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New Travel Order Requires Quarantine Upon Entering Massachusetts, Includes $500 Fine

BOSTON (CBS) -- Individuals who fail to comply with a new travel order in Massachusetts could be fined $500 per day, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday. Visitors and in-state residents returning home must fill out a "Massachusetts Travel Form" and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from an exempt, lower-risk state or can provide a negative COVID-19 test from the last 72 hours.

The travel restrictions go into place on August 1. Incoming college students are included in the order.

The current exempt states are: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York.

For a state to be considered lower risk, the seven-day rolling average of daily cases must be below six per 100,000 cases and the positive test rate must be below five percent.

"We're not going to be stopping cars but we're going to expect people to comply," said Baker. "There's going to be a ton of signage out there to make clear about what the rules are."

Other exemptions include people passing through the state, people commuting across state lines for work, people traveling to Massachusetts for medical treatment, people complying with military orders, or people traveling to work in federally designated critical infrastructure sectors.

"Since March, the people in Massachusetts have made great sacrifices and shown great discipline. And as a result, our state has made great progress to slow the spread of COVID-19 and gradually reopen," said Baker. "Every traveler coming to Massachusetts, no matter where they're from, has a responsibility to help keep COVID-19 out of the Commonwealth."

"This time of year, many people are traveling to and from Massachusetts for vacation or, in some cases, getting ready to come back to school. We've already seen an uptick in activity at Logan Airport."

The order also said Mass. residents are "urged to limit out-of-State travel only to those State included on the DPH list of COVID-19 lower-risk States and are strongly discouraged from traveling to other States or to international destinations."

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According to Secretary Stephanie Pollack, more people are moving around within the state and from out of state. "Earlier in July, traffic volumes measured at a series of key locations around the state were on average only 10 to 15 percent lower than corresponding 2019 volumes - far higher than back in April or May," she said.

The average number of daily checkout passengers at Logan has doubled from around 3,300 in May, to just over 7,000 in June, then nearly doubled again to over 12,000 in the first three weeks of July, said Pollack.

"Of the 200 to 300 arriving flights each day, there are on average 51 flights just from the three states of Florida, California, and Texas, where COVID-19 cases and fatalities are on the rise."

Baker said, "There are no shortcuts when it comes to containing COVID-19. For months the residents of the Commonwealth have been vigilant and disrupted their daily routines. They've had to adopt new habits and we cannot and we must not let up now."

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