NEW YORK – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are imposing a 14-day quarantine on travelers coming in from states with high coronavirus infection rates.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined by Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Ned Lamont on Wednesday to announce the joint "travel advisory," which goes into effect tonight at midnight.
“We have a calibration for the infection rate, and any state that goes over that infection rate, that state will be subject to the quarantine," Cuomo said. "The infection rate formula will be 10 per 100,000 on a seven-day rolling average or 10 percent of the total population positive on a seven-day rolling average."
As of Wednesday, states over that threshold were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas. Impacted states will change as infection rates fluctuate.
Cuomo said all three states are "on the other side of the mountain" of the virus and can't risk a resurgence.
"We now have to make sure that the rate continues to drop and that's what keeps me up at night," Cuomo said. "We have to make sure the virus doesn't come in on a plane, again. Learned that lesson — been there, done that."
"We have taken our people through hell and back and the last thing we need to do right now is to subject our folks to another round and this virus is risky enough on its own in terms of the potential to flare back up," Murphy said, adding that the quarantine is "the right thing to do."
"This is what we've gotta do to make sure our region stays safe and our states stay safe," Lamont said.
Each state will be responsible for enforcing the quarantine.
"If you go to a hotel and hotel clerk asks, 'How come you're not in quarantine?' If you go to a business meeting and somebody says, 'Aren't you supposed to be in quarantine?' You're stopped by a police officer who says, 'You're driving a car with a Florida license weren't you supposed to be in quarantine for 14 days?' Any of those mechanisms you can be detected as violating your quarantine," Cuomo said.
Those who violate the quarantine could face mandatory quarantine and fines of $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for second and up to $10,000 if you "cause harm," Cuomo said.
The governor stressed the travel advisory is not a "blockade" and that it does not prohibit anyone from entering the Tri-State area.
"There has been no state that has said, 'You cannot enter our state,'" Cuomo said. "I don't believe that would be constitutional. A state can say as a matter of public health, 'If you come into my state from another state, you must quarantine.'"
Cuomo said the quarantine does apply to people who travel from New York to impacted states and come back.
Other states took similar action against travelers from New York back in March when the state was the epicenter of the outbreak.