State Travel Restrictions During COVID-19: A Complete Guide

·9 min read

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, travel restrictions are constantly shifting—and not just internationally. Domestically, states have imposed ever-changing restrictions on visitors, from quarantine and testing requirements to, now, floating the idea of using vaccine passports within state lines (New York state launched its Excelsior Pass, which is a voluntary option).

The good news? As more Americans become vaccinated, the path to safely traveling—domestically and abroad—continues to open up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that fully vaccinated individuals can travel at “low risk to themselves” and "are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.” The CDC added that such travelers no longer need to get tested before departing on a trip, nor do they need to quarantine upon return—that is, unless state or local restrictions say otherwise.

To help you keep track of these ever-changing rules, we've rounded up the states with domestic travel guidelines, and we're continuing to update this frequently. Currently, 13 states—plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the city of Chicago—have such entry recommendations in place. Read on for our complete guide to COVID-19 state travel restrictions.

Alaska

As of mid-May, visitors to Alaska no longer have to complete a health declaration or undergo testing: According to officials, “the State of Alaska has no special entry or travel testing requirements.” The state of Alaska does, however, recommend that unvaccinated visitors get tested for COVID-19 before travel to Alaska, or for free upon arrival; testing is not recommended for anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days prior. Fully vaccinated travelers (those two weeks out from their final shot) are not advised to test or quarantine. All travelers are encouraged to read up on local and borough restrictions.

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California

As of May 17, California travel recommendations state that vaccinated travelers are no longer required to test or quarantine before or after travel—unless they develop COVID-19 symptoms. Los Angeles and San Francisco, which previously had their own quarantine recommendations and requirements, have also lifted those guidelines.

Unvaccinated travelers, however, are encouraged to avoid non-essential travel in and out of the state until they are fully vaccinated. If non-vaccinated individuals choose to visit the state for non-essential reasons they are asked to get tested one to three days before travel and three to five days upon arrival, plus self-quarantine for a full seven days after travel—even if their COVID test is negative. Those who don't get tested upon arrival are asked to self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

Hawaii

While the state of Hawaii recently launched an inter-island vaccine passport for fully inoculated travelers moving between the state's islands, there are still strict testing requirements in place to enter each of Hawaii's major islands from the contiguous United States. As part of the Hawaii Safe Travels Program, unvaccinated individuals traveling to Hawaii from the mainland U.S. are required to submit a negative test taken within 72 hours of travel by a state-approved testing partner. This must either be uploaded to the Safe Travels portal before departure, as part of a mandatory health form submission, or printed out and brought in hand. Travelers who do not submit a negative test must quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. (International travelers from Japan, Canada, and Korea are also allowed to bypass the 10-day quarantine via this pre-testing program. Kauai, which previously paused its participation in the pre-testing program on December 2, rejoined the program in April.)

Some islands have additional restrictions for domestic arrivals, and for inter-island travelers. Because the restrictions from one island and county to the next vary widely, and change quickly, make sure to check the website of every Hawaiian destination you plan to visit in advance: You can find Maui's guidelines here, Kauai's here, and the rules for the county of Hawaii (which includes the Big Island) here.

Illinois

While there aren’t any state travel restrictions in place, Illinois's largest city, Chicago, has its own travel order in place for out-of-state visitors and residents. States with more than 15 daily cases per 100,000 people are deemed “orange,” meaning that the city advises against all travel to those states, and those coming from them will be required to either quarantine for 10 days upon entering Chicago, or arrive with a negative test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. States with less than 15 daily cases per 100,000 people are marked “yellow,” meaning that residents should still avoid non-essential travel to those destinations; however, there are no requirements to enter Chicago. A color-coded map, denoting which states are red, orange, or yellow, can be found here. Currently, 19 U.S. states and Puerto Rico are marked orange.

Kansas

Kansas officials have mandated a quarantine for those arriving from locations or situations they consider high-risk, and the length of quarantine depends on whether or not you have been tested for COVID, per CDC guidelines. Currently, that includes anyone who has traveled on a cruise ship or river cruise on or after March 15, recently attended an out-of-state gathering of 500 people or greater where individuals did not social distance and wear masks, or has visited a number of other countries or states, including Minnesota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. The full list was last updated on May 10.

Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine
Ultima_Gaina/Getty

As of May 1 Maine lifted requirements for testing and self-quarantine for travelers from all states. This could change, however, if any states are determined non-exempt by the Maine CDC; currently there are no states on the non-exempt list, which can be found here. Any states that join the list would become subject to testing before arrival or an alternative 10-day quarantine period.

Massachusetts

As of March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order has been replaced with a Travel Advisory, meaning travelers no longer need to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, and guidelines no longer vary based on the state travelers are coming from.

All travelers are still asked to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, unless they can provide proof of a negative COVID test taken within the previous 72 hours, or test negative after arrival (which requires quarantining until receiving a negative result). New exemptions from this requirement include those visiting for less than 24 hours, anyone who is returning to the state after having been outside of Massachusetts for less than 24 hours, essential workers, and individuals who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms.

Minnesota

The state of Minnesota encourages unvaccinated visitors and residents alike to get tested three to five days after returning from travel, and to quarantine for seven days upon receiving a negative test (or, for 10 days if travelers do not get tested). The guidance does not apply for vaccinated travelers, in line with CDC guidelines.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire recently lifted its quarantine requirement for domestic travelers, though international arrivals and those who have traveled on a cruise ship are asked to self-quarantine for 10 days after the last day of such travel (this can be shortened by a test taken on day six or seven). Those who are fully vaccinated, or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, are exempt from those situations.

New Mexico

All visitors and residents are recommended to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter, with an exemption for low-risk areas. Currently, the only state considered “low-risk" is Hawaii. Anyone arriving in the state is strongly advised to seek out a COVID-19 test “at their earliest convenience.”

New York

Travelers entering New York from another U.S. state or territory are no longer required to get tested or quarantine upon arrival, unless they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. However, the state continues to recommend that unvaccinated travelers (with the exception of those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months) test or quarantine. Anyone who has been out of the state for more than 24 hours is also still required to fill out a traveler health form (with the exception of arrivals from the contiguous states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont).

The state's recently debuted Excelsior Pass is a voluntary vaccine passport, and is not required for entry to the state. Some venues within New York say they will use it to confirm negative COVID-19 tests or proof of a vaccination (read all about it here).

Oregon

Travelers arriving from other states and countries, including Oregon residents, are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival, during which time interactions should be limited to their immediate household, up until May 21. Those who must cross state borders for essential reasons—which include work, study, healthcare, and security—are exempt, as are asymptomatic, fully vaccinated travelers. According to the state, beginning on "May 21, many COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be lifted once 70% of Oregonians 16 and older receive first dose."

Puerto Rico

All travelers arriving to Puerto Rico are required to submit an online travel declaration form and show proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. There is also a back-up option to test within 48 hours of landing if you pay an initial $300 fine, which will be waived once test results are uploaded to an online portal; visitors using this option must quarantine until results are received. The island currently has a 12 p.m. curfew in place, and 30 percent capacity limits at many tourist sites and museums.

Rhode Island recently exempted vaccinated travelers from state entry requirements.

Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport Rhode Island

Rhode Island recently exempted vaccinated travelers from state entry requirements.
Getty

Rhode Island

Unvaccinated travelers visiting from states and territories considered a “hot spot” must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours upon arrival, or self-quarantine for 10 days. Those who have been fully vaccinated are now exempt from this rule.

Vermont

Visitors to Vermont no longer need to test or quarantine unless they are traveling internationally. The state advises vaccinated visitors to carry their vaccine card with them, and notes that masks are still required in public places.

Washington, D.C.

Unvaccinated travelers entering the District of Columbia are asked to show a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure if they are entering from certain high-risk areas. Fully vaccinated individuals, those who have recovered from COVID-19 in that last 90 days, travelers from low-risk states and territories (find the most up-to-date list here), and people visiting for less than 24 hours are exempt.

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

We’re reporting on how COVID-19 impacts travel on a daily basis. Find our latest coronavirus coverage here, or visit our complete guide to COVID-19 and travel.

Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler