, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced. “This is great news, but it is not an all-clear for New Yorkers to let their guard down,” Cuomo said in a statement. “To beat this virus once and for all we all must continue doing what we know works to stop the spread, including wearing masks, washing our hands, and practicing social distancing.”
The NYS Department of Health still recommends you quarantine: The most recent rules stated that on arrival in New York, you should quarantine for three days. On day four, get a COVID-19 test and if the results are negative, you may exit quarantine. International travelers still face mandatory quarantine on arrival in New York. All travelers have to fill out an information form when they arrive in New York that will assist with any necessary contact tracing. Read the full story on the new testing process—and what to do if your test comes back positive.
Anyone exposed to COVID-19 or returning from a trip should contiue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Want to visit New Jersey? Check if you need to quarantine first
New Jersey continues to discourage nonessential interstate travel, but has modified its rules for some travelers. Quarantine and testing are no longer required if you have been fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose) or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.
Any travelers who don’t meet the above criteria and are coming to New Jersey from a states other than New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware should consider taking a COVID-19 test one to three days before their trip and three to five days after. If they test positive they should self-isolate for at least 10 days; if they test negative, they will still be asked to quarantine for seven days after arrival. If travelers are unable to take a test, they should quarantine for 10 days after arrival.
Connecticut has lifted most travel restrictions
As of March 19, Connecticut’s travel restrictions are no longer mandatory. While travelers are not required to quarantine or provide a negative test when entering Connecticut, the state recommends following the CDC’s guidelines for safe travel, which include getting tested three to five days after arrival and quarantining for a full seven days.
How will the states enforce these travel restrictions?
Travelers coming into New York by air, bus, train, or car are required to fill out a Traveler Health Form prior to arrival to ensure they’re following the state’s quarantine protocols. Travelers must list their contact information and the address of where they plan to quarantine.
If you drive into New Jersey along one of its major highways (the NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway, for example), you may see a sign that advises you to call 511 for quarantine updates.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said his state wouldn’t set up checkpoints along the state’s borders “but that the Department of Health would pursue cases of noncompliance if it became aware of them,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Unvaccinated arrivals are also asked to complete an out-of-state traveler registration form.
In Connecticut, quarantine and testing is no longer mandated. Instead, the state is asking travelers to adhere to CDC recommendations.
What if I just drove or flew through a restricted state—do I still need to quarantine?
The travel advisory doesn’t apply to people passing through restricted states for a limited duration (less than 24 hours). If you’re stopping at a rest stop in a car, bus, or train, or you have a layover at an airport, you don’t need to self-quarantine, per New York and New Jersey.
For all states, it’s worth checking the latest COVID-19 information on their sites before booking anything, since the rules continue to change as vaccinations progress.
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