“We’re in the life and death race with a virus that is spreading quickly, with cases rising again,” said President Joe Biden at the White House at the end of March 2021.
This race to save and restart lives rests on how fast people can be vaccinated in relation to how much they can move about freely without endangering other people–and the news from the U.S. looks good. So, whilst daily infection rates are currently increasing across 30 states, President Biden’s pledge to offer the vaccine to any adult by the end of May has meant that many states are in the process of rolling out the vaccine far and wide.
For the travel industry, this is promising–the view of travel restrictions across the country in April shows a more relaxed attitude to people taking trips:
- The U.S. has vaccinated more people than any other country, with more than 40% of adults and 75% of more senior people having received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
- The CDC has also said that fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19 meaning that it is safe for fully-vaccinated people to travel safely within the U.S.–they now only need to get tested and quarantine if their destination requires it.
- As a result, many states are loosening travel restrictions. In April, a further 4 states ended travel protocols (Connecticut, since March 19 testing and quarantine are now only advised but not mandatory, Maryland, Minnesota, and Ohio), adding to the two states which ended restrictions at the end of February, Alaska and Pennsylvania. Maine intends to do the same from 1 May.
- What’s more, other states are lifting restrictions for domestic travelers, e.g. New York or New Hampshire, but keeping them in place for people making international journeys.
35 U.S. states currently have no state-wide travel restrictions
The following states do not currently have any state-wide travel restrictions; Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
15 states currently have state-wide travel restrictions
These are California, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State. (Washington D.C. also has travel restrictions).
California–out-of-state visitors must quarantine
People from out-of-state are discouraged to visit and such travelers are asked to quarantine for seven-10 days. In Los Angeles, all travelers over the age of 16 who are entering from another state or country must submit this online form.
Hawaii–passengers 5+ must be tested to avoid isolation
In order to bypass the 10-day quarantine, passengers over the age of 5 must have a negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT)–taken at an approved site–either in their hands upon arrival or uploaded into the health form online. This form will give passengers a QR code which can be given to airport screeners upon arrival. The situation has changed regularly across the different islands, so check Hawaii’s Safe Travels website before travel.
Illinois–there are now 22 ‘safe’ states
In Illinois, travel is unrestricted but arrivals into Chicago are categorised into two groups, orange and yellow, based on the infection rates in the home states.
The list of safe states, from which arrivals are not subject to any restrictions has risen to 22: Iowa, Ohio, Mississippi, New Mexico, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nevada, Kansas, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Oregon, Hawaii, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, and Kentucky (Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. are also included).
Anyone from an orange state must quarantine for 10 days or have a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours old. This currently applies to the other 27 states. (Illinois is not currently categorised on any list).
Kansas–quarantine list expanded for some countries/states
Kansas has some of the most specific travel requirements in the U.S., in that a mandatory quarantine is needed for anyone who has:
- traveled on or after March 26 to Delaware, Michigan, Rhode Island, Hungary or Jordan;
- traveled on or after March 12 to the states of New Jersey or New York or the country of Estonia or the State of Palestine;
- traveled on or after February 26 to the countries of Czechia, San Marino or Montenegro;
- taken a sea or river cruise since March 15 2020; and/or
- participated in an out-of-state mass gathering of more than 500 people (where masks were not worn and it was impossible to keep further than 6 feet apart).
If someone falls into this category they can ‘test out’ of a 10-day quarantine by taking a test on day 6 of quarantine and being released on day 8 when the negative result comes through (instead of day 11).
Kentucky–no legal restrictions in place
Kentucky has been discouraging out-of-state travel and asks that you quarantine for 14 days if you have traveled to any other state. However, there are no legal restrictions in place.
Maine–from May 1, all states will be exempt
Maine’s “Know Before You Go” campaign is encouraging visitors to test before they leave home and upon arrival visitors must enter a 10-day quarantine or sign to say they have had a negative Covid-19 test in the past 72 hours. Arrivals with pending tests must isolate until results come through. All types of Covid-19 tests are acceptable. All arrivals must sign a Certificate of Compliance. Residents of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are exempt as are travelers who are fully vaccinated. Starting May 1, Maine will classify all states as exempt unless otherwise determined.
Massachusetts–10 day quarantine in place
All out-of-state arrivals must quarantine for 10 days (even residents) or produce a negative Covid-19 test taken in the last 72 hours. Fully vaccinated people are exempt.
New Hampshire–all domestic travelers exempt
It is no longer necessary for domestic visitors to get tested or quarantine but arrivals are asked to get tested 3-5 days after arrival.
However, anyone who has traveled internationally (or on a cruise ship) within 10 days of arrival must quarantine for 10 days but they have the option of testing out at day 7, after taking a test on day 6. There are several situations where people are exempt, for instance, if they have undertaken essential travel to and from Canada, have had Covid-19 or have been vaccinated.
New Jersey–interstate travel is ill-advised
The state is currently advising against all non-essential interstate travel. Anyone returning from a state which isn’t New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware are advised to quarantine for at least 7 days and get regularly tested. Travelers from other than these four states are asked to complete an online survey.
New Mexico–Hawaii is the only low risk state
In New Mexico, the state is asking that visitors self-quarantine for 10 days or the entire length of stay, if it is shorter, even with a negative Covid-19 test from all high-risk states (a 5% or higher positivity rate or a positive test rate higher than 80 per one million residents, as measured over a 7-day rolling average). Every state is currently considered a high-risk state, except Hawaii.
New York–quarantine protocols lifted 1 April
All travel restrictions were lifted on 1 April for domestic U.S. travelers but arrivals are still asked to fill out a Traveler Health Form if they aren’t arriving from a neighboring state. All international travelers, however, must quarantine for 10 days or 7 days with a test taken on day 3 to 5.
Oregon–quarantine for 14 days for all arrivals
Any arrivals into Oregon, including returning residents from out-of-state, must self-isolate for 14 days. Non-essential travel and tourism is ill-advised.
Rhode Island–negative test stops quarantine need
Rhode Island visitors must quarantine for 14 days if arriving from states which have a positive testing rate of 5% or more, or they can opt out if they have a negative Covid-19 test taken in the last 72 hours. However, this exception doesn’t apply to international travelers, who must still quarantine. Visitors from out-of-state must also complete a certificate of compliance and a travel screening form.
The updated spreadsheet of states which are above 5% lists Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
However, if people have had Covid-19 in the past 90 days and completed isolation periods, they do not need to test or quarantine upon arrival.
Vermont–strictest protocols and lowest rates
As reported by CNN, Vermont has had one of the strictest protocols in place for travelers and one of the lowest Covid-19 rates in the U.S. The state has a 14-day quarantine in place for anyone arriving or returning to Vermont. Visitors can end the quarantine after 7 days if they can show proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
Anyone who is fully vaccinated does not need to quarantine.
Washington D.C.–testing before you come
Anyone who is traveling into the state is asked to get a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before their departure and not to travel if the result is positive–PCR tests are preferred. If the stay is longer than three days, another test must be done three to five days after arrival. Travelers from Hawaii, Maryland, North Dakota and Virginia are exempt, as are people who have been fully vaccinated or who have had Covid-19 within the last 90 days.