If you’re looking to hit the road for the holidays in 2020, you should be aware that some states have enacted restrictions that may put a damper on plans. While the CDC currently recommends all Americans suspend travel for the holidays, that’s not always possible. We took a look at the travel restrictions in every state and what they mean for the holidays. More information can be found by clicking on each state’s name, and we will update if restrictions change.
States with No Restrictions
As of December 7th, the following states have zero restrictions on travel or activity as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States with Caveats or Limited Restrictions
As of December 7th, the following states have limited restrictions, or caveats. These may include recommendations, public health campaigns that discourage typical travel-related activities, or mask mandates. According to Mercury News, these states are somewhere between travel restricted and zero restrictions:
- Alabama: While Alabama currently has no restrictions on travel, a state-wide mask mandate is in effect through December 11th and is expected to be extended.
- Colorado: Although Colorado has no travel restrictions, nonessential travel is strongly discouraged.
- Illinois: There is no state-wide travel restriction in Illinois, but Chicago has restrictions. Per Mercury, “visitors heading to Chicago have been placed in three categories — red, orange and yellow. Anyone from a red state must quarantine for 14 days. Anyone from an orange state must have a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours old or observe the quarantine.” Details on which states qualify for which level of restriction can be found on the state website.
- Iowa: There is a mask mandate in place state-wide for those over the age of 2.
- Indiana: There are no travel restrictions, but there is a state-wide mask mandate.
- Maryland: No travel restrictions, but a state-wide mask mandate is in effect.
- Nevada: No state-wide travel restrictions but there is a venue capacity limit and restrictions on gatherings.
- Texas: No travel restrictions but there is a public health campaign encouraging people to wear masks.
- Utah: No travel restrictions but there is a state-wide mask mandate in place.
- Wisconsin: While there are no travel restrictions, the governor has enacted restrictions that may curb travel or holiday-related activities.
States with Travel Restrictions or Quarantine Requirements
Per Mercury, these are the states with restrictions that could interfere significantly with travel:
- Alaska: “Alaska’s latest travel protocols have been in effect since August 11. Visitors from other states must do one of the following:
— Submit a travel declaration and self-isolation plan online and arrive with proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
— Follow a plan that your employer filed with the state if you come for work.
— Buy a $250 Covid-19 test when you arrive and self-quarantine at your own expense until you get the results.
Alaska residents also have protocols they must follow for travel.
- California: “As of December 7, most of the state of California is under a mandatory stay-at-home order, with many tourism-related businesses closed, including bars and museums.
Travelers to California are directed to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and avoid nonessential travel, which includes tourism.”
- Connecticut: “Any traveler coming from a state that has a positive case rate of 10 out of 100,000 people or a 10% or higher test positivity rate must self-quarantine for 14 days. The traveler must have spent more than 24 hours in said state for the rule to apply. Everyone also needs to complete a travel health form.
Visitors can opt out of the 14-day quarantine in limited cases if they can provide proof that they have had a negative Covid-19 test in the past 72 hours. There were 46 states plus Guam and Puerto Rico on the 10% or higher positivity list as of November 30. The list is updated each Tuesday.”
- Hawaii: “Travelers who arrive with an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) taken no earlier than 72 hours before their flight, performed using a nasal swab, and who can also show proof of negative test results from a CLIA certified laboratory can avoid the state’s 14-day quarantine. This includes anyone 5 or older.
The Hawaiian island of Kauai has temporarily opted out of the state’s pre-travel testing program.”
- Kansas: “While mostly open, Kansas has some unusually specific 14-day quarantine requirements that often change. (For instance, people who visited the tiny European nation of Andorra between October 21 and November 17.)”
- Kentucky: “Visitors from states with a coronavirus testing positivity rate of 15% or more on Johns Hopkins University’s website should quarantine for 14 days. Check the list before you travel as it’s growing with the recent rise in US cases.”
- Maine: “Travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or sign a form stating they’ve received a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours. You may also get tested upon arriving in Maine but must quarantine while awaiting results. Residents of New Hampshire and Vermont are exempt from quarantining or having a negative test.”
- Massachusetts: “All visitors and residents must complete a travel form before arriving in Massachusetts unless they are arriving from a state designated by the Department of Public Health as low risk. As of November 30, those were Hawaii and Maine.
Travelers must ‘quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative Covid-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.’ Those waiting on test results need to quarantine until they receive their negative results. Failure to comply with these directives may result in a $500 fine.”
- Minnesota: “Minnesota is under a four week stay-at-home order through December 18. ‘Incoming visitors and residents that travel out-of-state are asked to quarantine for 14 days upon entry (or reentry) to Minnesota.'”
- New Hampshire: “Those traveling from outside other New England states (Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island) who are visiting for ‘an extended period of time’ are asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.”
- New Jersey:
“New Jersey is discouraging all nonessential travel. ‘Travelers and residents returning from any US state or territory beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging for 14 days.’
The self-quarantine is voluntary, but compliance is expected. The state government is also asking travelers to fill out a voluntary survey regarding information about where they are traveling and their destination.”
- New Mexico: “People traveling from out-of-state are required to self-quarantine for 14 days or the length of their stay in New Mexico, whichever is shorter. The state issues a weekly list of exemptions, updated each Wednesday. On November 30, the only exemption was Hawaii.”
- New York: “Current guidelines allow travelers to New York to ‘test out’ of the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travelers from states that are contiguous with New York will continue to be exempt from the travel advisory. Covered travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form.”
- Ohio: “Travelers visiting Ohio from states reporting positive testing rates of 15% or more must self-quarantine for 14 days. This list updates each Wednesday.”
- Oregon: “NEW: As of December 7, there are 25 Oregon counties classified as ‘Extreme High Risk’ for Covid-19 with many tourism-related businesses closed. People arriving in Oregon from other states or countries, including returning Oregon residents, are encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival.”
- Pennsylvania: “Travelers over the age of 11 arriving in Pennsylvania are currently required to quarantine for 14 days or provide a negative Covid-19 test result.”
- Rhode Island: “Those traveling to Rhode Island from a state that has a positive testing rate of 5% or more must quarantine for 14 days. Travelers can opt out of the quarantine if they can provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. You can check that updated list of states here.
Those waiting on test results must self-quarantine until a negative test result arrives. However, the state still recommends quarantining for 14 days as opposed to relying on a negative test result.”
- Vermont: “Vermont has a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival for nonessential travel. You have the option of taking a Covid-19 PCR test on day 7 of the quarantine and ending the quarantine early with a negative reading.”
- Washington D.C.: “Travel requirements apply to anyone traveling to the District from a state with more than 10 cases per 100,000 people. Visitors are asked to get tested 72 hours or less before coming to DC. If you’re there for more than three days, you’re asked to get tested again.”
- Washington State: “Gov. Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington on November 13, recommending a 14-day self-quarantine for interstate and international travel. Tourists are being discouraged from visiting.”
CDC Still Says Staying Home is Best
With cases and deaths on the rise, the safest way to celebrate the holidays is to stay home and celebrate with those in your home bubble. However, if you’re still planning on traveling, your best bet is to stay up to date on what state is doing what thing on any given day. Check the state websites by clicking on the state names, and make sure to check again right before you plan to travel, as the situation is constantly changing.