Governor Charlie Baker on Friday imposed strict new restrictions and potential fines on travelers to Massachusetts, including state residents returning home, in an effort to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 as other parts of the country see cases rising unchecked.
Baker’s move follows the lead of several other states that have sought to keep the coronavirus outbreak outside their borders, but he is joining a relatively short list of leaders who are backing up their travel restrictions with fines. Many other states are imposing strict rules on incoming tourists — and residents returning home ― but significantly fewer are threatening financial penalties for noncompliance.
Here’s a look at some of the other cities and states imposing fines, and how those fines work:
New York and Connecticut
Governor Andrew Cuomo, together with Governors Ned Lamont of Connecticut and Phil Murphy of New Jersey, signed executive orders in June that require travelers to the tri-state area from states experiencing significant community spread of coronavirus to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, with the exception of essential workers and some others. New York is imposing a $2,000 fine on travelers who leave its airports without completing a form that states they will self-quarantine, while travelers to Connecticut are subject to a $1,000 fine for failing to comply with the advisory. New Jersey, however, is not imposing any fines at this time.
In New Jersey and New York, there is no exemption for those who can produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
“Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear as late as 14 days after exposure,” New York officials wrote in a FAQ posted online. “Therefore, a negative test cannot guarantee that you will not become sick. The full 14 days of quarantine are required.”
In Connecticut, if a traveler is unable to self-quarantine and can produce a negative COVID-19 test, they are exempt.
Currently, 31 states meet the criteria to be placed on the travel advisory list, meaning that travelers from those states, or residents returning home from those states, are subject to the quarantine order. A full list of states is available here.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, travelers to Hawaii have been required to self-quarantine for 14 days or face fines of up to $5,000, regardless of where they are arriving from. Essential workers are also included in the quarantine order, but they are allowed to break quarantine to report to work.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued an order for travelers to Chicago from 18 states to self-quarantine for 14 or be subject to a fine of $100 to $500 per day, up to $7,000. Exceptions include essential workers, and individuals traveling to the city under certain circumstances, such as to receive medical care. Chicago’s order does not include an exemption for those who can produce a negative COVID-19 test.
The Democratic governor of Illinois has expressed opposition to a statewide travel advisory.
“We don’t live in a country where you close the borders between states,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said this week.