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Connecticut Clarifies Travel Restrictions

After updating its travel restrictions by Executive Order (more information here), the State of Connecticut added some key clarifying details to its FAQ.  The travel restrictions require individuals traveling from designated “Affected States” to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Connecticut, subject to limited exceptions.

The FAQ now explains what is meant by “self-quarantine,” so that individuals know what is and is not permitted of them while they are subject to the requirements.  The FAQ states, “Self-quarantine means to stay home or in your designated self-quarantine location, separate yourself from others, and monitor your health.  You should not enter any public places, including, but not limited to, restaurants, pools, meeting rooms, or gatherings, during the mandatory period of self-quarantine.  You can go for a walk if not around other people.  A self-quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.  The self-quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.”

The FAQ now also explains that someone who visits a state that was not on the Affected State list upon arrival, but was added to the list during his or her stay, is still “strongly encouraged” to self-quarantine.  However, the individual will not be subject to civil penalties if the traveler returned to Connecticut within seven days after the state was added to the list and does not self-quarantine.  These travelers are still required to complete a Travel Health Form upon arrival in Connecticut.

The travel restriction contains a very limited testing exemption.  If an individual is unable to self-quarantine, the self-quarantine requirement will not apply provided the individual has had a negative test result for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut and provides written proof to the Commissioner of Public Health of the result.  Many wondered what “unable to self-quarantine” means.  The FAQ now explains that this exemption “applies in very rare circumstances (e.g., coming to Connecticut for a funeral, an end-of-life visit to a relative).”  For employers and employees, it is important to note that, “Returning to work is not a justification for being unable to self-quarantine. Individuals who plan voluntary travel to affected states should have arrangements with their employers to be self-quarantined for the two weeks after they return.”  The FAQ also clarifies that there is no option to avoid self-quarantining based on a test obtained upon arrival in Connecticut.  The test must be performed within the 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut.

Finally, while not a change to the overall travel restriction, it is noteworthy that Rhode Island was just added to the list of Affected States, marking the first time a neighboring state was added to the list since the restriction went into effect.  In most cases, this will not be a problem, since the restriction only applies when an individual spends 24 or more hours in Connecticut.  Employees commuting from Rhode Island to Connecticut without an overnight stay in Connecticut are not currently subject to the travel restrictions.  With these employees, employers may choose to voluntarily take precautionary measures to mitigate exposure.