While a lot of retailers are doing Black Friday quite differently this 2020, that didn’t stop most people from doing their holiday shopping personally. Malls and shopping centers felt well-prepared and said that they were expecting the good turnout of people shopping this year, despite having to enforce social distancing and mask wearing in stores.
At Nashua’s Pheasant Lane Mall, it looked like almost any other Black Friday – filled parking lots and plenty of out-of-state license plates.
In other words, many shoppers crossed the border from Massachusetts, despite the newly-enforced travel restrictions. Some of them even said that they weren’t aware of those new travel restrictions, and come to New Hampshire to shop often.
If you’re traveling to Massachusetts , you should know that there are newly-implemented protocols, especially for those who will cross the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border.
Marylou Suddlers, the Health and Human Services Secretary, hinted that Massachusetts state officials are expected to remove 2 additional neighboring states from their list this week. Since Maine and New Hampshire averaged above 10 new COVID-19 positive cases per 100,000 residents for two straight weeks, they got removed from Massachusetts’ list.
Massachusetts will remove Maine and New Hampshire from its list of lower-risk states, which means travelers coming from New Hampshire are required to take a 14-day self-quarantine and fill out a state travel form upon return. They can also present a negative COVID-19 test result if they got tested within 72 hours of arrival in Massachusetts.
On Friday, Maine and New Hampshire were averaging 14 and 27 new cases per 100,000 residents respectively. Vermont also averaged above this threshold, and just last Saturday, Massachusetts considered it as a high-risk state, too.
Exceptions for people commuting to school and work are implemented, as well as military personnel and those getting medical treatment outside the state.
Other than commuters, military personnel, and those arriving for medical treatment, Massachusetts also exempts certain same-day trips across the border and back, which are designated as “critical life activities”. These activities include doctors’ appointments, visits to the dentist, required appearances at official proceedings, and grocery shopping.
Travelers that won’t be able to comply are required to pay a $500 fine per day.
As of Friday, Massachusetts was already averaging nearly 38 cases per 100,000 residents.
The nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases has forced state officials to remove a half dozen other lower-risk areas from the Massachusetts list over the past month.
Three weeks ago, New Jersey and Connecticut were also removed from Massachusetts’ list, days after they had done the same for Massachusetts. Then, California was taken off the list after two weeks.
Last week, Washington State, Washington D.C., and New York were removed from the list. As of today, Hawaii is the only state in the United States that is considered to be low-risk.
The positive coronavirus cases across the United States surpassed 13 million on Friday, after a Thanksgiving holiday upended by the pandemic and in the midst of a Black Friday hampered by capacity limits on stores and virus fears.