New York Ends Domestic Quarantine Requirement

Filed Under: Travel

A few weeks ago it was announced that New York would end its domestic quarantine requirement. Well, it’s a big day for New York, as that new policy has kicked in as of today.

New York ends domestic travel quarantine

As of April 1, 2021, New York has eliminated its quarantine requirement for domestic travelers. This applies both to those visiting New York, and to New Yorkers returning home. There are a few things to note about this updated policy:

  • NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantining after domestic travel as an added precaution, but it’s not required
  • Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for arriving international travelers (those not coming from a US state or territory)
  • All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form when arriving in the state, and must monitor symptoms daily for 14 days
  • All travelers must self-isolate if any symptoms develop

This policy change was announced a few weeks back by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said the following:

“New Yorkers have shown strength and perseverance throughout this entire pandemic, and it shows through the numbers that continue to decrease every day. As we work to build our vaccination infrastructure even further and get more shots in arms, we’re making significant progress in winning the footrace between the infection rate and the vaccination rate, allowing us to open new sectors of our economy and start our transition to a new normal in a post-pandemic world. As part of that transition, quarantine for domestic travelers is no longer required, but it is still being advised as an added precaution.”

Meanwhile New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed opposition to this change:

“I don’t know if that’s the state’s idea of an April Fool’s joke but it is absolutely the wrong thing to do. It’s reckless it doesn’t help us with our recovery.”

New York’s previous quarantine policy

New York initially introduced a travel quarantine requirement in the summer of 2020, though we’ve seen the policy changed several times since then. Here’s New York’s quarantine requirement that applied through yesterday, March 31, 2021:

  • Travelers needed to quarantine for 10 days, or travelers needed to quarantine for four days, then get tested, and could then be released after getting a negative result
  • Travelers from Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, weren’t subjected to this rule
  • Those who had been fully vaccinated within the past 90 days weren’t subjected to this rule

While New York’s quarantine requirement had been in place on paper for a long time, in reality it hadn’t been closely enforced, unlike Hawaii’s testing and quarantine policy, which is closely monitored.

Bottom line

New York has ended its domestic quarantine requirement as of today, April 1, 2021.

Personally I’m happy to see this finally lifted, as it shows how much we’re moving in the right direction big-picture, with mass vaccinations now happening. Either that, or it just shows that New York is no longer doing much better than the rest of the country, as the state has seen a relative spike in cases in recent months.

Beyond that, though, I’m happy to see this policy change because of how poorly it was enforced, essentially penalizing those who wanted to play by the rules, while in no way punishing those who violated the rules. Now all the New Yorkers returning from Florida and immediately going about their normal lives aren’t doing anything illegal anymore. 😉

What do you make of New York lifting its domestic quarantine requirement?

  1. This was enforced somewhat more than you might think. I travelled about 7-8 times while the policy was in effect. If you landed in a New York airport (JFK or Laguardia), they often had soldiers waiting outside the gate as you deplane. If you couldn’t show the soldiers your electronic confirmation for having filled out the required form, they would make you stand there and fill it out before you could leave the gate area.

    Just this week, I returned from international travel. Landing in Newark, there are no soldiers enforcing the requirement (New Jersey airports never had that), but I filled the form out anyway. I live in midtown Manhattan, and an NYPD officer actually came to my apartment to serve me with a notice of the order and presumably to see that I was at home. That’s the only time that happened, but I gather there were some efforts like this ongoing to enforce.

    Obviously, lots of people did not comply and I’m not sure they did much if you weren’t found at home. But it’s wasn’t *totally* unenforced. That said, happy to see it go away.

  2. Also left unsaid in the governor’s order: Presumably he’s dropping this because New York and New Jersey are (once again) worst in the nation for COVID rates. Given that anyone coming from out of state is probably a lower risk than the people already here, hard to justify a quarantine for visitors!

  3. “Personally I’m happy to see this finally lifted, as it shows how much we’re moving in the right direction. ” Don’t think it shows that. There is another surge being predicted in the next several weeks. There is a NY variant going around and that along with the UK variant make up the bulk of cases in NY. Frankly these sudden extreme changes that don’t seem based in science screams of a governor who is desperate to change the topic from the current scandals plaguing him. They also upped the percentage of people allowed for indoor dining. This has the potential to be a major setback when we were soo close to the end.

  4. Never had an issue just walking off the plane. With only a day in the city, I was in/out…. Nothing filled out, downloaded or scanned. Looks to be nothing really changed.

  5. Agreed with @John – this was enforced more than people think. I know lots of people who received texts and even a few who had health workers show up at their residence (I think this was only if you live in Manhattan). Personally, I never received any follow up which made me question it, but it does make sense to keep it in place for int’l travel.

    The real loophole here was driving into New York. How many people were/are filling out the traveler health form prior to doing that. I would bet not many…

  6. No one was enforcing the policy. Traveled a few times. At LGA, they checked to make sure you had the form filled out. International arrival at JFK, there was just an unmanned table with forms sitting there. All I got was some threatening texts that never understood my response when I tested out after the 4th day. While a good idea in practice, if you aren’t going to enforce it, then there’s really no reason to have it.

  7. Yes I know there will be soldier asking for your questionnaire but they won’t even check your ID to verify any basic info. When you have to rely on people’s honesty to comply with the policy, that is not “enforcement”.

  8. “NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution, but it’s not required” LOL!!!!! Let me guess how many people will follow this recommendation. What a BS!!!!

  9. As someone who travelled three times to NYC during the pandemic and filled out the “mandatory” traveller form, I can tell you it was loosely enforced at best. First time, I would receive daily texts asking if I had COVID (May 2020). Second time (September 2020), I saw the soldiers at the gate, but you could literally walk around them and they would not notice. Third time (January 2021), nothing at the gate and zero calls nor texts. I think it acted as a deterrent for some travellers, but certainly not all.

  10. I traveled back and forth between NYC and Miami as I have residences and businesses in both. I think NYS did a good job in making sure that people attested that they would follow the requirements by filling out the form and likely made examples of some who choose to ignore their legal responsibilities.

    My take away from the comments is this – there are two types of citizens, those that follow the laws and those that don’t. You didn’t pull one over on NYS by avoiding your legal responsibility. You put others at risk because you don’t think rules apply to you. The reason this whole pandemic has gone on longer than needed is due to this mentality. Never realized how many selfish a**holes live in this country who talk about freedom but don’t mind treading on others.

  11. Is Cuomo lifting the quarantine requirement simply to distract us from his “busy hands”?

  12. I flew into Buffalo on Christmas Eve, and they had National Guard at the exit to make sure you had filled out your form, so filling out the Healthpass was definitely being enforced, though if they did anything with that information later it remains unclear.

  13. This is strictly enforced at my daughter’s school in Brooklyn. So we had to follow the rules if we didn’t want to the jerks that infected the entire class. So yeah, this was enforced.

    If you’re a jerk and didn’t follow it, that’s another story.

  14. They probably spent millions on this program just for it to go to waste as it was never enforced meanwhile in texas our numbers are better and most all vaccine locations are taking walk-ins now. Hope you all enjoy Cuomo and your taxes up there!

  15. I found this was enforced on an international trip:

    I travelled from LHR to JFK on 12/31 and was met on arrival by several different government agencies including national guard checking on the form.

    Three days later we were visited by there sheriff’s department, at our apartment in midtown. (At 10:20pm at night, incidentally).

  16. While we were landing at LGA the flight attendants were spewing stuff about needing to fill the form / show confirmation email and $10,000 fines and all that. We landed at LGA and there was 1 table with forms where you can fill it out, and no government official present. Coincidentally everyone just ignored it and walked past it hahahaha. It was always just a scare tactic

  17. @John, Whats your source that “New York and New Jersey are (once again) worst in the nation for COVID rates”?

    The curves of the two states I see are in line with the nation in general where its rates are falling everywhere.

  18. I took Amtrak from DC to NYC in October and stayed at a hotel in Chelsea. At that time DC was one of the very jurisdictions not subject to NY quarantine (this was right before NY went to a nation-wide rule rather than one based on the metrics of where you lived). The hotel I stayed at would not check me in without the traveler form showing that I was not subject to the quarantine, and I received three phone calls during my six-day visit since (what a surprise) the system/software did not identify me as exempt from the quarantine. The people who called me were uniformly polite, but they were clearly serious about the quarantine rules. Maybe they weren’t calling every visitor and I was just “lucky”, but enforcement did not strike me as lax in the least.

  19. Friend flied to PHL then took SEPTA and NJT to Manhattan for several times, no problem at all, no form required in both 2020 and 2021.

    Those policies are idiotic and dumb, NYC has so many people got covid for TWICE, and many offices are full of employees without wearing masks, including NYPD, yes, NYPD!!!

  20. “Is Cuomo lifting the quarantine requirement simply to distract us from his “busy hands”?” – Sure sounds like it. He is making a number of moves that make little sense with two different variants going around NYC and experts predicting another major surge before this is all over. Totally contrary to what he has been saying all along. Don’t trust this guy at all to do the right thing anymore.

  21. “Friend flied to PHL then took SEPTA and NJT to Manhattan for several times, no problem at all, no form required in both 2020 and 2021.” Form is and was required. Your friend simply refused to comply with the rules.

  22. NY and CA: the worst affected states by the pandemic. Itonically, the same states with the severest restrictions on life and freedom. The prrof is in tbe outcome, NY’s restrictions had no significant effect on controlling the pandemic. Glad to see they came to their senses. Let’s bring NY back to life!

  23. The no-quarantine policy applies to every state that borders New York State, so travelers from Massachusetts and Vermont are also exempt throughout March.

  24. Finally! I never really understood why they had it especially when it wasn’t really enforced. The state could have made $$$ from collecting fines to those who violated this rule.

  25. This was enforced far more than your article points out, and it wasn’t at all pointless, and in many cases, effective, and certainly needed considering how so many in the US can’t seem to get out of each other’s way in slowing an end to this pandemic, rather than accelerating it. Fact is, travel to NYC was muted anyway and this was a good way to try and work to contain further spread. It’s probably sensible to end it now given the ramp up in vaccinations.

  26. It was somewhat enforced. One time flying back to JFK from LAX on an AA 777, national guard members were at the gate making sure people filled out the forms. Another time, they were at the exit to baggage claim. Had walkways blocked off so no one could sneak by.

    On Delta flights, they were at the gate once. They’re more likely at baggage claim but not really preventing people from leaving before filling out forms.

    If you’re going to have a system like this, do it consistently. Out of 12+ r/t flights, I’ve only been asked about filling out the form 3x.

  27. I think the biggest “impact” here is that businesses can ask employees to travel, and then not expect them to quarantine or “break the law” once they get home.

  28. Nobody really followed this crap from the first day!!!

    Many colleagues flied to FL, NC, TX during holidays then returned to work on the next day, no one gave a damn.

    Quarantine is a joke and probably only exists in Manhattan.

  29. @Regis – By state, CA is 28th in Covid deaths per 100,000 and 31st in cases per 100,000 as of yesterday.

  30. “Personally I’m happy to see this finally lifted, as it shows how much we’re moving in the right direction big-picture,” Actually cases are currently surging in NY and 70% of all cases in NYC are variants. NJ right next door is leading the country in new covid cases. Hospital admissions are going up as the variants are more contagious and deadlier than the original strain of covid. Cuomo screwed up by opening up too soon. As we have seen in the past. First Europe gets hit, then NY, then the rest of the country. Michigan is getting slammed, with younger people making up the bulk of hospitalizations. In a couple of weeks we will be into the fourth wave. I wouldn’t expect the US to really start to get past this until at least June and that is being optimistic. France just went into lockdown today.

  31. Please drop the narrative that NY was ever “doing well” at managing COVID. All smoke and mirrors from low life politcos. Adjacent states – you know, where most of the people entering NY come from – were always exempt. Fly to EWR and take a cab, no quarantine. Your risk of contracting COVID has been higher on NY than your favorite foil (FL) for literally months. And please drop percent positivity as a meaningful metric. Anyone can test millions of low risk people and generate low positivity. Cases per million is far more meaningful to most people in the real world.

  32. “There is another surge being predicted in the next several weeks.”

    Haven’t you noticed, there’s a new surge predicted just about every other month. Seems like some people don’t want this to end. And others are willing to go right along with it.

  33. @miamiorbust, the entire US mismanaged the pandemic, and over half a million Americans died thanks to a criminal in charge in the White House in 2020 and subsequently thanks to the inability of much of the country’s citizens to get out of their own way in the name of “Freedom”. Imagine if everyone had just put on a mask in 2020, the government had done the right thing and allocated a balanced stimulus a couple of times, and then perhaps the US could not have achieved one of the highest death rates from COVID anywhere in the world, save perhaps Brazil?

  34. @creditian many people do give a damn. The morons you mix with are the ones the sane people are concerned about

  35. When is New York going to follow the CDC and not require quarantine for vaccinated travelers arriving from overseas?

  36. I think the CDC just said it was fine to travel internationally when fully vaccinated ?

    Anyways, I live in Brooklyn, flew twice during the pandemic back from CDG and then NAS. The first time all I had to do was show the soldier I had taken a screenshot of the traveler health form guideline. I did fill it out afterwards and then got a few angry texts and that’s all. I did test out on the 4th day but honestly no one ever controlled anything. The second time they asked me to fill out the form before leaving the airport which made more sense, but then I only got one text like 10 days later. Experience from most people I know was similar. So yes, it was poorly enforced at best. They never put the means to do it in a more stringent way and it was more of a deterrent than anything else. It was probably the goal anyway. On my end were it not for the test out option, I would have stayed home (10 day to homeschool the kids and work at the same time is just too much)

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