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Connecticut Revises Travel Restrictions

Nearly a month after Connecticut instituted a travel advisory requiring certain travelers to self-quarantine upon entry to the state, Governor Lamont issued a new executive order that gives some teeth to the measure.  Executive Order 7III repeals the travel advisory contained in Executive Order 7BBB and replaces it with a mandatory self-quarantine enforceable through fines.  Here’s what you need to know:

Timing: The original travel advisory was repealed upon issuance of Executive Order 7III on July 21, 2020, but the new requirements do not go into effect until 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 24.  This leaves a period of just over two days where there is, apparently, no travel restriction in effect.  This may have been an oversight but it creates uncertainty for those entering the state on July 22 and July 23.

Affected Travelers: An “Affected Traveler” means a person who has spent 24 hours or longer in an Affected State within 14 days prior to arriving in Connecticut but does not include an individual remaining in Connecticut for less than 24 hours.  An “Affected State” means a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.  These states are listed on the Connecticut Department of Public Health website.  The list evolves frequently, with 31 states currently meeting the criteria.

Self-Quarantine Requirement: All Affected Travelers shall self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of last contact with such Affected State.  Those who are in Connecticut for less than 14 days only need to self-quarantine while they are in the state.  Those who are in Connecticut for less than 24 hours are not considered Affected Travelers and do not need to self-quarantine.

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.  If the result of the test is pending at the time of arrival in Connecticut, the individual must self-quarantine until the negative test result is received and the results are submitted to the Commissioner of Public Health.  According to an FAQ on the Department of Public Health website, “If the test result is positive and the traveler is asymptomatic, the traveler shall self-isolate for ten (10) days from the date of the test; if symptomatic, they should seek medical assistance.”

Exempted Travel: Workers traveling from Affected States to Connecticut who work in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including students in exempt health care professions, are exempted from this self-quarantine requirement when the travel is related to their work in Connecticut. This includes any state, local, and federal officials and employees traveling in their official capacities on government business. If the worker was in an Affected State for another reason, such as vacation, the worker is not exempt from the requirements of the Executive Order.

Travel Health Forms: All Affected Travelers, prior to or upon arrival in Connecticut, must complete a Travel Health Form with detailed individual information, including contact information.  The form must be submitted electronically at or to any location or person designated by the Commissioner of Public Health.

Enforcement: Individuals who fail to comply with the requirements of the Executive Order are subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation.

Considerations for Employers: While the Executive Order does not directly address employers, it is important for employers to carefully consider all options with regard to limiting business travel and personal travel, such as vacation, by employees.  Counsel should be sought on such matters, especially in the public sector and for employees subject to collective bargaining agreements.  Employers should consider how they will address situations where employees are required to self-quarantine pursuant to the Executive Order with careful consideration to the requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  Employers may still require testing for COVID-19 (as opposed to antibodies), temperature checks, and disclosure of COVID-19 symptoms and exposure as a condition of allowing employees to enter the workplace.

As new laws and regulations go into effect faster than ever, the labor and employment team at Berchem Moses PC is available to help you meet your legal obligations.  Please call us if we can be of assistance.