Travel Quarantine as we reopen

On Christmas morning after the presents are opened, there is sort of a lull in the day before dinner. Why am I writing about Christmas morning almost six months before the big day?
           Because over the last several years during that lull between presents and dinner, I usually get on the internet and decide where our family summer vacation will be in the coming year. There are unbelievable deals on Christmas morning, I guess because there aren’t many folks like me thinking about summer vacation on Christmas morning.
           Last Christmas morning I booked a trip to Hawaii. We’ve never been and while I don’t keep a bucket list, Hawaii would otherwise be a checkmark on a bucket list. A memorable one too, I hoped.
           But then along came Covid, and all of our plans were spoiled. If it turns out that missing a summer vacation is the worst insult Covid gives my family, I will count my blessings and be grateful for my good fortune.
           I suppose my family is not alone in having summer plans changed. But for some folks. Summer travel is a command responsibility, whether it is to attend a wedding, graduation, funeral, or reunion.
           As worries about Covid began to ease early last month, folks started getting back into the groove of possibly traveling again. And then along came Executive Order 7BBB.
           If you have been to work over the last week, you have heard about Order 7BBB. It is the Governor’s travel order that prohibits folks from a number of other states in the union from traveling to Connecticut without quarantining for fourteen days. If someone is going to come from Florida to Connecticut, for example, he will have to quarantine for fourteen days.
           For those of us who are feeling a little freer though, there was an unanticipated consequence for many folks regarding the order. If you decide to follow through on your vacation plans and travel to a state requiring a quarantine, upon your return you may have to quarantine too for fourteen days.
           The problem is that if you have to quarantine, you will have to miss work. And your employer is not going to be thrilled by that prospect given that you probably did not return to work until the middle of last month.
           So employers almost immediately started issuing notices last week that if your vacation included plans to travel to a “quarantine” state, your vacation approval would be rescinded. The howl you heard last week was your neighbors and co-workers after they were told that work was disallowing their vacation.
           Some folks have asked whether they could use available sick or vacation time to deal with the 14-day quarantine if they have the time on the books. The problem with that “solution” is that it will require the employer to lose the services of the employee for two weeks just as the employer is trying to get back on its feet.
           Most employers have said that use of available leave time will not be a solution. The only solution will be an agreement to not travel to one of the quarantine states. I have been asked if this is legal by a number of people.
           The sad truth is that it is legal. Your employer does not have to allow you quarantine time if you travel out of state to a quarantine state. Just another slap in the face brought to you by the Coronavirus. It has just been one of those years.

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