BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Tuesday that the state is updating its coronavirus travel guidelines in an effort to make it easier for people from surrounding states to come to Massachusetts.
Effective July 1, all people who arrive in Massachusetts, including residents returning home from out of state, are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, unless they are travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York and New Jersey.
Baker said those surrounding states, like Massachusetts, are seeing a “significant decline” in cases and new hospitalizations.
The state previously had a travel advisory in place asking people to quarantine for 14 days when they return to the state.
“We’ve had a 14-day quarantine advisory in place now for quite a while, and generally speaking people have been pretty good about complying with it,” said Baker. “What we thought we should do today, given the facts on the ground, was to make clear that the states that basically surround us here in the northeast, all of which have had very positive trends for the past several weeks, people in those places should be allowed to come to Massachusetts without having to live up to that 14-day quarantine.”
Massachusetts is currently in Phase 2, Step 2 of its reopening plan. Phase 3 will start no earlier thank July 6, though a date has not yet been announced.
“Thankfully businesses are reopening and all kinds of activities are resuming, and I know that many people looking forward to planning a few days out of town at some point over the course of the summer,” said Baker. “Massachusetts is reopening. We want to make sure that our out-of-state visitors are also taking appropriate precautions.”
The governor said he knows that with summer arriving, residents are eager to get out of the house.
“There’s no doubt the season will be different and immensely difficult for visitors and businesses. It’s our hope that many folks will still be able to visit their favorite places in our great state,” said Baker.
Still, Baker said the threat of the virus remains, despite positive trends in Massachusetts.
“I don’t want anybody to think for a minute that it’s time to let down your guard,” said Baker. “There’s plenty of evidence, not just around this country but around the globe, of places where people have let down their guard and the virus has come roaring back.”
On Tuesday night, the Sanderson family was headed to North Carolina. “We will quarantine when we get back just out of being cautious,” said Milu Sanderson. “We have an elderly family member that we want to make sure that we’re being safe.”
Melanie Balch flew into Boston with her family from Texas. “I came here for the Fourth of July celebration but I had already booked the trip before everything started to cancel,” she said. “We’re not going to be able to do anything, we’re going to have to get grocery delivery and pretty much just hang out.”