As the tri-state area comes out of lockdown, it’s wary of becoming a COVID-19 hot spot once again. Here’s what to know if you plan to visit.
This is a developing story. This article was last updated on July 29.
The threat of COVID-19 in New York City is still very real—and emotions raw. You’ll see locals outside, be it in playgrounds or nursing a cold beer on the sidewalk, and they have masks and Clorox wipes at the ready. Ask anyone from the city and they’ll rattle off names of people they know who’ve been sick with coronavirus; they themselves might have had it. Which is why the former COVID-19 epicenter of the world , and by extension, the state of New York, neighboring New Jersey, and Connecticut, are cautiously reopening in lockstep together with restrictions in place. Here’s what you need to know about summer travel. Want to visit New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut? Check if your home state is on the quarantine list first
If you’re coming from a current viral hot spot within the U.S., you’ll be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and possibly face fines ($2,000–$10,000 in New York) and mandatory quarantine if you break isolation.
“The quarantine will apply to any state where 10 of every 100,000 people test positive on a rolling seven-day basis, or where the positivity rate in the total population is 10 percent, also on a seven-day rolling basis,” the governors of the three states said in a press release.
As of July 28, travelers to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut from more than half the country—34 states, along with the newly added District of Columbia and Puerto Rico—are required to self-quarantine: Alabama
District of Columbia
North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Puerto Rico South Carolina Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia Washington Wisconsin You can find the latest list on the COVID-19 sites for New York , New Jersey , and Connecticut . How will the states enforce these travel restrictions? Travelers coming into New York by air, bus, train, or car are required to fill out a Traveler Health Form prior to arrival to ensure they’re following the state’s quarantine protocols. Travelers must list their contact information and the address of where they plan to quarantine.As of July 14, “enforcement” teams will be stationed at airports around the state to greet passengers and request proof of completion; anyone leaving the airport without completing the form will be “subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine,” according to the state . (How the rules for travelers arriving by bus, train, or car will be enforced has not been made clear.)New York is also treating this as an “if you see something, say something” situation: “To file a report of an individual failing to adhere to the quarantine pursuant to the travel advisory, please call 1-833-789-0470 or visit this website .”For Connecticut, travelers from the identified states must also fill out a travel health form on arrival ( ct.gov/travelform ). They’ll have to self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or temporary lodging, and risk a $1,000 fine if they don’t, according to the Connecticut travel advisory. If you drive into New Jersey along one of its major highways (the NJ Turnpike or Garden State Parkway, for example), you may see a sign that advises you to call 511 for quarantine updates. The robo call will tell you the latest list of states that require quarantine, and though “the self-quarantine is voluntary,” the state advises, “compliance is expected. Travelers and residents returning from impacted states typically will not need to check-in with public health officials, unless they are otherwise involved in contact tracing efforts or required to do so by their employer or any other federal, state or local law or order. It is expected that individuals will follow the recommendation to self-quarantine.”NJ Governor Phil Murphy said his state wouldn’t set up checkpoints along the state’s borders “but that the Department of Health would pursue cases of noncompliance if it became aware of them,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer . What if I just drove or flew through one of the restricted states—do I still need to quarantine? The travel advisory doesn’t apply to people passing through restricted states for a limited duration (less than 24 hours). If you’re stopping at a rest stop in a car, bus, or train, or you have a layover at an airport, you don’t need to self-quarantine, per New York State. What phase of reopening are New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in? As of July 29, all regions—including New York City —were in phase four of reopening. Phase four means low-risk outdoor and indoor arts and entertainment (zoos, museums, and professional sports among them) can resume. Hotels across the state can operate with restrictions, and NYC’s hotels have begun to reopen in earnest. Residents and travelers alike are required to wear a mask and maintain a six-foot distance in public.New Jersey is currently in phase two of reopening , meaning moderate-risk activities can resume. Right now, swimming pools, nonessential retail stores, and indoor portions of shopping malls are open; outdoor dining and gatherings of 500 people are also allowed. Casinos, amusement parks, and museums reopened on July 2, but movie theaters and arcades will remain closed. Hotels are open with restrictions.Connecticut is in phase two of reopening , with phase three expected to begin "soon." Hotels, amusement parks, museums, and indoor recreation businesses like movie theaters are currently open; restaurants are operating at 50 percent capacity indoors and 100 percent outdoors.For all states, it’s worth checking the latest COVID-19 information on their sites before booking anything. Follow AFAR on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter for the latest travel news. Get the latest travel intel and inspiration: