COVID-19 Travel Advisory

Effective March 22, 2021, all visitors and returning residents entering Massachusetts are advised to follow the Commonwealth’s new travel advisory as detailed below. The Commonwealth has made great progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and gradually re-open the economy, and all visitors and returning residents have a responsibility to help us keep transmission levels as low as possible.

As of Monday, March 22, all visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival.  Travelers in the following categories are exempt from this quarantine advisory:

  • Travelers who have received a negative COVID-19 result on a test administered not more than 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts.  Travelers may also test out of the quarantine advisory after arrival in Massachusetts, as long as they quarantine until receiving a negative test result.
  • Anyone who is entering Massachusetts for fewer than 24 hours
    • Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after being out of the State for fewer than 24 hours
    • Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) during required commuting to or from work and while at work.
    • Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago) and who do not have symptoms.

    All travelers are encouraged to consult and follow the CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel.

    Please find below more detailed information and answers to specific questions.

    Table of Contents

    Rules for Proper Quarantining and Testing Options

    Testing as an Alternative to Quarantine

    You do not need to quarantine if you took a test for COVID-19 and have received a negative result. The specimen for the test must have been collected not more than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts, and the testing must be by a method approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    If you took a test prior to your arrival but have not received your negative result, you should quarantine until you receive the negative result. You may obtain a test after your arrival in Massachusetts, but aside from visiting the testing center, you should quarantine until you obtain a negative result. Use the COVID-19 testing map to find a site near you

    Information about approved COVID-19 tests can be found here: About COVID-19 Testing. A negative result from an antigen test, other than the Abbott BinaxNOW, must be confirmed by a negative result from an FDA EUA-approved molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test, on a sample obtained 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Massachusetts. If a negative result is obtained from the Abbott BinxNOW antigen test, no PCR confirmation is required. Serology tests do not satisfy the testing alternative.

    Visitors are urged to obtain a negative result before traveling to Massachusetts.

    Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not necessary. Children 10 years and younger should follow the quarantine advisory and testing options completed by the household adult they accompanied for travel. If the accompanying adult chooses to quarantine, the child should also quarantine. If the accompanying adult chooses to obtain a test, the child and adult should quarantine until the adult’s negative test result is received.

    How to Properly Quarantine

    Travelers who arrive in Massachusetts who do not fall within one of the exemptions above should quarantine for a period of 10 days or until they depart Massachusetts (if departing sooner than 10 days after arrival)

    The requirements for proper quarantining are as follows:

    • Travelers, along with their travel party, must separate from all other people for 10 days.
    • Travelers must not be in public or otherwise leave the identified quarters.
    • The living quarters must have a separate bathroom facility for each individual or family group. Access to a sink with soap, water, and paper towels is necessary. Cleaning supplies (e.g. household cleaning wipes, bleach) must be available in the bathroom.
    • Travelers must have a way to self-quarantine from other travel party members if a fever or other symptoms develop, in a separate room(s) with a door.
    • During the quarantine period, no one else should be in the living quarters other than those in the Travel Party, including hotel staff or delivery persons, as applicable.
    • Food must be delivered to the living quarters.
    • Travelers must have a sufficient supply of face masks or face coverings to wear and must be compliant with the Massachusetts masking order.
    • Travelers are not to leave their living quarters except to receive urgent medical care or to obtain a COVID-19 test.
    • Travelers should engage in proper hygiene including washing hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used.
    • Travelers should remain aware of potential COVID like symptoms including: fever (temperature over 100.0 degrees); cough; difficulty breathing; shortness of breath; chills; muscle or body aches; runny nose or nasal congestion; new loss of taste or smell; headache; nausea; vomiting or diarrhea. Travelers with any of these symptoms should immediately self-isolate, contact a healthcare provider and seek testing.
    • If no one in the travel party develops symptoms, then the travel party may continue with their normal activities after 10 days.

    Massachusetts also requires all persons to wear a mask or other face covering in both indoor and outdoor settings and to remain 6 feet from others any time they are in settings with persons who are not members of their immediate household.

    What Happens if I Develop COVID-19 Symptoms While in Massachusetts? 

    If you develop symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate, contact a healthcare provider, and ask to be tested.  Even a person who has recently tested negative for COVID-19 should follow this rule as any diagnostic test is only a point-in-time clinical measurement.

    Leaving Massachusetts Prior to Completion of Quarantine

    A traveler may leave Massachusetts before the completion of their 10-day quarantine.

    International Travel

    Consult with the U.S. Department of State and CDC websites for COVID-19 information regarding international travel.

    All International travelers arriving in Massachusetts should quarantine for 10 days unless they can provide proof of a negative test result that meets the criteria stated above or they are covered by one of the other, limited exceptions.

    Potential Other Traveler Scenarios

    1. Does this apply to students arriving from other States or foreign countries to attend college or university or boarding school? 

    • Yes. The travel advisory applies to all persons entering Massachusetts from any point of origin. Students should quarantine for 10 days if they cannot provide proof of a negative test result that meets the standards of the 72-hour test rule.  In addition, any person traveling from a foreign country must comply with CDC requirements as a requirement of entry to the United States

    2. I had an antigen test which was negative, do I need to be tested again? 

    • Yes, a negative antigen test from any antigen test other than the Abbott BinaxNOW, must be confirmed by a negative result from an FDA EUA-approved molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test on a sample obtained 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Massachusetts.

    3. I am traveling with my children, I took a test and have my negative result. Do my kids need a test for COVID-19 as well?

    • It depends on each child’s age. If your child is 10 or younger, then the child does not need a test. If the child is 11 or older, then the child should be tested or should quarantine for 10 days, consistent with the Travel Advisory.

    4. I am a MA resident and I provide Critical Infrastructure Services.  I plan to go on vacation to Florida with my family. Do I need to quarantine when I return home from Florida?

    • Yes. Workers who travel from Massachusetts for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on the Critical Infrastructure Worker exemption upon return. You are advised to quarantine or sto obtain a negative COVID-19 test consistent with the Travel Advisory. Your status as a Critical Infrastructure Worker does not exempt you from the terms of the Advisory—even to do that specialized work—following travel for personal or leisure reasons.
    • Likewise, a Critical Infrastructure Worker who comes to Massachusetts for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on the Critical Infrastructure Worker exemption upon arrival and should either quarantine or satisfy the testing rule.

    5. I am dropping my child off at college in another state that is not considered lower risk. Do I need to quarantine when I come home?

    • It depends. If a parent/guardian/family member is returning to Massachusetts after an absence of fewer than 24 hours, then the individual is exempt from the advisory.  If the individual is staying overnight and will be out of state for more than 24 hours, then they should quarantine upon return or must meet the testing rule.

    6. I am visiting traveling to Massachusetts to visit a friend or relative in Massachusetts. I plan to quarantine in my friend or relative’s home. Does the host need to quarantine as well?

    • No. You should comply with the requirements for quarantining, including staying in a separate room from your host. However, your presence in your host's home does not require your host to quarantine.

    7. I am traveling to MA, I previously had COVID-19, I isolated pursuant to CDC guidelines and was released from isolation, do I still need to quarantine or meet the testing rule?

    • If you received a positive COVID-19 test result between 10 and 90 days ago and have completed the appropriate isolation period, you do not need to quarantine upon arrival to Massachusetts.
    • If you received a positive COVID-19 test result or a diagnosis of COVID-19 more than 90 days prior to arrival in Massachusetts you should quarantine upon arrival or comply with the testing rule.

    8. Can international travelers get tested in another country before arriving?

    • Yes, provided that they take a molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test that is authorized by their Government or an Abbott Binax test on a sample obtained 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Massachusetts. More information from the CDC here.

    9. I am a MA resident and went on vacation. Can I get a test in my vacation destination 72 hours before I come home instead of quarantining for 10 days?

    • Yes, provided the test meets the DPH specifications.

    10. I am a MA resident and went on vacation. Can I get a test once I arrive home in Massachusetts?

    • Yes. You can get tested once you arrive in Massachusetts. However, you should immediately begin the 10-day quarantine until you have received a negative test.

    11. I am a MA resident and I am required to travel from MA at the direction of the Military. Do I need to quarantine when I come home?

    • No. Massachusetts residents who go out of state for military work and then return to Massachusetts do not need to quarantine.

    12.  Are individuals  entering the state for the purpose of running errands, like going to the grocery store or pharmacy, or attending family gatherings exempt from the advisory to quarantine?

    • Yes, provided they are in the state for less than 24 hours.
    • During such trips, travelers are instructed to wear face-coverings, maintain social distance, practice good hygiene, and adhere to all other COVID-19 rules and restrictions.

    13.  Are parents, guardians, and children urged to comply with the Travel Advisory if traveling for the purpose of managing shared custody of a child?

    • Children who travel into and out of Massachusetts because of transfers of custody or visitation between parents or guardians are exempt from the quarantine advisory.  Parents and guardians accompanying the child are exempt if they are in the state for less than 24 hours.

    14.  My child attends day care or day camp in MA or RI.  Do they need to test or quarantine each day?

    • No. Children who travel into or out of Massachusetts to attend day care or day camps need not test or quarantine.
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