New York State Travel Restrictions: What You Need to Know

New York state has lately become among the country’s most conspicuous in terms of intensifying interstate travel restrictions amid the U.S.’s most recent wave of COVID-19 contagion. Governor Andrew Cuomo avows that his state, which was the early epicenter of the pandemic, absolutely cannot afford to take any risks that might result in the virus taking a renewed hold in the region.

New York is reevaluating the pandemic landscape on a weekly basis to inform the terms of its ongoing Travel Advisory, which was instituted jointly with New Jersey and Connecticut in June. These interstate restrictions require travelers coming to New York from certain states to undergo a fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival, with some severe penalties for noncompliance.

The policy hopes to discourage tourism from high-risk areas or, at least, prevent potentially infected visitors and returning residents from spreading further infection once they arrive. On July 21, New York added the names of ten more states to its list, bringing the current total up to 31 states.

These states currently meet the criteria, based upon a seven-day rolling average of states with more than ten-percent positive cases, or more than ten positives per 100,000 residents: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin. An updated list is always available by visiting the state’s dedicated website.

Fortunately for road-trippers, those who are spending less than 24 hours on New York soil while they’re just passing through are from these quarantine requirements. Such travelers are allowed to take brief stops while crossing, including at rest areas for vehicles, and in the course of layovers for those who are traveling by air, bus or train.

Travelers coming from restricted states are also required to complete the State Department of Health traveler form, informing authorities of their contact information and intended whereabouts during their visit. Airlines are distributing forms to passengers headed into the state, with enforcement teams also in place at airports to verify travelers’ compliance upon disembarkation.

Those entering the state of New York via other means of transport, such as cars, buses and trains, must complete the form online. Any out-of-state arrivals coming from the designated states who fail to complete the form will be subject to a fine of up to $10,000 or fifteen days’ imprisonment, or may be summoned to a hearing that results in a court order to complete the required quarantine.

All New York regions are currently in Phase Four of reopening. Both essential and approved non-essential businesses have been permitted to reopen, and certain commercial and recreational activities are also resuming statewide under specific sets of restrictions.

Lakes and beaches are now open, and individual or family aquatic activities are permitted, but large gatherings, beach parties and picnics are not allowed. Patrons will be asked to leave if there is overcrowding, and are required to wear masks when within six feet of people outside of their family or household group.

As has become the “new normal”, visitors and residents are instructed to wear a mask or suitable face-covering in all public places and maintain a distance of six feet from others wherever possible, as well as observing standard hygiene protocols and best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

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