On October 31, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced new guidelines for out-of-state travelers coming to New York, effective as of Wednesday, November 4. These new guidelines replace the previous quarantine prescribed for travelers from states with a high rate of COVID-19 and will apply to all out of state travelers to New York from any state, with exemptions for essential workers and travelers from states contiguous with New York (i.e., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts). All travelers covered by the travel quarantine advisory must fill out the Traveler Health Form.
As explained in the New York State Department of Health’s latest Travel Advisory, there is a 14-day quarantine period for all travelers to New York from out of state; however, travelers may “test out” of this quarantine period as follows:
- For travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours, travelers must: (a) obtain a COVID-19 diagnostic test within the 3 days prior to entering New York; (b) quarantine upon arrival in New York for 3 days; and (c) on day 4, take another COVID-19 diagnostic test. If both tests are negative, the traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test result.
- For travelers who were in another state for less than 24 hours, the traveler does not need a test prior to departure from the state and does not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York, but must still complete the Traveler Health Form and take a COVID-19 diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.
Local health departments will issue isolation orders and initiate contact tracing if a test result is positive. The local health department is also tasked with contacting the state the traveler came from to ensure contact tracing proceeds there as well.
Notably, the new guidance only provides an avenue for travelers to “test out” of the 14-day quarantine period and does not mandate testing prior to entering New York or after arrival. As such, it is possible that some individuals will not take the necessary steps to “test out” and will, therefore, be required to complete the 14-day quarantine period. This is most likely to occur where New York residents have traveled out of state for a short period of time but for more than a 24-hour period. Depending on the circumstances, such individuals may not seek or be able to obtain a diagnostic test prior to returning to New York. Such individuals would be required to complete the entire 14-day quarantine period, even if they obtained a negative diagnostic test result after returning to New York.
Moreover, the current guidance does not indicate whether individuals who have “tested out” of the 14-day quarantine period will be provided with any documentation from their local department of health confirming same. If such documentation is not provided, employers may need to confirm whether employees have “tested out” through other means, such as requiring employees to provide evidence of the negative tests, in order to allow them to return to work prior to the completion of the 14-day quarantine period.
 The previous travel advisory restrictions applied to individuals entering New York from states identified as having a seven-day rolling average of over 10% of all COVID-19 tests producing a positive result, or the number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents.