April 19, 2021 Updated COVID-19 Travel Guidance
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
We are writing to provide you with a summary of the most recent changes to the NYS Department of Health’s (“DOH”) guidance (“the Guidance”) regarding the quarantine requirements for travelers arriving in New York State. The Guidance supersedes the recently issued April 1, 2021 DOH Guidance regarding the same subject.
Changes to the Rules Applicable to International Travel
As of April 10, 2021, asymptomatic international travelers no longer need to quarantine after arriving in the United States. Instead, international travelers must now comply only with any applicable CDC requirements, which currently include a requirement, regardless of vaccination status, to provide proof of a negative test or recent recovery from COVID-19 in order to board an airplane coming to the United States. The CDC requirements, however, do not include a requirement that asymptomatic travelers quarantine or be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in the United States. Nevertheless, the CDC and the DOH recommend delaying international travel until the traveler is fully vaccinated.
In addition, the DOH recommends that:
• Fully vaccinated individuals who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months get tested three days after arrival in New York; and
• Unvaccinated individuals who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months should: (1) get tested three to five days after arrival in New York; (2) “consider” self-quarantine (for seven days if tested on day three to five or for 10 days otherwise); and (3) avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease for 14 days.
Domestic Travel Rules Remain Unchanged
The DOH’s policy since April 1, 2021, pursuant to which there are not any quarantine or testing requirements for asymptomatic domestic travelers, remains unchanged.
Nevertheless, the DOH recommends that all unvaccinated domestic travelers who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months: (1) get tested three to five days following arrival in New York; (2) “consider” self-quarantine (for seven days if the traveler is tested on day three to five or for 10 days otherwise); and (3) avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease for 14 days.
Mandated New York State Travel Form for All Travelers
All travelers, regardless of whether traveling internationally or domestically, will continue to be required to complete the New York State Travel Form unless they left New York for less than 24 hours or are coming to New York from a contiguous state.
Unvaccinated Health Care Personnel
Notwithstanding the general rules discussed above, unvaccinated health care personnel who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months, and who work in nursing homes, enhanced assisted living residences (EALRs) or assisted living programs (ALPs), must be furloughed for 14 days if they traveled internationally or, to a non-contiguous state or U.S. territory for more than 24 hours. Furthermore, unvaccinated health care personnel who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months working in all other health care settings, and who return from international travel, must be furloughed for: (1) seven days with a test three to five days after arrival in New York; or (2) 10 days.
Employers should consider whether they want to update their existing COVID-19 screening questionnaires and related COVID-19 policies and procedures to be consistent with these changes.
As the Guidance makes clear, “[f]or situations where quarantine is recommended, … employers may develop policies for travel that either do or do not require furlough of affected staff.” We encourage you to contact us if you are considering making changes to your policies so that we can assist you with the process and in complying with any obligation to bargain that you might have.
Also, it continues to be true that employees who voluntarily travel to another state or country for personal reasons (i.e., not as part of the person’s employment or at the direction of the person’s employer) are ineligible for benefits pursuant to New York’s COVID-19 paid sick leave law, although an employer may voluntarily provide this leave, subject to any bargaining obligations.
If you have any questions regarding the Guidance, please contact Adam S. Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org), Alyssa Zuckerman (email@example.com) or one of our other attorneys at 631-694-2300.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
 The DOH’s April 10, 2021 “Updated Interim Guidance for Travelers Arriving in New York State” is available at: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2021/04/updated_travel_advisory_april_10_2021a.pdf.
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