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Travel Bans and Self- Quarantine

August 24, 2020

Late last month, Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont issued an Executive Order regarding travel into the State of Connecticut.  Pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order No. 7III, anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positive test rate over a 7-day rolling average are directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state.  However, this rule only applies if you have spent over 24 hours in that state.

Additionally, the Executive Order requires anyone entering from one of these identified states to fill out a travel health form upon arrival in Connecticut. Travelers can fill out the form online at ct.gov/travelform.

The list of identified states and U.S. territories is regularly updated online and currently stands at 35.  As of August 18, 2020, the following locations meet the travel ban criteria and are included in Connecticut’s travel advisory:

Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Many employers have asked if there is a way around the automatic self-quarantine in order to get employees back to work sooner.  Connecticut has provided the following guidance:

  1. Can travelers be tested for COVID-19 instead of self-quarantine? In general, no.  The narrow exemption exists only for a traveler who is unable to self-quarantine for the required fourteen (14) day period.  In such a case, a traveler may be exempted from the self-quarantine requirement provided that the traveler has (1) had a negative test result for COVID-19 in the seventy-two (72) hours prior to arriving in Connecticut and (2) provided written proof of such test result to the Commissioner of Public Health via email to: COVID-Travel@ct.gov or via facsimile to: (860) 326-0529. If a test was obtained in the seventy-two (72) hours prior to returning to Connecticut but the result is still pending at the time of arrival in Connecticut, such traveler shall remain in self-quarantine until the test result is received and, if such test result is negative, the result is submitted to the Commissioner of Public Health. If the test result is positive and the traveler is asymptomatic, he or she shall self-isolate for ten (10) days from the date of the test; if symptomatic, he or she should seek medical assistance. Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 prior to traveling to Connecticut should delay such travel and consult with a medical professional.
  2. What does “unable to self-quarantine” mean? The term “unable to self-quarantine” applies in very rare circumstances (e.g., coming to Connecticut for a funeral, an end-of-life visit to a relative). Returning to work is not a justification for being unable to self-quarantine. Individuals who plan voluntary travel to affected states should make arrangements with their employer to be self-quarantined for the two weeks after they return.

As you can imagine, these restrictions place quite a burden on employers with workforces that are returning from out of state vacations.  We encourage employers to work with employees in advance to minimize the impact employees’ vacations will have on business operations.  In some cases, employers may consider the quarantine period when deciding if the vacation request is granted.   While this is not a popular idea, it may be necessary to ensure the business is adequately staffed.  

It is important to note that New York and New Jersey have implemented similar travel restrictions.  It is also important to note that states can be added to this list while an employee is on vacation, which will also impact their return to work.  If you have questions on how these restrictions impact your business, Brody and Associates can assist.