New Guidance on Massachusetts-Rhode Island Travel Restrictions

Health officials have clarified the types of day-trips that can take place between Rhode Island and Massachusetts without triggering the 14-day quarantine order

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After Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's latest travel restrictions prompted questions about what was permissible for residents who live along the Rhode Island border, the state has published updated guidance that includes exemptions for activities like grocery shopping, visiting a doctor or attending to the needs of a family member.

The new travel rules put in place by Baker required that as of Aug. 1 anyone entering Massachusetts from another state not on a safe list would have to either quarantine for 14 days, or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours.

That safe list currently exempts visitors from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii, and initially included Rhode Island until some key metrics in the Ocean State worsened and it was added to the quarantine list.

The new guidance posted online by Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel clarifies the types of day-trip activities that can take place between states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts without triggering the quarantine order. That list includes grocery shopping, visits to pharmacies, attending appointments physicians, dentists and mental health care providers, visiting people receiving treatment in hospitals or residing in congregate care homes, attending religious services, funerals or memorial services, or caring for a family member.

Anyone coming into Massachusetts through Logan Airport or by car, bus and train will now have to prove that they're COVID-19 negative or hunker down.

The clarified rules make clear that people can enter Massachusetts to attend a judicial hearing or other official proceeding or to adhere to child custody arrangements without having to quarantine.

The new information posted online also includes answers to commonly asked questions about permissible activity, such as whether a child needs to quarantine or be tested if they attend a day camp in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. The answer to that question is no.

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