Gov. Cuomo Replaces NY Travel Restrictions with COVID-19 Testing Mandate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday the state will impose a new set of quarantine rules for travelers entering New York.

With the COVID-19 travel advisory list recently mandating 45 states and territories to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, Cuomo has shifted gears now ridding the list and requiring travelers to get tested for coronavirus three days prior to entering New York and four days after arriving. While travelers will be required to quarantine for three days upon entering the state, the individual may exit quarantine if both tests come back negative for the virus.

States that are contiguous with New York, along with essential workers are exempt from quarantine protocol, he said.

The new protocol will go into effect on Nov. 4.

“We’re going to a new plan given the changing facts, and the experts suggest we shift to a testing policy,” Cuomo said. “So, there will be no quarantine list; there will be one rule that applies across the country.”

Back in June, Cuomo, along with governors in New Jersey and Connecticut, implemented a travel ban on states with a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or an area with a 10 percent or high positive rate over a 7-days rolling average. As of Tuesday, that list included 45 states and territories, with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey qualifying but exempt due to a high rate of interstate travel.

Cuomo has said in recent weeks that while he wants to deter the positive test rate from increasing, he knows people need to travel and will do so regardless of state mandates. Now, Cuomo said new guidelines will allow travelers from other states to test-out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule.

Travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours must obtain a test within three days of departure from that state, while quarantining for at least three days upon arrival. On day four of their quarantine, travelers must seek another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the individual may end their quarantine, Cuomo said.

For those who were in another state for less than 24 hours, the mandate states travelers do not need a test prior to their departure from the other state and don’t need to quarantine upon arrive in New York. However, the individual must fill out the traveler information form upon entry into New York and take COVID diagnostic test four days after arriving.

“The ship of State is sailing well: New York is the third lowest positivity rate in the nation and New Yorkers should be very proud of what they’re doing,” Cuomo said. “We bent the curve of this virus by following the data and science, and we are continuing that approach with these new guidelines.”

Local health departments will validate tests, if necessary, and if a test comes back positive, will issue isolation orders and initiate contact tracing. The local health department must contact the state the traveler came from, to ensure contact tracing proceeds there as well. All travelers must continue to fill out the traveler information form upon arrival into New York State to contribute to New York State’s robust contact tracing program.