The only constant around the COVID-19 safety compliance rules is that they keep changing. Over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a change to the travel restriction rules in New York, differentiating New York from the shared protocol that had been established previously with New Jersey and other contiguous states.

Earlier this year Cuomo, New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy and other governors in the Northeast established a 14-day quarantine for those traveling to a specified list of high-risk states. Now, with Thanksgiving travel just a few weeks away, New York has announced a change in its protocol. Effective November 4, individuals who travel outside New York for more than 24 hours must obtain a COVID-19 test within three days of departure from the other state. Upon arrival in New York, the individual must quarantine for three days. On day four of his or her quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID-19 test. If both tests come back negative, the individual may end quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test. This new restriction does not apply to those individuals who travel to states that are contiguous with New York or to essential workers. Travelers who were only out of state for less than 24 hours do not need to quarantine, but they must get a COVID-19 test on the fourth day after their return to New York. All individuals will still be required to complete the state’s Traveler Health Form as well.

As a result of this change, while an employee taking a one-week vacation outside New York previously would have had to quarantine for another two weeks upon her return, now she only needs to quarantine for four days, assuming both of her COVID-19 tests are negative. This is welcome news for those New York employers whose employees are asking about Thanksgiving travel. Of course, allowing those returning from out of state to work from home for as long as business circumstances permit is still the safer course of action.  

Attorneys in Lowenstein Sandler’s Employment Counseling & Litigation Group are available to answer any questions you may have about the rapidly changing COVID-19 safety requirements. 

To see our prior alerts and other material related to the pandemic, please visit the Coronavirus/COVID-19: Facts, Insights & Resources page of our website by clicking here.