BOSTON — As of midnight Saturday morning, you will no longer be allowed to cross any Massachusetts state border for leisure.
The lower risk state rule has been in place since August. What’s changing? After, this week’s COVID-19 data report, Massachusetts removed Maine and New Hampshire from the list of lower-risk states.
That leaves only Hawaii and Vermont. Travelers from those two states won’t have to quarantine.
“I am a stone throw away,” said Methuen resident Michael Farelli. “I’m not gonna go to Massachusetts because it’s taxachusetts, of course, I’m gonna save the sales tax it’s a no brainer, right I’d be a fool.”
The new rules left residents on the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts concerned, angry and confused.
“I live in Salem, New Hampshire,” said Amy McLaughlin. “I have kids who live in Massachusetts and a boyfriend lives in Massachusetts so how am I supposed to go see them?”
Let’s try to answer some of your questions.
“I live in Massachusetts literally 2 1/2 miles from here, right over the line,” said Farelli. “So if I do a job in New Hampshire I have to quarantine after that?”
No, you don’t.
-People passing through or briefly stopping at a rest stop.
-People commuting to work or school and then back home.
-Patients seeking or receiving medical treatment and
-Military or Critical Infrastructure Personnel.
The state also gives a pass for what it calls Critical Life Activities that are same-day trips across the border and back: grocery shopping, visits to pharmacies, medical appointments, religious services, and funerals. During those trips, travelers are instructed to wear a mask and practice all the COVID guidelines.
For a full list of guidelines, click here.
If you do not meet one of the exemptions, you must submit an online Travel Form. The only other way out is if you can produce a negative COVID-19 test result taken in the last 72 hours.
“OK then find a place that you don’t stand in line for five hours to get a test because everyone is taking a test to travel but you can’t... I tried to find a test for my son to stay in line,” said McLaughlin. “Everyone says it’s six hours I don’t have six hours to stand in line.”
If not, plan to separate and quarantine for 14 days or until you receive your negative test.
“How are you going to control that? Are you going to have a cop sit at the border and stop everybody?” asked McLaughlin.
It’s unclear exactly how it will be enforced, but those who don’t comply could get a $500 fine per day. We have time for one more question.
“How long is this going to be?,” asked Farelli.
The policy considers data over two weeks before moving a state from lower risk to high risk. But potentially good news, it just takes one week of data to move states back into the lower risk category.
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