ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Travelers arriving in New York from any other state or U.S. territory will no longer be required to quarantine starting April 1 regardless of their vaccination status, Governor Cuomo announced this morning.
A mandatory quaratine does remain in effect for all international travelers.
While quarantining will no longer be required, the New York State Department of Health still recommends people quarantine upon arriving as an added precaution. All travelers will still have to fill out a traveler health form as well.
Under current rules, all travelers entering New York from a non-bordering state must be tested for COVID-19 within three days of arriving in New York. Once arriving, the must quarantine for three days and be tested on the fourth day. If both tests come back negative, the traveler can end their quarantine.
Travelers who do not get a COVID-19 test prior to arriving and on the fourth day of arrival must quarantine for 10 days.
The lifting of the restriction comes before spring break for many school districts.
NFTA Public Affairs Director Helen Tederous said travel at the airport is about 20% of pre-pandemic levels.
“This is probably the biggest restriction that has been lifted for us thus far,” Tederous said.
She said the U.S.-Canadian border closure is still a roadblock to recovery, about 30% of the airport's passengers are Canadian.
"So that is something that of course we'd love to see lifted, and that is going to probably have the most impact, but certainly this latest change in rules and restrictions is very very promising and we’re very excited about,” Tederous said.
In the Southern Tier, the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce said restrictions led to a boom of in state tourists. Project Development Manager Barb Pump said she receives many calls from out of state travelers asking about quarantine.
“Well what do I have to do, do I have to quarantine when I get there," Pump said. "So I think that’s with people knowing they don’t have to do that, I think we’ll see a major increase in people from the surrounding states, our Ohio base, our Pennsylvania base."
Other southern tier tourism destinations, like the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, say they also have a significant Ohio and Pennsylvania customer base. David Hart, President and CEO of Hart Hotel Inc., which manages the hotel, said the announcement was great news.
“Naturally, when the restrictions came out last year and were held firmly up to now, that hurt us quiet a bit in terms of our normal customer base,” Hart said.
Hart Hotel Inc. said the ending of quarantine for domestic travel likely won't help its Erie County hotels in the same way. Hart said customers at those hotels are mainly on business or are youth sports teams, as opposed to tourists from neighboring states.
According to the state's vaccine tracker, 19.9 percent of all New York State residents have now received at least one vaccine dose, while 9.8 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated.