Baker issues new travel order which includes filling out form, possible fines

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WPRI) — Starting August 1, anyone entering Massachusetts from a state considered high-risk for COVID-19 will have to fill out a travel form prior to arrival, according to an executive order announced by Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday.

Unless exempt from the order, both visitors from out-of-state and Massachusetts residents returning home must also quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered within the previous 72 hours.

The exemptions include travelers coming from one of eight “lower-risk states,” which include all of New England, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii, along with people commuting to work or school, people receiving specialized medical treatment, and military personnel.

COVID-19 Travel Order: List of requirements and exemptions »

“We have a lower average for positive tests than many states around the country and we want to keep it that way as travel volumes increase from other states and around the world,” Baker said Friday. “The most important thing I’ll say today is very simple: every traveler coming to Massachusetts, no matter where they’re from, has a responsibility to help keep COVID-19 out of the Commonwealth.”

Failure to submit the travel form or comply with the quarantine requirement may result in a fine of $500 per day, according to Baker.

To be considered low-risk, a state must have similar or lower case data as Massachusetts, including the average daily cases being below six per 100,000 people and the positive test rate being below 5%. The Mass. Department of Public Health will continue to update the list of lower-risk states based on positive test rates.

Baker said the guidelines for different industries like higher education and lodging have been updated to reflect the new order. Hotels and Airbnb hosts will be required to inform guests of the travel order at the time of booking and arrival.

Data has shown a gradual and steady increase in travel since March on both the roadways and at the airport, according to Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

“New travel protocols are being announced today because our goal is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as out-of-state travel increases,” she said.

At Logan Airport, the amount of passengers going through TSA checkpoints each day increased from roughly 3,000 in May to more than 7,000 in June and nearly 12,000 in the first three weeks of July, Pollack noted. Of the 200 to 300 flights arriving each day, she said on average, 51 of those flights are from Florida, California and Texas, where case counts remain high.

For more information, visit mass.gov/MATraveler or text “MATraveler” to 888-777.

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