BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker is easing COVID-19 travel restrictions for residents and visitors as the state's public health metrics improve.

On Thursday, Baker signed an executive order moving the state to the next phase of reopening and shifting from a "travel order" to a "travel advisory."

Under the new advisory, beginning Monday visitors arriving in the state and residents who've been away more than 24 hours will be "advised" to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival, unless they've had a negative COVID-19 test.

Previously visitors were required to fill out a form and quarantine for 10 days, or produce a negative test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival. The only exemptions were granted to visitors from low-risk states, of which there are only three — Missouri, Oregon and Washington.

The changes come as the state continues to see a decline in the numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,640 new infections, 44 deaths, and a seven-day positivity rate of 1.92%.

The new advisory doesn't apply to travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, those returning to Massachusetts after being away less than a day, or travelers who've had a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their arrival.

Nor does it affect workers who visit Massachusetts for "critical infrastructure functions" or those commuting to or from work.

The move comes as other New England states take similar steps.

Last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed an order changing the state's quarantine requirement for domestic travel to an advisory. He said the changes were aimed at helping businesses hammered by the pandemic as tourism season approaches.

In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills declared two weeks ago that visitors from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island can travel there without quarantining or providing a negative COVID-19 test.

In Massachusetts, tourism officials welcomed the governor's move to ease the restrictions and said it provides more clarity with the tourist season approaching.

"It's very encouraging that the health data is trending in a way that the governor feels comfortable easing restrictions," said Ann Marie Casey, executive director of the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's a green light to begin marketing the state and region, and getting back some of the business we have lost."

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at cwade@cnhi.com.

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