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The CDC says you shouldn't travel for Thanksgiving. But, if you're going to, here's what you need to know

The CDC has recommended that all Americans stay home for the holidays this year. But if you're traveling outside the DMV, here are the rules.

WASHINGTON — Let’s get this out of the way first: The Centers for Disease Control said this week that all Americans should avoid traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday to prevent further spread of the coronavirus as cases continue surging around the country.

That being said, we know some of you are still going to. So, here’s what you need to know in the DMV.


The District of Columbia’s current travel requirements apply to anyone traveling to a state with more than 10 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, which, as of November 20, is every state in the country except Hawaii. Maryland and Virginia are exempted.

Here’s what the city asks you to do:

  • Within 72 hours of traveling, get a coronavirus test. If the test comes back positive, don’t travel.
  • If you’re a close contact of a confirmed positive case, don’t travel.
  • If you’re visiting D.C. for more than three days, get a coronavirus test within 3-5 days of arrival.

If you are traveling outside of D.C. for the holiday and then returning, you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days or until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. This doesn’t apply to essential work or activities, like grocery shopping, unless you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Read more about D.C.’s travel restrictions here.


Marylanders are strongly advised against traveling to any state with a positive rate above 10% or any state with average case rates above 20 per 100,000. As of Friday, that includes every state in the U.S. except for Vermont, Maine and Hawaii.

You can check the current percent positivity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Anyone traveling from those states to Maryland is required to get a coronavirus test and self-quarantine while awaiting results. This applies to travel of any kind.

Marylanders are also advised to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity and/or case rates decline.

Read more about Maryland’s travel restrictions here.


As of Friday, Virginia had no travel restrictions in place to anywhere in the U.S.

The Virginia Department of Health was, however, urging Virginians to avoid travel and to stay home as much as possible, and not to travel at all if:

  • You have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19
  • You recently tested positive for COVID-19
  • You are waiting for COVD-19 test results, or
  • You have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Read more about Virginia’s travel recommendations here.

Finally, if you're going to fly to Thanksgiving this year, you'll notice some changes at airports. We've put together a handy guide of what you can expect.

Before You Leave, Check This Out