November 5, 2020
By: Kimberly Klein
NYS has updated its travel advisory, effective November 4, 2020, putting in place new testing and quarantine criteria that could shorten the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for people traveling to New York from non-contiguous states and certain countries. Those traveling to contiguous states - which include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont - are not subject to the guidance.
New York residents and travelers who travel to a non-contiguous state or country with a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 health notice for more than 24 hours, may shorten the 14-day quarantine period upon entry or reentry into New York if they:
- Obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days (or 72 hours) of travel to New York;
- Quarantine according to NYS Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for three days upon entering New York; and
- Obtain a second negative COVID-19 test on the fourth day of quarantine.
If both diagnostic tests are negative, the traveler can end the quarantine period early. This means employers should require workers who travel to a restricted state or country to obtain a COVID test prior to travelling if the employee does not work remotely.
Travelers who were in a restricted state or country for less than 24 hours do not need to obtain a test prior to traveling and do not need to quarantine upon entry or reentry into New York. They do, however, have to obtain a negative COVID-19 test four days upon reentry. All travelers must fill out the required traveler form upon entry into New York.
Local health departments will monitor testing and, if a test comes back positive, will issue an isolation order, initiate contact tracing, and inform the state the traveler came from for contract tracing purposes.
Travelers are expected to voluntarily comply with the travel advisory; however, if the DOH or local health departments issues a mandatory quarantine order and the order is violated, an individual can be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days. Penalties also apply to those who fail to complete the travelers form.
Workers who voluntarily travel to a restricted state or country for non-work related reasons can also be denied certain paid leave. See our prior article Navigating COVID-19 Leave Laws When Employees Return from High-Risk Travel Destinations.
Employers should be aware that there may be applicable industry-specific guidance that could apply, allowing workers to return to work even earlier. One such exception are employees who are “deemed essential and critical for the operation or safety of the workplace.”
Please contact Kimberly Klein at (212) 554-7853 or email her should you have any questions.