New York Replaces “List Of Bad States” With Universal 4 Day Quarantine And Testing Requirement

New York State has had a challenging set of rules for travel. Anyone arriving from a state with more than 10 positive cases per 100,000 residents on a rolling average basis, or greater than 10% of Covid-19 tests coming back positive has had to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Enforcement has been spotty.

  • New York State residents have been limited in where they could travel. They might even find themselves traveling to a state not on this ‘naughty list’, but the state gets added to the list while they’re gone. So quarantines become unexpectedly required.

  • It’s acted largely to forbid much of the country from traveling to New York.

It’s no surprise that domestic air travel has recovered to a much greater extent in places other than New York than it has in New York.

The New York approach, though, has recently meant that travel to or from nearly the entire country would require a 14 day quarantine as cases and positivity rise – to the greatest extent in places that haven’t been as hard hit by the virus earlier in the pandemic, but across the country as well. Indeed, New York’s rule would have applied to parts of New York had it been imposed on intra-state travel.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new policy to replace the current 14 day quarantine for people arriving from states with significant community spread of Covid-19.

  • Arriving passengers must test negative for Covid-19 within the 3 days prior to travel
  • Then they must quarantine for 3 days on arrival
  • And if they test negative on the 4th day they are released from further quarantine

Alternatively, arrivals can quarantine for 14 days. There will no longer be exceptions based on where someone is coming from, except that testing and quarantine rules do not apply to travel to and from Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And New Yorkers who leave the state for less than 24 hours don’t have to quarantine when they return, provided they take a test on their fourth day back and it comes back negative.

The new requirements for travel to New York are onerous. They’re far more onerous than exempting some people from quarantine entirely based on the states they were coming from. But they’re less of a burden than a 14 day requirement for almost everyone which is the direction they were headed in.

The question, though, is how quickly this regime will adapt again as Covid-19 outbreaks subside in different parts of the country. When there’s little virus activity in certain parts of the country, how long will it take for New York to allow travelers to enter from those places without a mandatory quarantine of some kind?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I wonder how they intend to enforce this.

    Nearly everyone from New York (and New Jersey) pretty much just ignored the quarantine requirements when traveling to naughty states. I’m also nearly positive you cannot force a U.S Citizen arriving in New York to take a Covid test, and if they try – Are they going to have police at the arrival gate with doctors on the ready?

    Should be an interesting shit show…..

  2. Gary,

    Can you clarify if the test before arrival is to (possibly) shorten the quarantine from 14 days to 3/4 OR test before arrival is mandatory for travel to the state?
    The NYGOV wording indicates the latter and if you don’t have the second year after arrival you have to complete 14 day quarantine.

  3. I recently visited NYC from California and was afraid that my state might get onto the quarantine list just before departure. But as it happened, I flew into Newark and New Jersey didn’t have any testing/verification requirements for passengers who were simply transiting to New York. On arrival, no one asked any questions in New Jersey and — needless to say — no New York authorities monitored my Lyft ride from EWR to Manhattan. Perhaps all of this is about to change, but as it stands, it’s a pretty big loophole.

  4. If I arrive in New York by air today, must I spend an extra hour in quarantine due to the state of New York changing back to Eastern Standard Time from Eastern Daylight Time at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 1st?

  5. And if someone lands in newark?
    And if someone takes greyhound from philadelphia?
    This is a joke

  6. @Trevor – it is to avoid 14 day quarantine. They can describe it as mandatory for everyone but I don’t see how they have this legal authority. Are they going to deport you? A state can impose public health requirements, but cannot generally keep out citizens of other states.

  7. Gary,

    Thanks for the update. Yes that’s how I would see it too but as ever the detail isn’t always contained in the initial announcement.

  8. another joke that won’t amount to anything, totally unenforceable and they wouldn’t even know how to begin (although they could ask china for really good tips). the clown dating my cousin has been flying back and forth from florida with no self-quarantine for months now.

  9. More ridiculousness coming from state governments over a virus which doesn’t kill 99.8% of people who get it. When are we going to wake up to the fact that COVID is just like the flu or a cold. 100,000 people died from the flu in the U.S. last year but no one quarantined. Flu deaths this fall are down 98%. Old people with chronic health problems will die of the flu, pneumonia, Covid, or something else. There will always be an unlucky few who die young from running at the park or die in their sleep at 27.

    These politicians know they screwed up big time so have to justify their Stalinist regulations and lockdowns by pretending Covid is bigger than it is. They scared us with tent hospitals and hospital ships that costs hundreds of millions to construction and transport and were hardly used. They scare us about hospitalization capacity when big cities always are near full capacity (hello Montefiore). They pretend that people never got a bad case of the flu and didn’t feel terrible for 2 weeks. They have to keep up appearances because they are already billions of dollars in the hole debt wise and want federal taxpayers to pay for their sanitation’s workers and cops who earn 250K on overtime and teachers sitting in rubber rooms earning 120K.

  10. New York is a beacon of hope. The most dense population in the US yet some of the lowest death rates per million in October.

    It’s good to see some leadership (and learning from past mistakes) in a period when twice as many people a week die of COVID-19 than did on 9/11, and given that more Americans already lost their life to COVID-19 in less than a year than in the decades of the Vietnam and Korean wars combined. Plus the thousands and thousands who get the “long COVID” effects, many requiring lifelong medical treatment.

    So sorry for all of those people who live where the government sold out their safety to plutocrats all but happy to make a buck on their lives and are now literally dying by the hundreds — a day!

    @Jackson Henderson — would you ever get on an airline whose statistics are that 99.8% of your trips didn’t end up in dying (using your fake politically-driven number)? How about one where you would end up hospitalized 20% of the time (closer to the truth)?

  11. Cuomo’s new rules make legal travel to New York essentially impossible. It is an absurd and entirely ineffective response to a virus that mostly impacts already-dying nursing home residents. The risk to persons under 50 is now conclusively known to be essentially zero. It is time for the Supreme Court to step in and stop this clear violation of the Constitutional right to interstate travel.

  12. Jackson- I hope you carry a note with your ‘opinions’ in your wallet so if you get ill, medical professionals can make an educated decision about whether they should risk their own health taking care of you. Excess death numbers for the past 7 months show its been even higher than the stated Covid deaths. NYC had it very bad in the Spring and we don’t want it back. Please visit the midwest instead.

  13. Once again: None of these quarantines are going to be enforced. They aren’t now, and I don’t see that changing. Us people who live in NJ/NYC can personally verify – We fly where we want, and come back, without issue. I really can’t see that changing.

    With that said: With our lockdowns and rules, it’s pretty pointless to visit NYC at the moment, and the with winter here – The Jersey Shore is closed. I can see no real reason to visit the Tri-State area….

  14. “If Taiwan can reach zero COVID for 200 days, why can’t America? How about Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, China,”

    Taiwan, New Zealand are small island nations. Hong Kong is a small island as well. Southeast Asia seems to be an outlier, include Cambdoia and Laos in your list as well as Thailand where 90% of cases are asymptomatic. Perhaps in Southeast Asia there was a similar less lethal virus that circulated widely leading to population immunity, or there’s something genetic.

    It seems the better analogue for the U.S. is Europe, where cases are spiking after coming under control. The U.S. remember is several different outbreaks – first the Northeast, followed by the Sun Belt, and now (not exclusively) places not hit hard by the virus earlier. Follow the weather here, when it forces people indoors.

  15. @Jackson Henderson

    I can not understand why is this such a difficult thing for some people to understand; Covid IS NOT like Influenza. Despite having a mortality rate between 1-3% depending on where you read, Covid related hospitalizations are far greater than any Influenza season I’ve ever experienced in my 38 years as a practicing Pulmonary-Intensive Care specialist. Almost every patient that we see in the ER with Covid has viral pneumonia with respiratory failure requiring hospital level care. What we are experiencing in our hospital is a growing number of hospitalized Covid cases occupying over 50% of the hospital capacity and growing daily. We have more than 75 ICU beds in three adult units, over 95% of which are occupied by Covid patients.

    Our ability to provide care for patients in the area we serve is stretched to the breaking point, many days reaching 100% capacity, forcing us to turn away patients in need of higher care coming from smaller primary hospitals around us. A growing number of our medical/nursing personnel are getting infected with Covid making provision of care even more difficult. If the number of cases continue to rise (as expected) we will be forced to limit elective surgical procedures due to lack of available beds. This will quickly become a domino effect where appropriate medical care will become more scarce for our population due to the overwhelming amount of Covid cases occupying hospital beds, making those beds unavailable for anyone else.

    This is the real problem no one is talking about. Controlling the spread of this highly contagious virus is important if we want to avoid reaching a point where hospitals are so overwhelmed by Covid patients that won’t be able to provide timely/necessary care for you, your spouse, your parents, your children and everyone else. Oh! I see them everyday; Covid pneumonia patients with severe shortness of breath, previous non-believers, ant-maskers with that puzzled look in their face when they finally realize Covid is a really bad deal.

    I agree that some (if not many) of the containment strategies popping up in different States/Countries are onerous, difficult (if not impossible) to enforce and not very effective. Many of those are driven by local politician’s need to do something to avoid political backlash. In my opinion, the best containment strategy so far is UNIVERSAL masking, social distancing, avoid large gatherings and staying at home as much as possible until better solutions come along (i.e., effective vaccines and better therapeutics).

    So I ask you, what is your solution?

  16. You cannot legislate against bad behavior. The gov. has witnessed “bad behavior in his won state, (Fire Island, Hassidic Jews) and let it go. Personal responsibility will slow the spread of the virus – not executive orders. I have recently finished chemo – after cancer surgery. I am very cautious about my behavior. I have NO plans to follow the governor’s COMMANDS after I return home from out of state. Heil Cuomo!!!

  17. @Jackson Henderson

    Two points.
    1. Yes, the New York quarantine is virtually unenforceable. But you know what? It is keeping people from infected states from coming thus keeping our infection rates very low. Until those states get their heads out from where the sun don’t shine, NY should keep them on the restricted list.
    2. I was weary of rebutting Jackson Henderson’s nonsense and am happy to see others take up the challenge. He/she/it will never succumb to logic. He/she/it has made up it’s mind and will not be bothered with facts.

  18. According to our local news outlets, MA is also excluded from the testing requirements (in addition to the 3 other states). And King Andy says this is due to “economic reasons”. Which is completely opposite of what he stated repeatedly during the lockdowns (he didn’t care about the economics, this was all science-based, etc.) So apparently “science” says that the virus magically doesn’t infect new Yorkers if it comes from 4 states.

  19. @c arthur The numbers you are stating as fact have no basis in reality. The current death rate from Covid is 2/10ths of 1%. In almost no hospital in America do covid patients make up more than a tiny fraction of current ICU patients. Please state with specificity which hospital you are referring to. Otherwise you are either an imposter or a liar.

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