Every state has different travel restrictions in place in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
When Phase 3 began at the end of June, Gov. Gina Raimondo put new restrictions in place, which included a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming into Rhode Island from a state with a positivity rate of 5% or higher. A running list of those states can be found here, which is updated weekly and currently consists of 33 states and Puerto Rico.
10/19 Update: Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia added to the list; Alaska and Maryland removed
Anyone who can show they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours is exempt. Travelers, even if asymptomatic, can sign up for a free test here.
If you get tested after entering Rhode Island, the state asks that you quarantine until you receive your results.
Anyone from those states who checks in at a hotel or rental property will need to sign a certificate of compliance stating they have had a negative test result or intend to quarantine.
The following people are also exempt from the restrictions, according to Raimondo’s office:
- Public health, public safety or healthcare workers
- People traveling for medical treatment
- Traveling to attend a funeral or memorial service
- Obtaining necessities such as groceries, gas or medication
- Dropping off or picking up children from day care and summer camps
- Anyone who must work on their boat
Rhode Islanders who travel to Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days or show they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous 72 hours. However, they don’t have to quarantine if crossing the border for quick errands like grocery shopping or banking.
On September 22, Rhode Island was added to the travel advisory lists for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
Learn More: COVID-19 Travel Information » | Travel and Transit Guidelines »
Beginning August 1, anyone entering Massachusetts (visitors and returning residents alike) from a state considered “high-risk” for COVID-19 has to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative test result.
Those found to be in violation of the order could be fined $500 per day.
There are exemptions, which include people traveling from one of nine “lower-risk states,” along with people commuting to work or school, people receiving specialized medical treatment, and military personnel.
However, workers or students who travel out-of-state for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on that exemption, according to Mass. officials.
Rhode Island remains the only state in New England on Massachusetts’ travel advisory list.
COVID-19 Travel Order: List of requirements and exemptions »
To be considered lower-risk, a state’s average daily cases must be below six per 100,000 people and the positive test rate has to be below 5%. The Mass. Department of Public Health will continue to update the list based on public health data.
Below are some other travel scenarios that may be relevant to Southern New Englanders, with answers from Mass.gov.
If I live near the border of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, can I cross it to run errands?
“Travelers are exempt from the requirements to fill out the Travel Form and self-quarantine or obtain a negative COVID-19 test result if their travel is limited to brief trips for purposes that the commissioner has designated as Critical Life Activities:
- Grocery shopping
- Visits to pharmacies
- Attending appointments with licensed health care providers, including medical, dental, or mental health
- Visiting persons receiving treatment in hospitals or residing in congregate care facilities
- Attendance at day care or children’s camps
- Attending religious services, and funerals or memorial services
- Attending to the care needs of a family member
“During such trips, travelers are instructed to wear face-coverings, maintain social distance, practice good hygiene, and adhere to all other COVID-19 rules and restrictions.”
My child attends day care or camp in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. Does he or she need to test or quarantine each day?
“No. Children who travel into or out of Massachusetts to attend day care or day camps are not required to comply with the Travel Order, and a parent or guardian transporting the child may rely on the transitory travel exemption, provided they comply with its limitations.”
I live in Rhode Island and have a family member receiving specialized care in Massachusetts. Can I visit them?
“Yes. See the response above, which explains the commissioner’s limited exception for Critical Life Activities.”
I’m a Rhode Island resident attending a wedding in Massachusetts. Is the wedding exempt under “religious services?”
“The wedding service itself can be considered an exemption as a religious service. However, any reception or celebration which either precedes or follows the ceremony is not exempted and requires either quarantining or a 72 hour negative test result in order to attend.”
Are trips that last less than 24 hours exempt from the order?
“No, there is no specific exemption for trips that last less than 24 hours. Such short trips may be covered by exemptions like the ones for transitory travel or commuting for work or school. The full list of exemptions is here. Travelers arriving from places other than lower-risk states must fill out the Travel Form and self-quarantine or obtain a negative test result if they do not meet one of these exemptions.”
Visit Mass.gov or text “MATraveler” to 888-777 for more information.
Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order which says anyone traveling to Connecticut from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a positivity rate higher than 10% over a seven-day rolling average must self-quarantine for 14 days and fill out a travel health form upon arrival.
Download the Travel Health Form here »
Connecticut’s website has a running list of states included in the travel advisory, which is updated weekly. It currently consists of 36 states, along with Puerto Rico and Guam.
Anyone who fails to follow these rules could be fined $1,000 per violation.
Essential workers in critical infrastructure sectors are exempt from the travel advisory.
In terms of international travel, the state said to follow the CDC’s guidelines.