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New York Adopts Pre-Travel Testing to Cut Quarantine Period

Beginning Nov. 4, travelers can avoid 14 days in quarantine with a pre-travel test, a shorter quarantine and a second test after arrival

Beginning Nov. 4, the state of New York is adopting new protocols for arriving out-of-state travelers that will allow them to “test out” of the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Except for those coming from the contiguous states of New Jersey and Connecticut, arriving travelers who were in another state for more than 24 hours will have to get tested within three days of departure from that state.

Upon arrival in New York, the traveler quarantines for three days, then on Day 4 they need to get another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler will be able to leave quarantine.

Travelers who were in another state for less than 24 hours will not need a test prior to departing the other state, and will not need to quarantine upon arrival in New York. But they will be required to fill out the traveler information form upon arrival and take a COVID diagnostic test 4 days after their arrival in New York.

Essential workers are also exempt from the rules.

Making the announcement, Governor Andrew Cuomo cited the state’s low positivity rate as a sign of progress against the virus. “However, travel has become an issue. The rest of the states pose a threat,” Cuomo said. “We’re going to a new plan given the changing facts, and the experts suggest we shift to a testing policy.”

New York’s decision to give travelers a way to opt out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine policy comes as the travel industry worldwide is pressuring governments to adopt new pre-travel testing measures to reopen air travel.

A number of countries have already adopted some test-before-departure protocols, and at the end of October, United Airlines started the first trial of free preflight tests on transatlantic service to London.