Massachusetts Drops Its COVID-19 Interstate Travel Restrictions

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced today that the state is replacing the current COVID-19 travel rule (which takes effect August 1, 2020) with an optional travel rule.

Persons entering Massachusetts from another U.S. state will no longer be required to complete a travel form, remain in quarantine for 10 days, or show a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival to avoid quarantine. Previously, these restrictions applied to all low-risk states and territories, with the exception of designated states and territories, of which there are currently only five: Oregon, Washington, Missouri, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

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Under the new recommendation, homebound travelers, including returning residents who have been out of state for 24 hours or more, are encouraged to quarantine themselves for the first 10 days after their visit, but this is no longer considered mandatory.

According to NBC Boston, the governor’s office said the policy change takes effect Monday, March 22. In a press release, the administration also outlined how the state will begin the first phase of its Phase IV renewal strategy for all communities in Massachusetts on the same day.

In Phase IV, Phase 1, large sports and entertainment facilities, such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks, could operate at 12% of their capacity. It also increases the limit for gatherings in places of assembly and public places to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors.

Outdoor meetings in private homes and yards are limited to 25 people, while indoor meetings are limited to 10 people.

Depending on fee restrictions and event protocols, convention centers and exhibition halls may also reopen, dance floors may be used at weddings and certain events, and summer camps may operate with overnight accommodations.

According to a press release from the Massachusetts government, the new de-escalation of travel advisories does not apply to people who fall into any of the following categories:

-Everyone returning to Massachusetts after an absence of less than 24 hours.

-carriers with a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts.

-employees who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as mandated by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency), while traveling to and from work, and while at work.

Travelers who have been fully vaccinated (i.e., received two doses of Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or received one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine 14 days or more ago and are asymptomatic).

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