Travel around the world has been upended due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Many countries have closed borders and imposed travel restrictions — sometimes with little notice — and we now have a few states imposing restrictions on passengers traveling domestically.
Last Update: April 24, 2020 (This story was originally published on March 24, 2020, and has been updated with the latest information.)
Passengers Traveling Domestically are Subject to Mandatory Quarantines
The CDC has issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Meanwhile, several states have imposed a mandatory self-quarantine for travelers arriving in each state. The restrictions vary by state, but apply to both visitors and residents — including domestic travelers.
Alaska Quarantine for All Incoming Passengers
Starting at 12:01 am, on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the state of Alaska is mandating that all people arriving in Alaska are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. This order means you must proceed directly from the airport to the location you identify on your Alaska Travel Declaration form upon arrival. This is either your place of residence, hotel, or other rented lodging.
You may only leave the designated quarantine location for medical reasons and must remain in isolation for a period of 14 days or the duration of your stay in Alaska, whichever is shorter. Only healthcare providers and individuals authorized by the Unified Command may enter your designated quarantine location.
A fine of up to $25,000, or imprisonment up to one year may be imposed for anyone in violation of the quarantine.
In the Health Mandate, Governor Mike Dunleavy states, "This mandate is issued to protect the public health of Alaskans."
Florida Quarantine for Flights from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Louisiana
Starting at 12:01 am, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the state of Florida is ordering all passengers arriving on flights from the New York Tri-State Area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut) to isolate in quarantine for a period of 14 days or for the duration of stay in Florida, whichever is sooner. Travelers from the state of Louisiana have since been added to this order — including by road where checkpoints have been set up to enforce the policy.
While in quarantine, travelers are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, food, medical care, and any other expenses required. In the executive order, Governor Ron DeSantis states, "I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health to coordinate with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, each aviation and airport authority in Florida, county and local governments, and law enforcement agencies to effectuate the isolation or quarantine."
Violators of the order are subject to a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to 60 days.
Texas Quarantine for Arrivals from Several States and Cities
Since Saturday, March 28, 2020, Texas started ordering people entering Texas from certain areas of the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days. A few days later, the governor expanded this to more states and now everyone arriving in Texas with an origin point or last departure from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, California, the state of Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Miami is subject to a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days or the duration of presence in Texas, whichever is shorter. Travelers are responsible for all expenses.
Upon arrival in Texas, passengers will designate a quarantine location on a form prescribed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). You must then proceed directly from the airport to that location. No visitors are allowed other than healthcare professionals and you are not allowed to visit any public spaces.
The executive orders issued by Governor Greg Abbott state that "DPS Special Agents will conduct unannounced visits to designated quarantine locations to verify compliance." Violators of the self-quarantine are subject to a fine up to $1,000, jail time up to 180 days, or both.
Hawaii Quarantine for All Incoming Passengers
Starting at 12:01 am, on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the state of Hawaii is ordering all incoming arrivals from the continental U.S. and international destinations to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. This means upon arrival you must proceed directly from the airport to a designated quarantine location, which you identify on a declaration form. For residents, this is their home address and for visitors, this is a hotel or rented lodging.
While in quarantine, you can only leave the designated location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care and are not allowed to visit any public spaces, including pools, fitness centers, and restaurants. Also, visitors are not allowed to enter your designated location unless it is a healthcare provider or an individual authorized by the Director of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA).
Failure to adhere to the order is a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $5,000 may imposed, or imprisonment up to one year, or both. This order is for all Hawaiian islands and counties.
In the press release, Governor David Y. Ige stated, "These actions are extreme, but will help flatten the curve and lay the groundwork for a quicker recovery. We need everyone to comply with these quarantine orders to help protect Hawaii's residents."
Since this announcement, Hawaiian Airlines has decided to end all flights between the mainland and Hawaii except for one daily nonstop flight between Honolulu (HNL) and Los Angeles (LAX). Other airlines are likely to adjust schedules in response.
More States Restricting Domestic Travelers
Since these initial states imposed quarantine restrictions for people crossing state lines, several states have followed suit. Here is a list of other states restricting domestic travelers. Many require a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days, while some are simply suggesting an isolation period. Other states are just limiting airport access or travel to certain areas. Some states have these requirements only for travelers from "hot-spot" states and cities where there are large outbreaks of the coronavirus (COVID-19), while others are imposing these quarantines on all travelers. You may run into checkpoints at the airport or on roadways to enforce these orders.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina (Dare County)
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
These efforts are all being made to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and we should all do our part to avoid any non-essential travel for the time being. Planes are still flying for essential travel including transporting medical supplies and personnel, and for families to return home or to be with loved ones during this pandemic. These states have imposed strict measures to discourage any discretionary travel at this time. The only exemptions from the orders listed above are airline crews, medical personnel, military on orders, and residents who support critical infrastructure. For more information, view the official orders, which are linked above. We may continue to see more states restrict domestic travelers in the future.
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