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Can You Travel to See Family for the Holidays?

group of angry businesspeople having argument with airport receptionist
By Andrew Leonatti on November 19, 2020 1:22 PM

This post was updated on November 24, 2020.

Maybe your parents let Thanksgiving slide this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But, you are coming home for Christmas, right?

Holiday travel is stressful in the best of years. But there is an added wrinkle in many states this year: the self-quarantine. To try and control the spread of COVID-19, which is again raging across a vast swath of the country, several states are setting up quarantine requirements for new arrivals.

We briefly touched on this issue in our recent blog post discussing Thanksgiving gatherings. But this post is about what extra plans you will have to make if you are determined to make your folks happy with a holiday visit. Check back for updates if circumstances change!

Which States Require a Quarantine for New Arrivals?

Currently, the following states have some form of travel restriction in place. Depending on the state you wish to visit, where you are coming from will affect whether you have to quarantine. These lists are frequently changing, so it's important to know before you go.

What Happens if You Violate an Order?

As we've written about previously, many attorneys and public health experts are skeptical about a state's ability to punish someone for violating a quarantine order. States do not have power under the Constitution to bar entries from other states.

The bigger question, though, is whether these orders are enough to stop you or make you rethink your travel plans this holiday season. If you violate a quarantine order and face penalties, it will likely ruin your trip there, even if you are ultimately able to avoid punishment. As with many public health matters in this pandemic, compliance is voluntary, but extraordinarily helpful.

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