With coronavirus rates down significantly since earlier this winter and vaccination efforts ramping up, Massachusetts is eliminating the threat of fines for out-of-state travelers who do not quarantine or have a negative COVID-19 test result.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced Thursday that they will replace the state’s travel order this coming Monday with a travel advisory similar to what the state had in place up until last August.
The new travel advisory will urge all individuals entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival, if they have been out of the state for more than 24 hours. Those who have been out of state for less than a day are exempt.
The new advisory also includes exceptions for travelers who have a negative COVID-19 test result from a test administered within 72 hours prior to their arrival, any essential workers who must enter Massachusetts for work, and anyone who is fully vaccinated — meaning those who have received the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days ago and who do not have COVID-19-like symptoms.
The advisory also no longer carries the order’s threat of fines beginning at $500 for violators, though it’s unclear how tightly officials in Massachusetts ever enforced the penalty.
The change also means that visitors and residents no longer have to adhere to the state’s often–changing list of higher- and lower-risk states exempt from the order. The order was first imposed in August to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the midst of summer vacations and ahead of the beginning of the school year. And the list of exempt states fluctuated from late summer through late fall, as the national COVID-19 rose amid the second surge.
Officials have declined to say how many people received fines for violating the order.
The Baker administration is still encouraging individuals to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel guidelines.
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