New York Eases Restrictions For Vaccinated Travelers

Filed Under: Travel

Update: New York is eliminating its domestic travel quarantine requirement as of April 1, 2021.

New York is starting to eliminate its domestic travel restrictions, but only for vaccinated travelers.

New York eliminates quarantine for vaccinated travelers

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that domestic travelers arriving in New York are no longer required to quarantine or test out within 90 days of full vaccination.

Those who haven’t been vaccinated, those fully vaccinated more than 90 days ago, and those arriving from abroad, will continue to have to follow New York’s standard testing and quarantine policy:

  • Travelers need to quarantine for 10 days, or travelers need to quarantine for four days, then get tested, and are then released after getting a negative result
  • Travel from Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, isn’t subjected to this rule
  • While this quarantine requirement has been in place on paper, in reality it hasn’t been closely enforced, unlike Hawaii’s testing and quarantine policy, which is closely monitored

The 90 day restriction on vaccination is an interesting one, as it reflects that we really don’t know how long the vaccine gives you immunity. It’s also interesting to note that the new policy doesn’t explicitly state when you’re considered to be “fully” vaccinated.

Hopefully vaccinated travelers get more exclusions

We’re on the cusp of very widespread vaccinations here in the US, with President Biden promising that there will be enough vaccines for all American adults by the end of May.

Not only are vaccinated people well protected, but based on what we know so far, it also seems like vaccinated people are much less likely to spread coronavirus, which is great news. Over the coming months it’ll be interesting to see how policies are adjusted to reflect vaccination status:

  • You’d think vaccinated travelers would be allowed to travel pretty freely, since they can help the travel business with minimal risk
  • At the same time, there are logistical challenges to overcome — how do you prove you’re vaccinated, and how long do we assume that vaccination protects you?

I’m not surprised to see New York waive requirements for vaccinated travelers, given that the state didn’t previously enforce its quarantine much. I wouldn’t immediately expect this in states like Hawaii, though, simply because we still don’t have a good system for proving vaccination status. Do you just present the little sheet of paper you’re given when vaccinated (which presumably can pretty easily be faked), or…?

Bottom line

Those who have been fully vaccinated within the past 90 days no longer have to quarantine or get tested when arriving in New York. This is perfectly logical, and it’s likely that we’ll see a lot more of this in the near future.

To what extent do you think we’ll see destinations start waiving quarantine and testing requirements for vaccinated travelers?

  1. its great to see that New York still believes in Science and is taking the pandemic seriously.
    New York State is rapidly rolling out the vaccine and ensuring equitable distribution.

    It is unbelievable how Florida gives vaccines out based on political donations and Texas is playing politics over lives.

  2. It’s also interesting that NY has the highest death rate of the country.

    People keep harping on Texas and Florida. But after all the proof is in the outcome. Less overall than NY and other NE states.

    LA county has been locked tighter and compliance very high. Yet decimated. So this “if they open they will be sorry” narrative has to stop because the data doesn’t back that up.

    Quarantines only work when there is only the threat of bringing more infection to a jurisdiction. After wards. Not much of an effect especially when you don’t enforce it. Hawaii did well because firm widespread community transmission was never achieved.

    California should have thrown up the quarantine from Ny in March 2020. But didn’t because of “solidarity with our NY friends”. Politics. Not science.

  3. 90 days is a very small window especially since different members of the same family will likely be vaccinated months apart. And you cannot get an additional vaccine after 90 days. This really won’t help.

  4. @ Sharon – So how come New York has more deaths than Florida, even though we have been following science and taking pandemic seriously while Florida has been wide open?

    New York – 47,935 deaths on a population of 19.4 million with 3.2 million over age 65
    Florida – 31,267 deaths on a population of 21.7 million with 4.4 million over age 65

    I live in Brooklyn, NY and I do belief science but these numbers don’t add up

  5. Apparently Issac doesn’t understand the relationship between population density and viral spread.

  6. @Alex and @Isaac

    Perhaps because New York was ground zero at the start of the Pandemic when little was known, there were no masks or restrictions, the population is far denser, and no therapeutics were available. The majority of cases coming from overseas were entering there. Which is also why Italy suffered such a catastrophic death rate at the very start. There are numbers. Yes. But there are also footnotes and explanations. I would actually be interested to see the death rate per capita from July until today. I imagine the breakdown is far different by state.

  7. @Alex Z: As a physician, I can attest that one consideration is the development of better treatment protocols as we learned more. Additionally, NY was hit hardest early on, well before the southern states. If you look at NY, by the end of May 2020, they had 30,000 deaths of their 48,000 (~63%). On the other hand, Florida had 2300 of their over 30,000 deaths (~8%) and Texas had 1900 of their over 44,000 death (4%) since the end of May 2020.

  8. Maybe Florida and Texas do indeed understand population density and it is precisely because they have certain advantages that they made the decisions they did; other states and national leaders need to recognize that.
    And let’s also not forget that people are leaving areas that have been excessively locked down as they perceive it. When Florida and Texas see signs of very strong economic activity and other states are seeing the opposite, there has to be pretty strong evidence that decisions are doing what they were intended to do. A year into this crisis, there is more than enough data to know what works and what doesn’t for those that want to be guided by real data.
    New York’s relaxation of rules probably will be more similar to what other countries will do than what other US states will do with the travel rebound for NY and other states following different paths .

  9. I really don’t understand the 90 day thing. There’s been no indication that the vaccination loses effectiveness in such a short period of time.

  10. @Richard G- I think the issue is that there is no indication yet of when exactly the vaccination loses effectiveness. So they are defaulting to the current “safe harbor” period for people with previous infections. I assume that in the next 3 months there will be more detail from long-term vaccinated people to see timelines of effectiveness. Then the period can be lengthened based on that data.

    It’s probably much longer than 3 months. But better not to guess now and have to walk it back- especially when you have 3 months to get more data and extend it with no issues.

  11. @Isaac, this rhetoric won’t stop because, despite what some say it’s not about science, data, etc. It’s about politics. New Yorkers turn a blind eye to the problems in their state which is heavily one party as they cast aspersions on other states that have done much better that are run by the other party. It’s obvious what New York follows – the politics.

  12. @Derek: Did you read the very valid explanations, below Isaac’s comment, about why the NY death toll has been so high? Who is turning a blind eye here?

  13. If NY is so cautious in making vaccinations good for only 90 days, they should lock up the state as far as leaving your house if not vaccinated.

  14. @Isaac, oh please….just stop. NYC was the epicenter of the COVID19 first wave given it is the single largest port of entry (air) into the US. Politicians were slow to respond (or simply refused to acknowledge the dangers) but that was not a NY exclusive phenomenon. NYC’s geography make it a challenging place to stem infections and by and large, the State and the City have done a good job since those early days. If I were in Texas, Mississippi or any other State removing mask mandates and as always, politicizing the situation further, I’d be concerned those states will be locked out of intra-state movement if their COVID rates spike. Texas, given how it managed a snow storm and the impact on its energy grid, is a laughing stock. If you hate CA and NY, don’t go there.

  15. @Stuart then why are the restrictions for the entire state? If the density is the reason, why not impose the restrictions only in and around NYC? I have been to upstate New York and most of it no denser than other states.

  16. From what I have read, to be condidered “fully vaccinated” its 2 weeks after the second Pfizer/Moderna injection. Not sure what will happen @ the end of 3 months @ this point.

  17. @SNIC, I did and, to be fair, I looked at the data myself. There is some merit to those arguments. But there are also plenty of examples of states that are not shut down where the virus is not killing everyone. In Georgia, we reopened fairly early. Many claimed we would have blood on our hands. Things have never gotten as dire as predicted. Perhaps people need to remember that individuals can think and take proper precautions with the government dictating things to them. I wear a mask not because I legally have to, but because right now that is the wise things to do. And in most places I go, the vast majority of people are wearing them also. We need to stop acting as if people can’t think for themselves. There are always going to be some who do unwise things, but they will do that even when there are regulations telling them to do otherwise. They just run the risk of getting in some amount of trouble, but that does not keep them posing a risk of spreading the virus. So why trample of people with onerous regulations that are destroying businesses and livelihood? I can work from home. But not everyone can. Not everyone runs a blog and can work in isolation from the general populace. Let people live and trust the majority of people to do the right thing.

  18. Wow, I hope the 90 day thing gets clarified / changed / eliminated quickly. I was “fully vaccinated” as of December 6, as part of a clinical trial (first dose was in early Nov), and have had monthly blood tests as part of the study ever since then showing lasting antibody results. (I was recently un-blinded and given actual proof of vaccination and a CDC card). But that means… as of this weekend (March 6), I’d be considered by New York as an infectious threat subject to quarantine again??

    I’m was planning to visit New York in July. There’s also lots of healthcare workers, and older people, who may have been fully vaccinated already who will be past the 90 day limit post-vaccine by May / June. There are no plans I’ve heard of, nor would I seek out, a second vaccine later this spring when people in my age group (30s-40s) would normally qualify.

    Seems like they haven’t really thought this through, especially if New York is hoping for any kind of travel recovery over the summer.

  19. @ Steve H – that’s a pretty solid explanation so thank you for that. Also, if Cuomo did not issue that statewide order by forcing nursing homes to take back sick patients we would’ve head less people dead. I also believe that maybe not like Florida but all of NY should’ve been in at least 50% indoor dining since last June.

  20. @Derek, You are cherry picking just one point I made in relation to the original outbreak in New York last March-May and the subsequent high death rates. Mostly as a result of the early timing, lack of knowledge in treatment, and initial unknowns as to masking etc. that we have now. Still, the entire tri-state area is very fluid with movement in and out of the city. Sure, many areas of the state are more rural, yet a great deal of movement flows in and out of the metro area TO these places. Regardless, that is just one point. It’s quite clear and does not take a genius to understand how New York and New Jersey were so devastated early on.

  21. “It’s also interesting to note that the new policy doesn’t explicitly state when you’re considered to be “fully” vaccinated.” Fully vaccinated per the CDC and prior NY department of health postings has been considered to be two weeks after the final dose of vaccine. It is highly unlikely that they would have a different definition for the term with each new notice.

  22. “The 90 day restriction on vaccination is an interesting one, as it reflects that we really don’t know how long the vaccine gives you immunity.” We know people are protected for up to a year at least by having the vaccine. The 90 days has to do with whether or not you can be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus even if it isn’t making you sick. They believe that within 90 days of full vaccination you are unlikely to transmit the virus to others. They are doing studies to see if transmission risk is diminished beyond that point. Hopefully the science comes back that the vaccines reduce transmission well beyond 90 days.

  23. “I really don’t understand the 90 day thing. There’s been no indication that the vaccination loses effectiveness in such a short period of time.”

    That isn’t what they are saying. First off the vaccine helps protect the person who received it way beyond 90 days. I think at this point its up to at least a year. The issue is whether or not people who are vaccinated can still carry the virus and transmit it even if it doesn’t impact them. They believe that for the first 90 days after full vaccination people are unlikely to transmit the virus. The studies are not complete yet about beyond 90 days and that is what they are trying to study now.

  24. Density as measured by number of people living per square mile doesn’t necessarily explain coronavirus spread. You can have millions of people packed onto a tiny island like Manhattan and not have any more spread than anywhere else IF people take care to stay away from each other. That’s what the initial lockdowns and continuing restrictions on gatherings accomplish. What can’t be regulated as easily is how many people live in an individual house or apartment. In areas where this number is high, coronavirus spreads rapidly. For example, some migrant farming communities in California have high cases because large numbers of workers bunk together in one room or apartment.

    So density does not explain the high number of deaths in NY. The other explanations given above are far more compelling – NY was the Italy of the US, getting hit first. So many New Yorkers (and Italians, etc) died before doctors could figure out what treatments were most effective.

  25. @Bill: If there are ongoing studies about transmissibility after 90 days, I’d be curious to know where. There’s not that many people – almost entirely clinical trial participants at this point (like myself) who have been vaccinated for 90+ days at this point.

    I’d have been happy to participate in such a study, but other than 2 blood tests for antibodies so far, the clinical trial I’m in has never actually tested me (via a swab or anything) for active COVID infection, let alone any monitoring about whether I am “transmissible” (I don’t even know how one would study that without an ethically questionable challenge trial). They have told me, however, “you’re done, you won’t get another vaccine for probably a year”. I’ve never been told (in a ream of pages I need to read about risks and benefits and side effects) that there’s ever been any conclusive evidence that protection wanes or infectiousness starts to increase after 90 days. See as that is, for me this, this upcoming weekend… and since many are implying that is some kind of near-settled science, important enough to base serious travel restrictions and rules around… I’d really like to know!

    So I hope the authorities on all sides of this get on the same page. Of course there are unknowns about the long term effects and protective duration of vaccines, both against sickness and transmission. But it seems WAY premature for a state like New York to implement such a serious, disruptive rule, like a 90 day “expiration” of vaccination exemption to travel, on an unknown (and unlikely) bit of data like that.

  26. @Reed and they also continue to monitor some trial participants. I don’t understand the issue with the 90 day exemption. You are aware its based on the CDC guidelines right, so it is not like NY just happened to come up with these numbers. They adjusted their policy to CDC guidelines that were updated in February.

  27. A very big problem with these debates is that a lot of people these days seems to think that science is something that gives definitive truths. That’s how religions work, not science. The science is based on the very opposite, always questioning the previous knowledge, testing it and disproving it. Science has been wrong millions of times, there are fascinating examples of its failure (miasma theory, anyone?). But that’s great about it – proof was able to override the previous scientific consensus.

    Thus, if someone asks “why are we doing so poorly if we follow science”, the answer can simply be that the science is wrong this time. We know very little about covid, we are just learning and today’s experience (including the data on massive failures in locations that supposedly followed the science) will be what we’ll use to learn about it – and what will form the future science.

    There is an obvious lack of correlation between what’s considered a good reaction vs. the actual results. But it will take years to understand why. What we can do now though is to follow the example of those who have better results because *something* with their strategy works.

  28. Cuomo trying to distract from his sexual misconduct and nursing home debacle. I look forward to the lawsuits. So the state government controls who gets the vaccine, and then gives special rights to those favored few? No state has that constitutional right.

  29. @WR2

    The NY attorney general is the one that investigates the Cuomo allegations . As a matter of fact Cuomo is likely connected or friends with whomever will be conducting the investigations. He’s not going anywhere. Good luck getting the vaccination in a timely and orderly fashion in NY. All can still be tied back to Trump of course

  30. @Stuart as I said there are some merits to the argument. And as I said, I looked at the data. The NY deaths are heavily weighted. I removed the deaths from early on and the per capita rate was less in NY. However, while I agree that NY lost more lives by being hit early, there is the real question that must ask how much did the nursing home decision contribute to those high numbers? Not all but some, so my removal of all deaths from the first months was probably too generous since some of those deaths may be able to be attributed to bad decisions.

    While I would never put a dollar value on any human life, at some point we have to ask how much weight do we give to economic devastation from the response? How many businesses will fail, mostly small business that was the sole income for their owners? Could some of these businesses survived with less onerous and overbearing governmental mandates? Probably. These may not be deaths but they are very real consequences to those who are impacted. And allowing you these businesses to operate does have to mean huge numbers of additional deaths as we have with Georgia and Florida. People still have the option to stay home and be cautious when they go out. Reopening doesn’t require risky behavior.

  31. As much as we all would like to manipulate and cherrypick data to make “our side” look better, covid deaths are cumulative for all states and for the US.
    NY State is second per capita behind NJ and that has remained the case for most of the pandemic

    And the first confirmed large scale outbreak of covid was not in NY but in Washington State – and in senior care facilities, exactly where NY, NJ, PA and other states failed to learn lessons that became very apparent early on.

    And to add insult to injury in the NE, states like FL and TX moved aggressively to vaccine seniors at a faster rate than Fed plans even after those two large southern states moved quickly to protect institutionalized seniors.

    WA is now below average in per capita deaths.

    There is no excuse for NY’s higher death rates that any other state couldn’t also claim at some point.

    Science does change but the data about covid is etched in stone; no state’s numbers are going down. Some states’ death counts, like NY State, will likely be going up.

    and none of the arguments change people are moving out of NYC for reasons regarding covid, lockdowns, WFH and taxes. The problems that states like NY created will be compounded by the loss of taxpayers.

    I personally have loved going to NYC before but have no desire at this point. There are far safer, more enjoyable places to go in the US and the world where jumping through hoops is worth it.

  32. The 90 day argument is absurd. Using this argument, the US will never reach “herd immunity” by vaccination because it’s not possible to vaccinate everybody over such a short time frame.

    If you are protected from severe disease you are mounting an adequate immune response to prevent viral replication. Even if you’re a carrier your viral load will not be high and your transmission risk will be low.

    Name any other vaccine in existence in which fully vaccinated people are still high transmission risk?

    Lack of current evidence of protection is not the same as evidence of lack of protection.

  33. @Samo — your explanation is spot on and brilliant. Unfortunately it’s probably too smart for some of the more dogmatic “safe” tools around here. But I think you are one smart man, thank you.

  34. @Tim Dunn….Agree 100%. Personally what NY does or doesn’t do is irrelevant to me. I’d only ever be driving thru NY to ME or flying thru JFK and what they are doing won’t stop me.

  35. As far as I am concerned, NY can have a permanent restriction on travel and it won’t affect me. No reason to go there.

    But I do find it ironic that the state that has so mishandled the virus (especially by forcing nursing homes to accept Covid patients – like come on, anyone knows that was incredibly dumb) is judging others.

  36. As a native New Yorker, it is so sad to see my great home state fall into fear and paranoia. It is common sense that more you lock up and mandate people to do something, you will see opposite results. There is lot more problem in the world other than Covid that arises from this senseless lockdown and self initiated sanction of travelers.

    Just think for moment, why so many communist, socialist governments failed, it is because very inefficient and immoral. It violates free will of the people. Unless you can maintain complete totalitarian grip like China, socialism just isn’t going to work in the USA. Just look at what is happening with Cuomo, who won emmy. Think about the implication and what it stands for.

    USA is and should remain land of the brave, beacon of free world.

    And NY should shun this senseless fear and paranoia from this virus that we already have vaccine for and know how to mitigate the risk. Of course, we understand the science, that is why you don’t need to wear mask outside. And know that even with the mask it does not protect you fully, just like any form of virus. That is why you should have choice to wear mask or not, because everyone has difference perception and tolerance for such risk. Also, the science repeatedly dictated that lockdown does not work.

    Just for a moment and think about how so many people have gotten the virus despite NY’s strict lockdowns. Lockdown did not work and does not work!

  37. The daily new infection numbers have plateaued in USA at a higher level than they were during the first wave. The numbers came down for a while after Christmas, and despite vaccination program increasing, numbers of new infections have stopped decreasing. Sorry Ben, the numbers show you are being sold a false dream.

  38. The within 90 day restriction is not just illogical nor supported by the science, it tends to discourage people from getting vaccinated in the first place. This insanity must end if we ever hope to achieve any semblance of normalcy.

  39. Reminds me of when Bill Clinton bombed a couple buildings in Sudan during his Blue Dress phase. Andy just wants to change the topic of conversation. Anyone who believes political leadership in NY can look two inches beyond personal ego is worthy of the short bus. So yeah, more smoke and mirrors. Everyone in NY lies. You can too. When NY calls to check (and they do call) just tell them you are NJ. Caller is required to stop questioning – no jurisdiction.

  40. I am getting my 2nd vaccine on March 16. I am going to NY on june 11th. It is exactly 90 days from when I got the last shot till I return to florida . My question is do I have to quarantine .

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