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Traveling to Another State? You Need to Read this First

At the beginning of this month, a Northern Kentucky woman filed suit against Governor Andy Beshear citing the travel restrictions in his recent executive order were an infringement upon her constitutional rights. The Order limits travel between Kentucky and other states, in addition to imposing a fourteen-day quarantine on those individuals who do travel into Kentucky and stay, with a few exceptions noted. The plaintiff, not fitting into the exceptions category, wanted to be able to travel to Ohio to visit family and return to Kentucky without fear of detainment or other punishment. A similar suit was filed this week by a group of three individuals living in Bullitt, Boone, and Powell Counties that cited the same unconstitutionality of the travel ban, plus claimed the ban on in-person church services was equally an infringement upon their rights. While these types of cases move forward in the court system, what do Kentuckians need to know in the meantime about interstate travel?

To begin, the Kentucky travel restrictions being referenced in the lawsuits are outlined as follows:

Residents of Kentucky are instructed not to travel into any other state, and residents of other states may not travel into Kentucky, except under certain circumstances.

  1. When required by employment;
  2. To render care as a healthcare professional or volunteer healthcare worker related to the State of Emergency;
  3. To obtain groceries, medicine, and other necessary supplies;
  4. To seek or obtain care by a licensed healthcare provider;
  5. To provide care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; or
  6. When required by court order.

Residents who are out of state for any reason, besides the six exceptions listed, must self quarantine for fourteen days upon their return to Kentucky. Those people traveling to and staying in Kentucky must self quarantine for fourteen days unless one of the six exceptions apply.

Kentuckians who will be traveling out of state during this current State of Emergency should expect a self quarantine of fourteen days and plan accordingly. Governor Beshear has relied on officials in each county to enforce as they see fit, so enforcement of the travel restrictions may vary county to county.

Getting in and out of Kentucky is one hurdle, but where are you going once you leave the state lines of the Bluegrass? Much has changed for those traveling by auto due to the pandemic. If you’re going to be traveling through other states, it will be necessary to plan ahead. Many hotels, restaurants, and businesses may be closed.

For each state you’ll be traveling in, you’ll need to educate yourself on any travel restrictions that state may have in place. Be prepared for the possibility of law enforcement stopping you because of your out-of-state plate and inquiring into your travel plans, because, if they have a mandatory quarantine period, they may want to know if you’re staying in their state or transiting. Some counties in various states have issued curfews, so you may be stopped and questioned if you’re driving in their area beyond the curfew.

USA Today has an abbreviated list of travel restrictions that you can find HERE, but you should visit the official state government website of each state applicable to your travels for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

If you’ll be traveling by automobile in the near future, planning ahead is key. State borders are no longer as liquid as they were pre-pandemic. Educate yourself on each state’s new travel rules and be prepared prior to leaving. Safe travels!