While we’re in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States has become something of a pariah, with very few countries willing to allow Americans to enter. Our number of people with COVID is so bad, in fact, that some states or states won’t allow the members of other states (or areas of the country) to enter without quarantining and/or showing a negative COVID test first.
A prime example of this is the New York tri-state area. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have a fluid list of states (currently 22, but they just made some changes to it) that have based on science and calculations, too many people currently positive for the virus to enter those states safely. So if you want to go to NY, NJ or CT and live in one of those 22 states, you have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or face a fine and/or jail time.
But what if you start in a state that’s “clean” (read: NY etc. deems OK to visit from), but have a layover in one of the “dirty” states? So you’re just “passing through.” Do you still have to quarantine when you get to NY?
For the most part, no.
There are, as of this writing, 18 states that have some sort of quarantine mandates on the books. The mandates vary from state to state in regards to “clean” vs. “dirty” states. But here’s what they say (or not – not all of them do) about quarantines when layovers are involved:
- Alaska – Anyone entering Alaska has to quarantine for 2 weeks, so layovers are a moot point.
- Connecticut – Quarantine does not apply to travelers who just have a layover in an impacted state.
- Florida – Layovers are not mentioned.
- Hawaii – Anyone entering Hawaii has to quarantine for 2 weeks, so layovers are a moot point. This will continue through at least August 31, 2020.
- Idaho (specifically Ada County) – Layovers are not mentioned.
- Illinois (specifically Chicago) – Quarantine does not apply to travelers who just have a layover in an impacted state.
- Kansas – Info from July does not mention layovers. However, their info from March says that if your travel was only to the airport (for example, a layover), you do not need to follow the quarantine orders. If you left the airport for any period of time, you would be subject to the 14-day quarantine.
- Maine – Anyone entering Maine (except from CT, NH, NJ, NY & VT) has to quarantine for 2 weeks, so layovers are a moot point.
- Massachusetts – Anyone entering Massachusetts (except from CT, NH, NJ, NY, ME, RI & VT) has to quarantine for 2 weeks, so layovers are a moot point.
- New Hampshire – Anyone entering New Hampshire (except from CT, MA, ME, RI & VT) has to quarantine for 2 weeks, so layovers are a moot point.
- New Jersey – Their travel advisory, “does not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration through the course of travel. Examples of such brief passage include but are not limited to: stopping at rest stops for vehicles, buses, and/or trains; or layovers for air travel, bus travel, or train travel.”
- New Mexico – Layovers are not mentioned. However, “If non-New Mexican residents fly into New Mexico for a brief business trip and adhere to covid-safe practices, they are allowed to fly back home after their business is complete.”
- New York – “The requirements of the travel advisory do not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration (i.e., less than 24 hours) through the course of travel. Examples of such brief passage include but are not limited to: stopping at rest stops for vehicles, buses, and/or trains; or lay-overs for air travel, bus travel, or train travel.”
- Ohio – Ohio’s page that would most likely have that information errors out.
- Pennsylvania – Layovers are not mentioned.
- Rhode Island – Layovers are not mentioned. However individuals who are self-quarantining do not apply to, “…attend funeral or memorial services, to obtain necessities such as groceries, gas or medication, to drop off or pick up children from day care, summer camps, or to anyone who must work on their boats.” (really Rhode Island, why even bother?)
- South Carolina – Layovers are not mentioned.
- Vermont – With some exceptions, anyone entering Vermont has to quarantine for 2 weeks, so layovers are a moot point.
Of course, all of this is very fluid, although some states appear to have had these rules on the books since as far back as March. And, of course, quarantines vary from what travelers “should” do to what they “must” do to “do this or you’re going to get a fine.” And then there’s Rhode Island, whose quarantine isn’t much of quarantine at all (you’re quarantined but you can still go grocery shopping and pick up your kid from day care or summer camp? Really?).
The patchwork way of each state (and sometimes just cities or counties) is handling its quarantine requirements makes for potential confusion. But without a federal directive, it’s probably the best we can do right now.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary