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Posted on: November 20, 2020

City Urges Returning College Students, Holiday Visitors to Get Tested for COVID-19

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll are urging anyone, including college students, traveling to the City to visit family for Thanksgiving to get tested for COVID-19 and follow the state’s travel guidance.

Colleges and universities throughout New England were urged by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo on Wednesday to provide COVID-19 testing opportunities to students before the Thanksgiving break and to allow any students who tested positive to isolate on campus.

The Gloucester Health Department is urging all college students returning to the City for Thanksgiving break to take advantage of any testing opportunities at their school and/or seek out testing opportunities on their own. Anyone awaiting COVID-19 test results is advised to quarantine until they have received their results. 

“Everyone has a responsibility to do what they can to keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “We can only reduce the spread of this virus if everyone keeps following the proper guidance and being responsible. Please, if you’re traveling to or from the City, do so in adherence to public health guidance and expectations.”

Families picking up students at college only need to get tested under the state’s travel order for COVID-19 and/or quarantine if they stay overnight. If they pick a student up on campus and immediately leave, they are exempt.

Anyone traveling for the holiday is encouraged to get tested. COVID-19 testing is free through the state’s Stop the Spread Program, and the nearest testing site is in Salem. For more information about the Stop the Spread Program, click here

Massachusetts travel restrictions require that anyone visiting Massachusetts from states other than Hawaii or Vermont either quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or produce a negative PCR test result from a sample taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Visitors from Maine or New Hampshire arriving after 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, are subject to quarantine and testing restrictions. All travelers arriving from states designated as high risk by the commonwealth, including Massachusetts residents returning home, must also fill out a travel form. For more information, click here.

Anyone who fails to follow the state’s travel expectations may face a fine of up to $500 per day they remain in the state.

“It’s important that residents remember that the Maine and New Hampshire have been removed from the low risk list of states for travel to Massachusetts,” Carroll said. “It’s no secret that many of our community members have family and friends who live throughout New England– please, follow the state guidance and observe the Thanksgiving holiday responsibly, given the rise in COVID-19 cases we are seeing locally, statewide and nationwide.”

Residents should also note: a negative COVID-19 test only signifies that you tested negative for COVID-19 at the time of the test. For the best results, quarantine while you await your results. It is fully possible to contract COVID-19 after your test while you await your results, and one negative test result does not mean that you are free to see anyone without taking precautions. Even with a recent negative COVID-19 test, residents are urged to continue practicing social distancing, wearing their masks in public, and keeping their gatherings small. 

College students and those traveling to the City are further advised to:

  • Limit their interactions to those in their household where possible.
  • Avoid contact with those at a high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, including older adults and those with certain medical conditions. 
  • Remember, there is a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Massachusetts except for essential activities including going to work or school, or picking up medications. All gatherings are required to end at 9:30 p.m. 
  • All indoor, residential gatherings in Massachusetts are currently limited to 10 people and outdoor, residential gatherings are limited to 25 people. 

For the latest updates, visit the City’s website here.

College Guidance