New England States Vary In Approach As They Limit Travelers During Pandemic

Nov 10, 2020

Updated Nov. 11 at 9:15 a.m.

As new COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the country, New England states are trying to limit the spread of the virus by travelers within the region.

All New England states are limiting travel from other states in some way based on infection numbers.

Massachusetts is currently requiring visitors from Rhode Island and Connecticut to quarantine for 14 days, while Connecticut is requiring visitors from Massachusetts to do so.

Maine is not requiring travelers from New Hampshire, Vermont or Massachusetts to quarantine — although those from Connecticut must.

Neither New Hampshire nor Rhode Island is insisting on quarantines for any New England states.

Until this week, Vermont was pursuing a different strategy: focusing on active cases in individual counties of other states.

Mike Pieciak, who is with the Vermont state government, said the strategy was driven by a desire to help the state’s tourism industry, while recognizing that risk varied significantly within states.

"The best example is to our western border with New York, where the upstate counties may have looked very similar to Vermont in terms of their infection rate," he said. "But at the same time, the metropolitan New York area still had considerable rates of infection back in April, May and June when we were starting to re-open for leisure travel."

Outside Vermont, the only counties in New England with COVID-19 case rates low enough to avoid a quarantine requirement upon arrival in Vermont were in Maine.

This week, however, Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced a temporary suspension of the county-by-county policy. Instead, the state is requiring a 14-day quarantine for any non-essential travelers into the state, or a seven-day quarantine combined with a negative virus test.