Mass. loosens coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions on visitors from 4 states

Massachusetts officials on Friday moved California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Washington from the higher-risk category to the lower-risk category for COVID-19 transmission, meaning visitors to Massachusetts from those four states will have an easier time when they get here.



a sign on the side of a building: A "Welcome to Boston" sign hangs on the facade of a structure as two workers assemble a portion of a roof at Terminal E, where most international flights arrive and depart, at Logan Airport in Boston, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020.


© Charles Krupa
A “Welcome to Boston” sign hangs on the facade of a structure as two workers assemble a portion of a roof at Terminal E, where most international flights arrive and depart, at Logan Airport in Boston, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the change in a statement and said the state was also changing the way it assesses the risk level posed by people arriving from different states.

The Department of Public Health’s metric for determining a state’s risk level for purposes of interstate travel policy will consider two weeks of data before moving a state from lower-risk to higher-risk, the statement said.

The metric will consider one week of data before moving states in the other direction, into the lower-risk category, the statement said.

The state also said it would be raising the threshold of cases per 100,000 that would designate a state as higher-risk, from 6 cases per 100,000 to 10 cases per 100,000. The statement said officials were “bringing Massachusetts’ standard more in line with other states.” (Massachusetts itself had been failing to meet its own standard since late September, when its case rate went over 6. This week, the rate was 8.7 percent.)

The change had immediate implications for visitors from four states.

“Following this, Massachusetts updated today its state travel list, moving California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Washington state from the higher-risk category to the lower-risk category. This is effective at 12:01 am on 10/17,” the statement said. “Travelers arriving from these states will no longer need to fill out the MA Travel Form and follow quarantine rules under the travel order.”

The full list of low-risk states on the Massachusetts website Friday: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington.

Visitors to Massachusetts from any other state must either quarantine for 14 days once they arrive or produce a negative coronavirus test that had been administered up to 72 hours prior to getting here. They must also fill out an official Massachusetts Travel Form.

“All individuals arriving in Massachusetts by any means or mode, including Massachusetts residents who have left the state for anything more than transitory travel, are covered by the Massachusetts travel rule,” the state says on its website. “Accordingly, even travelers not required to complete the form should act in compliance with the rule.”

There are a number of exceptions to the rule, including commuters coming into Massachusetts for work or school, patients seeking or receiving medical treatment, military personnel traveling to the state for official duty, and workers providing critical infrastructure services, according to mass.gov.

Dasia Moore of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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