Most entering Mass. must quarantine or produce negative test, Gov. Baker says


Deanna Schwartz

Students entering Massachusetts from all but eight states must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test.

Charlie Wolfson, news staff

Effective Aug. 1, people entering Massachusetts from most states will be required to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result. The COVID-19 Travel Order from Gov. Charlie Baker’s office applies to travelers from all but eight states, except those transiting through the state and those who regularly commute in and out for work or school.

Anyone entering Massachusetts who is not exempt must complete a travel form, and failure to do so could result in a fine of $500 per day. Prior to Aug. 1, Massachusetts had a similar order in place as an advisory with no penalty. 

The exempt states are Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Travelers from these states do not need to fill out the travel form or quarantine. According to the governor’s order, this list was determined by two criteria: an average of fewer than six daily cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate below 5 percent, both measured on a seven-day rolling average.

Travelers can be exempt from the quarantine requirement if they test negative for the virus, as long as the test is administered no more than 72 hours before they arrive. If a traveler is awaiting test results, they must quarantine until results are available.

The state’s website specifically states that this rule applies to students arriving for university study, as well as any parents or family members accompanying them. If family members arrive and depart on the same day, however, they are considered transitory and are exempt.

Northeastern is planning to conduct thousands of COVID-19 tests per day for its students, faculty and staff, which could alleviate some of this rule’s impact on the university community. Boston University and Harvard University have also announced plans for mass testing. Northeastern has not yet announced any additional information for quarantine for students and families arriving for the fall semester, aside from adding this order to its FAQ page.