On October 31, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that new guidelines allowing out-of-state travelers entering New York State to “test out” of the State’s mandatory 14-day quarantine will take effect on November 4, 2020. When effective, the new guidelines will apply to travel to New York State from any other state and will replace the initial guidelines that required quarantine only if a traveler came to New York State from one of the COVID-19 “hot spot” states as identified by New York State. As under the initial guidelines, travelers from states that are contiguous with New York State, as well as essential workers, will continue to be exempt from the travel advisory.
The new guidelines allow travelers to New York State from out of state, exempting the contiguous states, to “test out” of the mandatory 14-day quarantine as follows:
Travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours:
- Travelers must obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of departure from that state.
- The traveler must, upon arrival in New York State, quarantine for three days.
- On day four of his or her quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID-19 test. If both tests comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
Travelers who were in another state for less than 24 hours:
- The traveler does not need a test prior to departure from the other state and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York State.
- The traveler must take a COVID-19 diagnostic test four days after his or her arrival in New York State.
Local health departments will validate tests, if necessary, and if a test comes back positive, will issue isolation orders and initiate contact tracing.
All travelers, regardless of how long they were in another state, must continue to fill out New York State’s Traveler Health Form upon entering the State. Travelers arriving by air who leave the airport without completing the form are subject to a $2,000 fine, and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete a mandatory quarantine. Travelers arriving in New York State by other means, including trains and cars, must fill out the form online.
As a result of these changes, employers should review their employee travel policies and make any adjustments as needed to ensure that they continue to comply with New York State’s COVID-19 guidelines for employees traveling to New York State from another state.
Employers should also remember that all international travelers entering New York State from any country for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 2 or 3 COVID-19 travel advisory are also subject to mandatory quarantine and must complete the Traveler Health Form.