March 11th marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a global pandemic. Despite the hardships and setbacks within the past year, relief appears to be on the horizon as several companies have independently developed viable COVID-19 vaccines for distribution. With the introduction of the vaccines, both domestic and international travel is likely to increase, necessitating a change in travel guidelines. The Department of Health (“DOH”) has recently released guidance updating restrictions for travelers arriving in New York from out of state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has also announced changes to quarantine requirements for domestic travelers entering New York.
DOH Guidance Update
Despite the change in policy noted here, DOH still recommends quarantining as an added precaution.
The updated DOH guidance requires that all individuals coming into New York from either a non-contiguous state, U.S. territory, or country complete a traveler health form. Travelers from non-contiguous states who have been outside of New York for more than 24 hours must quarantine pursuant to DOH guidance unless:
A COVID-19 test was obtained within 3 days prior to arrival in New York.
The traveler quarantined for a minimum of 3 days from arrival.
The traveler obtained a COVID-19 test on the 4th day.
First responders (and other essential workers) traveling from a non-contiguous US state or territory are granted exceptions based on the duration of their stay. However, persons who meet the criteria must comply with DOH guidance for returning to work following exposure to, or a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The guidance incorporates the new CDC requirements for travel from other countries. Air passengers traveling to the U.S. from another country must show documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 within the previous 3 months or a negative test result from no more than 3 days prior to the day of travel before boarding a flight. This restriction is applicable to U.S. residents and visitors from other countries. After arriving in the U.S., all travelers must either quarantine for 7 days with a test within 3-5 days of travel, or quarantine for 10 days without a test.
Teachers, school employees, and childcare workers must quarantine for a minimum of three days after returning to New York from a non-contiguous state and must be tested on the 4th day after arriving.
Health care workers must follow the travel guidance as outlined by the DOH found here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/03/update-interim-hcp-return-to-work-march-10-2021_0.pdf
The updated DOH guidance has set quarantine requirements as follows:
The individual must not be in public or otherwise leave the quarters that they have identified as suitable for their quarantine.
The individual must be situated in separate quarters with a separate bathroom facility for each individual or family group.
The individual must have a way to self-quarantine from household members as soon as fever or other symptoms develop, in a separate room with a separate door.
Food must be delivered to the person’s quarters.
Quarters must have a supply of face masks for individuals to put on if they become symptomatic.
Garbage must be bagged and left outside for routine pick up.
A system for temperature and symptom monitoring must be implemented to provide assessment in place for the quarantined person in separate quarters.
The quarters must be secured against unauthorized access.
Governor Cuomo’s Changes
Starting April 1st, 2021, under the changes announced by the Governor, domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine when entering New York from another U.S. State or territory. The quarantine requirement for international travelers is still active. All travelers are required to complete the Traveler Health Form, and it is strongly suggested that all persons continue to adhere to safety guidelines including mask wearing and social distancing.
The changes made by Governor Cuomo apply only to vaccinated or non-exposed travelers. Regardless of quarantine status, all individuals exposed to COVID-19 or returning from travel must:
Continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14.
Continue strict adherence to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, including hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, through Day 14 (even if fully vaccinated).
Must immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider to report this change in clinical status and determine if they should seek testing.
Additional guidance about COVID-19 regulations and updates may be found here: