New York State Issues Updated Travel Advisory; Relaxes Travel Restrictions
On April 10, 2021, the New York State Department of Health again updated its COVID-19 Travel Advisory for domestic and international travel. The advisory removes many of the quarantine requirements for domestic and international travelers arriving in New York State and clarifies existing guidance for all travelers. Additional information about the current restrictions on travel to New York State is provided below.
With the exception of healthcare workers (see below), there is no testing or quarantine requirement for domestic travelers entering New York State under the latest travel advisory. This largely remains unchanged from the April 1, 2021 version of the advisory.
However, the state does recommend that unvaccinated domestic travelers who have not recently recovered from COVID-19 get tested between days 3-5 after travel. The state also recommends that they consider self-quarantining for 7 days if tested, and 10 days if not tested.
The latest version of the travel advisory also removes many of the restrictions for international travelers. Under the latest travel advisory, international travelers arriving in New York State are no longer required to quarantine or be tested upon arrival. However, the State has issued the following recommendations for international travelers, consistent with CDC recommendations:
Fully vaccinated international travelers should get a COVID-19 test between days 3-5 after arrival in New York.
Unvaccinated international travelers are recommended to delay all international travel until they are fully vaccinated. Individuals who do travel from abroad should get a COVID-19 test between days 3-5 after arrival in New York. They should also consider self-quarantine for 7 days after arrival, or 10 days if the individual does not get tested. No matter the test result, they should avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease.
International travelers arriving in New York must also follow CDC requirements for international travel. Currently, the CDC requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days before travel or proof of a recent recovery from COVID-19 in order to board a plane to the United States.
These guidelines do not apply to international travelers from Canada arriving at a land border. These travelers must comply with the United States and Canada’s agreement regarding land travel between the two countries, which prohibits all non-essential travel.
Requirements for Healthcare Workers
The state has also added additional requirements for unvaccinated healthcare workers arriving in New York State who have not recently recovered from COVID-19:
Health care personnel who work in nursing homes, enhanced assisted living residences, or assisted living programs must furlough from work for 14 days upon arrival. This requirement applies to both domestic and international
Health care personnel working in all other health care settings cannot return to work for 10 days after international travel. However, if they get tested between days 3-5 after travel, and receive a negative test result, they only need to furlough for 7 days. Regardless of tests results, these individuals must also avoid contact with people at higher risk of severe disease for 14 days. There is no corresponding requirement after their domestic travel.
Those who have left New York for less than 24 hours, or who are arriving from a contiguous state, are exempt from these requirements.
The state also clarified the definitions of fully vaccinated, recently recovered, and contiguous state in relation to the travel guidance:
Fully Vaccinated is defined as being two or more weeks from receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or being two or more weeks from receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The guidance no longer requires that the individual receive their last vaccination within the previous 90 days in order to be considered fully vaccinated. The guidance also clarifies that receiving a vaccine not authorized by the FDA, either for emergency use or in general, will not satisfy the definition of fully vaccinated.
Recently Recovered is defined as: (1) being fully recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 as to meet the criteria for discontinuation of isolation; (2) being within 3 months of the start of symptoms or the date of a positive COVID-19 test if an individual remained asymptomatic; and (3) remaining asymptomatic.
Contiguous States include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Travelers arriving from a contiguous state or who only leave the state for less than 24 hours are not required to complete the NYS Travel Health Form upon arrival. All other travelers must continue to complete the form.
In addition, all travelers to New York should continue to monitor symptoms for 14 days after arrival and immediately self-isolate if any symptoms develop. They should also continue strict-adherence to social distancing guidelines, including wearing face coverings.
With respect to employment, the Advisory reminds businesses that any New York State resident who voluntarily engages in certain travel may not be eligible for leave under New York State’s COVID-19 leave law.
According to the Advisory, employers are also permitted to require employees to stay home from work in any situation where the state recommends quarantine. Employers should consult with counsel before implementing travel restrictions that are more restrictive than what is required by the state, as such policies may have implications under the state’s COVID-19 leave law and guidance issued by the New York State Department of Labor.