BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Starting August 1st, most people coming into Massachusetts will be required to fill out a travel form and either produce a negative COVID-19 test, or quarantine for 14 days.
According to an Executive Order signed by Gov. Baker, the travel order will apply to all visitors, Massachusetts residents returning home, and students returning to campuses for the fall semester.
With limited exemptions, all people coming in to the state will be required to fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and self-quarantine for two weeks. Alternatively, Baker said travelers can avoid quarantine if they can prove they do not have the virus.
"You not need to quarantine for 14 days if you took a test for COVID-19 and have received a negative result," said Baker. "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."
Individuals who get a test must remain in quarantine until they receive their negative test results. Baker said failure to comply may result in a $500 fine per day.
Travelers will be informed of the order and new travel guidance by airlines, passenger rail corporations, bus companies and some major travel agents when booking trips and before arrival in Massachusetts.
Baker said drivers coming in to the state will also see signs advising them of the travel order, but those with out-of-state license plates will not be pulled over.
"We're not going to be stopping cars," said Baker on Friday. "But we're going to expect people to comply... There's going to be a ton of signage out there to make it clear to people what the rules are if you come into Massachusetts."
Baker said there are some circumstances where travelers would not be required to fill out a travel form, self-quarantine, or provide a negative COVID test.
That includes travelers coming from states designated as a COVID-19 "lower risk state." Based on current public health data, Baker said those lower risk states include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Hawaii. States can and will be added to or taken off that list, based on their updated COVID-19 data.
The exemption also applies for people passing through the state, people commuting across state lines for work, people traveling to Massachusetts for medical treatment, people complying with military orders, or people traveling to work in federally designated critical infrastructure sectors (essential services.)
The Administration has also updated guidance for lodging, offices, manufacturing, construction, labs, performance venues and indoor and outdoor events relative to the travel order. In addition, Baker said lodging operators are required to notify guests about this new travel order.
Baker said employers are "strongly discouraged" from allowing business-related travel to destinations other than those appearing on the list of COVID-19 lower risk states.
"Employers that permit employer-paid or -reimbursed travel to those states should take measures to ensure employees comply with this order," said Baker. "Employers are also urged to strongly discourage their employees from taking leisure travel to destinations not included on the list of COVID-19 lower-risk states."
(Photo: Gov Baker/Flickr)