New York State Will Require Pre-Arrival COVID Testing for Visitors

by Miles Jackson

Many countries are seeing a resurgence of Coronavirus cases in recent days. America is seeing its own third wave of Coronavirus cases being reported while many states are struggling to stop the spread. On Sunday, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that people planning to come to the state are now required to follow new restrictions.

This State Will Require Pre-Arrival COVID Testing for Visitors

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo COVID Briefing

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Briefing

These new entry protocols take effect Wednesday and replace the previous mandatory 14-day quarantine. With this new mandate, persons traveling to New York are required to get a COVID-19 test several days before arrival. It may be that they may also require a second test after arriving.

For any traveler who has traveled outside of New York for more than 24 hours, such traveler must seek testing prior to departure from that state, within 72 hours of departure, prior to arrival in New York. The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine according to Department of Health guidelines for a minimum of three days, measured from time of arrival and on day 4 may seek a diagnostic test to exit quarantine. The traveler may exit quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test result.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Visitors to New York will also have to test negative for COVID-19 no more than three days before they enter New York. Individuals arriving without proof of a negative test won’t be stopped from entering the state, but will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Persons who test negative will still have to quarantine for three days after they arrive and then take a second test. That pretty much puts an end to tourism in the short-term. In addition, it makes it virtually impossible for business travelers to come and go in the state freely; thus negatively impacting business travel.

Similar Restrictions Globally Announced

In a similar, but more dramatic move, United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England will take drastic measures to curtail further cases. These new restrictions will last through December 2. Among the new restrictions, outbound international travel is banned, except for work; which is a distinction from Cuomo’s order. Travel within the country is to be forbidden. People are only allowed to leave their homes for specific essential reasons. These include education and work (if they are unable to work from home.) Other allowed activities include grocery shopping, for health purposes and for exercise and recreation outdoors. Persons may not stay away from their primary home overnight, even if ‘they own a second home.’ These new protocols apply only to England, as healthcare is handled by various separate governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Europe is seeing a rapid rise in reported cases of COVID-19. In response, many EU countries have announced (or are contemplating) national lockdowns. With a lockdown it doesn’t mean just stopping parties and gatherings; but also closing all bars, restaurants, museums, hotels and more.

Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and Spain have separately announced similar, but slightly less severe measures in recent days. They have lengths varying from 15 days to indefinite. Ultimately, it appears the continent is headed for lockdown and it’s just a matter of time and for which countries.

Germany has banned hotel stays for tourists, with hotels only permitted to open for essential business reasons.

RELATED: United Airlines Offers Free COVID Tests

How Will New York State Enforce Latest Restrictions

It is not clear how New York plans to actually enforce the new executive order. For right now, tests are not required for travel to New York from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Each is a contiguous state to New York and directly connected by roads and rail.

Of course, passengers arriving by air will certainly be subject to these new requirements. I can see how this could easily become a huge logistical nightmare!

The Upshot

The governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York sought to work together on action plans regarding the Coronavirus. They developed guidelines to stem the spread of Coronavirus infections earlier in the summer. However, New York’s Governor Cuomo is fearful of a new surge in his state from travelers arriving from other states. With the Tri-State Coronavirus Travel Advisory they put together, all travelers from a state with a high coronavirus infection rate had to quarantine for 14 days.

Today, the State of New York is taking an unprecedented stand in the country to require pre-arrival COVID testing of travelers from other states within the country. Even with testing, travelers are required to quarantine, although with a second test that quarantine may be cut short.

This highlights the frustrations faced by governments globally as leaders worldwide struggle to contain the Coronavirus.

Does this affect your plans to travel to New York? What do you think of the Governor’s new restrictions requiring visitors to New York to have a COVID Test?

For now, if you are looking to travel, it looks like Mexico and the Caribbean are your best bets for a winter vacation getaway.

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Jim F. November 2, 2020 - 10:06 am

How does this impact passengers connecting at JFK/LGA?

Miles Jackson November 2, 2020 - 3:53 pm

Jim F-
Passengers transiting through the airport would be unaffected by the requirements. Only those persons trying to exit the transit areas would be subject to these new entry requirements.

Joey November 2, 2020 - 10:53 am

I think the title is misleading since passengers to NYC have the option to quarantine for 14 days OR take 2 covid-19 tests (one before travel and another 3 days after arrival.) Visitors who do not have any covid-19 test result on day of departure will still be able to travel to NYC.


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