On Friday, Governor Ned Lamont’s new Executive Order 9C went into effect, which makes adjustments to the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine requirement for travelers returning from “hot spot” states with high COVID-19 levels. While the new Executive Order still requires travelers to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of last contact with a state or country designated as an “Affected State or an Affected Country,” the new Executive Order now gives returning travelers the option of producing proof of a negative COVID-19 test as an alternative to self-quarantining, provided the test is done within the 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut or at any time following arrival in Connecticut, subject to a few conditions.  Travelers using the testing option must obtain a nucleic acid COVID-19 test, such as reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as rapid antigen tests or antibody tests cannot be used to satisfy the testing option.

Travelers impacted by these requirements include anyone entering into or returning to the State of Connecticut who has spent 24 hours or more in an Affected State or an Affected Country within 14 days prior to arrival in Connecticut.  However, these requirements will not apply if, once arriving in Connecticut, the person stays for less than 24 hours. To take advantage of the testing alternative, the traveler must meet the following conditions:

  1. Must have had a test for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut or at any time following arrival in Connecticut;
  2. The result of such COVID-19 test is negative, and
  3. Must provide written proof of such negative test results to the Commissioner via email to DPH.COVID-Travel@ct.gov or via facsimile to (860) 326-0529.

The State’s “Travel Advisory” website, which provides helpful guidance on these new travel rules, also states that “if a test was obtained in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut, or following arrival in Connecticut, and such Affected Traveler has not yet received his or her test results, such traveler shall remain in self-quarantine in Connecticut until a negative test result is submitted to the Commissioner.”

This Executive Order further confirms that essential workers who travel to an Affected State/Country for reasons related to work are exempt from the self-quarantining requirements. However, this Executive Order likewise reaffirms that when such travel is for vacation, or other non-work related reasons, even essential workers must comply with any self-quarantine or testing requirements.

Employers in Connecticut should continue to monitor the State’s “Travel Advisory” website for updated guidance on these rules, as they are likely to change and can inform how much leave a person may need under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). If you have specific questions about the Governor’s new Executive Order, its implications, or related issues, please contact Julie C. Fay at jfay@goodwin.com or Tyler J. Bischoff at tbischoff@goodwin.com. We will continue to update our Coronavirus Resource page here as events warrant.