What you need to know about travel to another state
State and local governments can have very different requirements.
Although things are still far from where they were before the Times, various governments are taking steps to speed them up.
International travel is slowly starting to reopen to Americans – especially for fully vaccinated travelers. And domestic travel is almost free from quarantine restrictions (keyword: “almost;” more below).
Of course, this is not a total melee. On the one hand, people who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are still encouraged to stay at home. If you must travel, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated travelers get tested before leaving their home country. He also recommends getting tested and quarantined after your trip if you are not vaccinated.
Plus, each state – and county, and even some cities – may have their own rules and restrictions in place. Everything from when you need to wear a mask to how many people can walk into a given business can vary each time you cross a border. Here’s a look at some of the ways the requirements change as you move from state to state.
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Mask mandates are highly variable
Perhaps the most inconsistent coronavirus requirement is when and where you should wear a mask. Recent changes to the CDC’s recommendation on mask wear have led many states to lift their mask mandates for the vaccinated – and some states have lifted them entirely.
That said, a few states still require masks in all indoor public spaces, even for people who have been vaccinated – mainly because it’s impossible to tell at a glance who is vaccinated and who just doesn’t want to wear a mask. . However, even though states do not have a general mask requirement, some county governments still have them in place.
Additionally, many places, even those that do not have a general mandate for indoor masks, still require you to use a mask when you are on public transport or in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. Considering the variability here, a good rule of thumb is to just bring your mask when traveling so you can easily comply with any local ordinances.
Capacity limits relaxed in many states, but large gatherings still restricted
As with mask mandates, most states have at least relaxed their capacity limits for the majority of businesses. Retail businesses, for example, have returned to 100% capacity in many places. However, certain types of businesses, such as bars and cigar cafes, still have to operate under various restrictions.
Likewise, many states still have restrictions in place limiting the capacity of event venues. Large indoor events aren’t generally banned in most locations, but are limited to a few hundred people or less in many states.
Only a few states have testing and quarantine requirements
At the height of the 2020 restrictions, many states had quarantine requirements in place for all out-of-state travelers. These have largely been canceled at this point – with a few exceptions. In general, however, vaccinated domestic travelers no longer need to self-quarantine when crossing state borders.
The exceptions here can be twofold. If you’ve recently traveled to another country, especially a country with a high number of cases, you may need a negative COVID-19 test and possibly quarantine in some states. Additionally, most places recommend that you quarantine yourself if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
Check state and county websites for up-to-date information before you travel
As has probably become clear, domestic travel in the United States can come with a lot of restrictions – or not. It all depends on where you are traveling. Each state, county, and city may have its own requirements; and individual companies may also have their own requirements.
In addition, the situation is changing almost constantly. Each week seems to come with more changes in various policies. If you have an upcoming trip (perhaps taking advantage of travel rewards you’ve racked up over the past year), be sure to check the local requirements for each state and county you plan to visit.