By Beth David, Editor
Rhode Island was taken off the list of states with no travel restrictions to Massachusetts on Tuesday. RI had previously been included in the rest of New England States, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii as being exempt from travel restrictions in Mass. After an uptick in COVID-19 cases hit the state, RI was added to the list of states with travel restrictions into Mass.
The travel restrictions mean that anyone traveling to Massachusetts from Rhode Island must quarantine for 14 days; any Mass. resident who travels to RI, must also quarantine on return. Exemptions include people who commute to work or school regularly, going to a “fixed place” and then returning home.
Travelers are also exempt if they have a negative test result within 72 hours of reaching Mass.; patients seeking medical treatment are also exempt. Visit https://www.mass.gov/ forms/massachusetts-travel-form for the travel form with details on the travel restrictions, states, and exemptions.
Anyone traveling to the state is required to fill out the form online.
Travelers who do not comply with the order could be fined $500 per day.
The order came after Mass. Governor Charlie Baker gave a press briefing. The decision to add RI to the restrictions was made after the press conference on Tuesday, 8/4/20.
Gov. Baker said at the press conference that the state will roll back its reopening if cases continue to rise. So far, though the rate of new infections is still hovering around 2%.
Gov. Baker credited the residents of Mass. for slowing the spread of the virus by wearing masks, socially distancing when possible, and staying away from large gatherings.
He said if the trend continues upward, the restrictions may change, such as reducing allowed gathering sizes, which now stands at 25 people in an indoor space; and up to 100 people in outdoor spaces.
The governor told the public that he understood how the restrictions were getting more difficult with time, especially with a such a short summer season in the state.
He said the “overwhelming majority” of Mass. residents have been wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands often, using hand sanitizer, etc.
He urged residents to continue with all the above.
“I mean, this stuff is like gold standard,” said Gov. Baker. “But you hve to be vigilant and you have to be disciplined and you have to do it over and over again.”
The administration added more cities to its free testing initiative, in places that had higher than average positive cases. That also added to the increase in numbers, but Gov. Baker said it was a good thing to find the cases.
For a list of testing sites: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download
As of 8/4/20, Mass. had 111,033 confirmed cases and 8,436 deaths from COVID-19. For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov
As of 8/4/20, the US had 4,698,818 cases, and 155,204 deaths. Visit https://www.cdc.gov for more info.
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