New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are imposing a 14-day quarantine on travelers from some states with high coronavirus infection rates.
Cuomo joined New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to announce the joint travel advisory.
“People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days,” Cuomo said.
“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,” the governor said, adding that the states impacted were subject to change as time went on.
The states currently affected by the mandatory quarantine are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.
"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," Cuomo said. "So any state that has an infection rate above that would require a 14-day quarantine."
The quarantines will be enforced by each state, Cuomo said.
"If you are violating the quarantine, you can be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine, you could have to pay the costs of quarantine. There are also fines that can go along with violating the quarantining," the governor said.
Cuomo said people violating the quarantine can face a $2,000 fine for the first violation, a $5,000 fine for a second violation and a $10,000 fine if they "cause harm."
Cuomo's top aide, Melissa DeRosa, noted that airports and airways are regulated by the federal government. "States don’t have any real authority over flights coming in and out," she said.
The state has thus reached out to airlines to ask them to remind travelers about the mandatory quarantine, Cuomo said.
The governor emphasized that the quarantine wasn't a "blockade" and that people from other states are still allowed to enter 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 also announced that five Upstate regions are on track to enter Phase 4 of reopening on Friday: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and North Country.
Phase 4 allows low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment, including zoos and botanical gardens, at 33 percent capacity, as well as low-risk indoor arts and entertainment, including museums and aquariums, at 25 percent capacity.
Among the other activities allowed under Phase 4: film and movie production, higher education and professional sports without fans.
Cuomo announced indoor religious gatherings will be allowed up to 33 percent occupancy under Phase 4, up from the 25 percent allowed under Phase 3.
Phase 4 also allows for social gatherings of up to 50 people, up from the 25 people allowed under Phase 3.
Cuomo said the state is still studying the impact of reopening malls, movie theaters and gyms. “We’re looking at what happened in other states,” he said.
The governor also announced that the subway saw its highest number of riders since the coronavirus crisis began—1 million on Tuesday.
Cuomo said the state saw its lowest number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 since March 19—1,071 patients. There were 17 deaths statewide Tuesday, among the lowest number of daily deaths reported since the outbreak began.
Of 51,144 tests conducted statewide Tuesday, 581 people—or 1.1 percent—were positive for COVID-19.
In New York City, 1.2 percent of people tested were positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.