New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on October 31 that all travelers from out of state must quarantine for 14 days upon entrance and/or return to New York unless they meet specific exemptions. These exemptions include individuals from states that are contiguous to New York and individuals who test negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) twice following a prescribed time period, including taking tests shortly before and after coming to New York.
This approach replaces the now familiar COVID-19 travel advisory that put in place requirements that individuals traveling to New York from states that hit various COVID-19 positivity thresholds had to quarantine for 14 days. Effective November 4, 2020, New York will no longer implement a state-specific quarantine requirement.
The new travel advisory, issued pursuant to Executive Order 205.2, requires that all individuals entering New York (including those returning home to New York after out-of-state travel), quarantine for 14 days except for essential workers or those traveling from a state contiguous to New York. In order to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine, travelers who were outside of New York for more than 24 hours must do all of the following:
For travelers who leave New York and return within 24 hours, no quarantine period is required. However, each individual who leaves New York for less than 24 hours must still take a COVID-19 test four days after returning to New York and may be required to quarantine if that test is positive.
All travelers, regardless of the length of time outside of New York and the destination, must still fill out the New York State Traveler Health Form upon arrival. The form will be distributed to passengers by airlines prior to boarding or upon disembarking flights into New York. Travelers coming to New York via other means of transport, including trains and cars, must fill out the form, which is submitted online, and provide information about where they are traveling from, where they are staying, how long they will be in New York, contact information, symptom information, and whether they are an essential worker.
Noteworthy for employers with employees who commute to work in New York from another state, the new travel advisory contains a carve-out for individuals traveling to New York from contiguous, or bordering, states.
Exceptions to the travel advisory are also permitted for essential workers and are limited based on the duration of time in designated states, as well as the intended duration of time in New York. We previously summarized these exceptions when the initial quarantine requirement for the tristate area was announced.
Local health departments have been charged with validating COVID-19 tests and, in response to positive tests, will issue corresponding isolation orders (which suffice as government orders for purposes of employee eligibility for paid leave under the New York State COVID-19 sick leave law), and initiate contact tracing. Any violation of a quarantine or isolation order issued to an individual pursuant to the commissioner of the NY Department of Health’s travel advisory may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
Travelers who leave the airport without completing the Traveler Health Form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.
Employers with operations in New York should revisit their travel policies to ensure compliance with the new travel advisory requirements. Additionally, employers should be prepared to address concerns from employees who are considering and planning holiday travel outside of New York. Morgan Lewis has prepared a template communication to send employees about holiday travel that takes into account both safety concerns of businesses as well as limits on restricting employee off-duty activity. Contact the authors to learn more.
We have developed many customizable resources to support employers’ efforts in safely returning to work. These include tracking of state and local orders on return to work requirements and essential/nonessential work; policy templates and guidelines for key topics such as social distancing procedures, temperature testing, and workplace arrangements for high-risk employees; and webinar training on safety measures for return to work. View the full list of return to work resources and consult our workplace reopening checklist.
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