New travel restrictions throw reservations into question

Tue, 08/04/2020 - 1:30pm
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Ed. Note: Updated with official statement from Block Island Express, which operates the ferry out of New London.

With Rhode Island suddenly and unexpectedly being put on a travel restriction list that says if you are planning on traveling to Connecticut, New York or New Jersey from Rhode Island, you must quarantine for 14 days upon return, Chamber of Commerce Director Cindy Lasser said the phones in her office have been ringing off the hook with people asking questions about the status of their reservations. The announcement was made on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

This directly impacts vacationers, said Lasser. If people come from one of those states to Block Island for their vacation, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days when they get back home, said Lasser. The other option is to provide proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test when they arrive. Real estate agents have also been reaching out their renters about these new travel restrictions.

“This is big,” said Lasser. “These are our people.” 

Jessica Willi, Director of the Block Island Tourism Bureau, said that her phone was ringing, too, but noted an important distinction. “This is not Rhode Island government trying to impact travel. This is a decision being made by those states,” she said, also emphasizing that travelers from those states to Rhode Island will have to quarantine for two weeks when they return home.

Block Island Express operates the ferries from New London to Block Island.

The ferry company issued the following statement to The Block Island Times:

Block Island Express is advising all of its customers of the following.

Per the executive order from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, anyone who has stayed in Rhode Island (Block Island) for under 24 hours and enters Connecticut must fill out a travel health form upon arrival. Furthermore, anyone who has stayed in Rhode Island (Block Island) for over 24 hours and enters Connecticut must fill out a travel health form and self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Block Island Express remains in operation and is following all applicable rules and guidelines.

The Chamber put out the following advisory:

Please be advised that three states have put travel restrictions on people traveling from Rhode Island back to their home states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Please read the following:

Connecticut

https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/travel

New York

https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory

New Jersey

https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/travel-information/which-states-are-on-the-travel-advisory-list-are-there-travel-restrictions-to-or-from-new-jersey