New MA Travel Order FAQs

Written by Joan Talmadge
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The new Travel Order issued by MA Governor Charlie Baker went into effect on August 1. The goal is to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 in the state.  

What is the Travel Order?

Under the order, travelers coming to the state must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a state where the coronavirus risk is lower, or they can produce a negative coronavirus test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts.  See COVID-19 Travel Order. 

What states are exempt from the Travel Order?

Visitors traveling from a lower-risk state are exempt. Based on current public health data, those lower risk states include: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Hawaii. (Note: Rhode Island has been removed from the list of lower risk states.) The list of states will be maintained by the Department of Public Health. View details of Lower-risk states 

How will this ruling be monitored? 

Monitoring for compliance may be difficult.  It is possible that police could be instructed to spot check by stopping cars with out-of-state license plates.  In addition, some residents might report cars with out-of-state license plates parked outside a rental home (especially if the renters are loud or there is a large number of renters).  Otherwise, compliance will be on the honor system. 

What if visitors arrive before they receive their test results?

If they took a test prior to arrival but have not received their result, they are required to quarantine until they receive the negative result.  

Who must be tested?

All visitors over the age of 10 must be tested.   

Can visitors be tested once they arrive?

Visitors may obtain a test after their arrival in Massachusetts but must quarantine until they obtain a negative result.  This map shows the testing sites in MA. Most sites require pre-registration, and the subject must be asymptomatic.

What form do visitors need to complete, and who needs to complete it? 

Anyone over the age of 18 must complete and submit the form to the government:  https://www.mass.gov/forms/massachusetts-travel-form   

Visitors are required to check one of these items:  

Is the “rapid” COVID test (results in 15-20 minutes) acceptable?

The rapid test is not sufficient. The Travel Order requires a molecular test within 72 hours before entering the state. The turnaround time at most major hospital settings is 24-48 hours, but not everyone has access to that test. They could have the test done 72 hours before arrival and then quarantine until they receive the result. 

What are the consequences of non-compliance? 

Individuals who do not comply with their obligation to quarantine are subject to a $500 fine per day. 

What is the responsibility of rental homeowners?

Homeowners are responsible for informing their guests of this order and sending them the link to the Travel Form to complete.  Visitors must complete and submit the form to the government, not to their hosts/homeowners. Homeowners are not responsible for making sure their guests have complied with the order to submit the form to the government. In addition, homeowners are not responsible for their guests taking the COVID test or complying with the order to quarantine.

What members of the traveling party must quarantine, and what exactly does “quarantine” mean? 

All members of the travel party must separate from all other people for 14 days. They may not be in public or otherwise leave their living quarters except to receive urgent medical care.  If no one in the travel party develops symptoms, they may continue with their normal activities after 14 days. 

How should I inform my out-of-state guests of this new Travel Order?

We urge you to contact any upcoming guests who reside in states other than those exempt ones (detailed above) at your earliest possible convenience. Here is a template that you can use:

Informing your out-of-state guests about the new Travel Order: Download Template

About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created WeNeedaVacation.com in 1997, shortly after buying our Cape home. My background includes teaching fifth grade for 8 years and writing and editing educational publications for 15. I get great joy from helping fellow homeowners successfully rent their homes. Jeff and I are proud to have two of our three grown children working for WeNeedaVacation.com, truly a family-run business. For me, the Cape and Islands are magical all times of the year -- whether it's walking on Nauset Beach, playing golf, or enjoying family and friends. Email Joan