California Travel Restrictions: What You Need to Know

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Is travel restricted within California?

Travel is already restricted in some areas, with more limitations likely to come. Every county in California is assigned to a tier of restrictions based on its rate of new virus cases and positivity, and travelers can check to see which activities are allowed.

Under the latest order, when I.C.U. capacity dips below 15 percent in one of the five regions, individuals are required to “stay home or at their place of residence except as necessary to conduct activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure.” There are some exceptions for activities like outdoor worship services and exercise.

So far, of the five regions in the stay-at-home order, the Southern California, Greater Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley regions have fallen below the 15 percent threshold. Some counties, including San Francisco and Santa Clara, implemented the restrictions before they hit the threshold.

The rest of the state needs to abide by November’s Limited Stay at Home Order generally prohibiting nonessential work, movement and gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in counties experiencing the highest rates of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

Can I get a refund on a flight already booked to California?

You will need to check with your airline on the restrictions of your specific ticket, but most carriers have kept the newly relaxed change and cancellation rules they introduced during the pandemic.

If you are not allowed a refund, you will likely be issued a credit for a future flight. United Airlines’ website offers information for situations where travel plans have been impacted by Covid-19. Alaska Airlines has permanently eliminated change fees and also offers refunds or credits when travelers’ plans change.

What if I already have a vacation booked at a California hotel?

Currently, all California hotels and lodgings, including short-term rentals like Airbnb, are prohibited from accepting or honoring out-of-state reservations for nonessential travel unless the reservation is made for the required minimum quarantine time and the guest will remain there until the required time expires.

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