Ten States Remains on MA’s COVID Low Risk List

Boston, Sept. 19, 2020, — Only ten states are now on Massachusetts’ lower-risk state list as of yesterday. Wyoming was removed from the list on Friday.

Travelers from COVID-19 lower-risk States are not required to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and do not need to quarantine. States are included on the list based on meeting two criteria: average daily cases per 100K below 6 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as a 7-day rolling average.  Data is from covidexitstrategy.org as of September 16, 2020.

The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states includes:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington


Massachusetts residents are urged to limit any out-of-State travel only to States designated as COVID-19 lower-risk States.

In determining whether you are required to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form and whether you may be required to comply with the 14-day quarantine requirement, you will be treated as “arriving from” a place other than a COVID-19 lower-risk state if you were present in any State or jurisdiction not on the list of COVID-19 lower-risk states for more than a transitory period of time in the last 14 days.

Anyone arriving from an international destination must fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and must quarantine for 14 days or meet the 72-hour testing rule.

Quarantine Requirement and Testing Options

14-Day Quarantine Requirement

All individuals entering Massachusetts after 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 2020 must quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival in Massachusetts unless the individual meets one of the criteria below:

  • Lower-risk State: This includes individuals coming from a COVID-19 lower-risk state within the United States, as detailed above.
  • 72-hour Testing Rule: The individual can produce, upon request, proof of a negative test result for COVID-19 from a test administered on a sample taken no longer than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts.
  • Transitory travelThis includes people who are passing through Massachusetts and permits travelers to drive through the State or to connect to their airplane, bus or train, or to stop at a highway rest stop, but this exception extends only so long as is reasonably required for the traveler to complete their transit, make any necessary airplane, bus, or train connection, or make use of travel services such as at a highway rest stop.
  • Persons Commuting for Work or School: People who regularly commute, at least weekly, outside of Massachusetts to a fixed place to attend school or work or any person who regularly commutes, at least weekly into Massachusetts to a fixed place to attend school or work; provided that in either case, this exception applies only to and from the person’s residence and place of work or school.  Workers or students who travel to any place that is not their home state for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on this exemption.
  • Patients Seeking or Receiving Medical Treatment:  Patients who are traveling to Massachusetts to seek or receive specialized medical care from a physician located in the Commonwealth and persons accompanying and providing needed support to the patient.
  • Military Personnel: Any person who is required to travel to Massachusetts at the order or directive of a Federal or State military authority.
  • Workers Providing Critical Infrastructure Services: Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions as specified in Version 3.1 of the listing published by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are exempt from quarantine while they are commuting to or from or while at work.  For the first 14-days after arrival, when the worker is not at work or commuting to work they must quarantine. Additional information may be found here: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce. Workers who travel to or from Massachusetts for personal or leisure reasons cannot rely on this exemption.

Travelers who are required to complete a 14-day quarantine on arriving in Massachusetts will be contacted to remind them of their continuing obligation to quarantine.

Individuals who do not comply with their obligation to quarantine are subject to a $500 fine per day.

Testing as an Alternative to Quarantine

You do not need to quarantine for 14 days if you took a test for COVID-19 and have received a negative result. The specimen for the test must have been collected no longer than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts, and the testing must be by a method approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Upon request, you must be able to demonstrate proof of the negative test result.

If you took a test prior to your arrival but have not received your negative result, you MUST quarantine until you receive the negative result. You may obtain a test at your own expense after your arrival in Massachusetts, but you MUST quarantine until you obtain a negative result. Use the COVID-19 testing map to find a site near you.

Information about approved molecular tests can be found in the Department of Public Health Guidance. A negative result from an antigen test must be confirmed by a negative result from an FDA EUA-approved molecular (PCR) SARS-CoV2 test, on a sample obtained 72 hours or less prior to arrival in Massachusetts. Serology tests will not be accepted.

Visitors are strongly urged to obtain a negative result before traveling to Massachusetts.

Testing for children, 10 years and younger, who are traveling with an adult from their household is not required.

Individuals who do not comply with the requirement to quarantine are subject to a fine of $500 per day.

How to Quarantine

Travelers who do not fall within the one of the three exemption categories detailed above:

  1. coming from a lower-risk state,
  2. meeting the 72-hour testing rule, or
  3. meeting a limited circumstance-specific exemption, must quarantine beginning immediately upon arrival in Massachusetts.

The quarantine must continue for a period of 14 days unless the traveler leaves the State sooner.

The requirements for quarantining are as follows:

  • Travelers, along with their travel party, must separate from all other people for 14 days.
  • Travelers must not be in public or otherwise leave the identified quarters.
  • The living quarters must have a separate bathroom facility for each individual or family group. Access to a sink with soap, water, and paper towels is necessary. Cleaning supplies (e.g. household cleaning wipes, bleach) must be available in the bathroom.
  • Travelers must have a way to self-quarantine from other household members if a fever or other symptoms develop, in a separate room(s) with a door.
  • During the quarantine period, no one else should be in the living quarters other than those in the Travel Party, including hotel staff or delivery persons, as applicable.
  • Food must be delivered to the living quarters.
  • Travelers must have a sufficient supply of face masks or face coverings to wear and must be compliant with the Massachusetts’ masking order https://www.mass.gov/doc/may-1-2020-masks-and-face-coverings/download.
  • Travelers are not to leave their living quarters except to receive urgent medical care.
  • Travelers should engage in proper hygiene including washing hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used.
  • Travelers should remain aware of potential COVID like symptoms including: fever (temperature over 100.0 degrees); cough; difficulty breathing; shortness of breath; chills; muscle or body aches; runny nose or nasal congestion; new loss of taste or smell; headache; nausea; vomiting or diarrhea. Travelers with any of these symptoms should immediately contact a healthcare provider.
  • If no one in the Travel Party develops symptoms, then the travel party may continue with their normal activities after 14 days.

These requirements are in addition to Massachusetts requirements for wearing a mask or other face covering in both indoor and outdoor settings, any time you cannot socially distance and remain 6 feet from other people.

What Happens if I Develop COVID-19 Symptoms While in Massachusetts? 

The 72-hour test is a diagnostic test that is a point in time clinical measurement. If you develop symptoms, you may need to be tested again and may need medical attention.

Leaving Massachusetts Prior to Completion of Quarantine

A traveler may choose to leave Massachusetts before the completion of his or her 14-day quarantine.

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