Harwich Prepares for New Travel Restrictions

HARWICH – Governor Charlie Baker’s new COVID-19 travel restrictions take effect Saturday and the Town of Harwich is preparing for the changes.  

The new travel restrictions require that all visitors entering the state, including residents, complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival, unless they are visiting from a state designated by the Department of Public Health as lower-risk.

They must also quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered within 72 hours of arrival.

“Travelling to New Hampshire and coming back for the weekend then there’s no need to worry about anything. But if you are a Massachusetts resident and you’re going to Ohio to drop your kid off to school in the fall and you’re coming back, then you are considered an incoming traveler and you would need to follow these guidelines of registering, self-quarantining for 14 days or providing a negative test result,” said Meggan Eldredge, Harwich Health Director.

Those who fail to comply with the new rules could incur a $500 fine enforceable by the local board of health.

Travelers may be exempt from completing the form if they are travelling from a lower-risk state, only passing through Massachusetts to another destination, or travelling as part of a regular weekly commute directly to and from a fixed place to attend school or work.

Other exemptions include patients and their support seeking or receiving medical treatment from a physician, military personnel required to travel to the Commonwealth at the order or directive of a federal or state military authority or workers providing critical infrastructure service.

Eldredge said that she had questions for the state on how exactly these restrictions would be enforced by local boards of health, and worried that the responsibility would fall to local town businesses. 

“We are certainly not stopping people or asking for travel itineraries. A lot of this is going to fall on the local hospitality industry as far as making reservations and alerting travelers that way,” said Eldredge.

She also said that town officials will be in contact with the Department of Public Health to learn more about the enforcement of the restrictions.

Eldredge said that the town will be posting information on the travel advisory to social media, as well as provide other ways to make people aware of the restrictions.

For more information on the Governor’s new COVID-19 travel restrictions that begin August 1, click here.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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