Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s considering travel restrictions into New Jersey from states with less stringent measures in place surrounding COVID-19, in a bid to stop a potential second wave of the pandemic months down the road.
Murphy also teased at potentially limiting some forms of “non-essential construction” to stop the spread of the outbreak within the state.
Many states have implemented similar measures. In the past week, the governors of Florida and Texas each ordered a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers arriving from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Louisiana—all hot spots for COVID-19.
As of Tuesday afternoon, COVID-19 infected 18,696 state residents and claimed 267 lives. Murphy indicated that the virus could ebb and flow until a scientifically proven vaccine could be mass produced, which at a best-case scenario might not happen until January 2021.
“We can’t make the folks go through the pain that … we’re going through together, just to emerge and find that some other state didn’t take this as seriously, that they were basing decisions that weren’t based on science and data and fact, and therefore through a backdoor, we reignited the fire,” Murphy said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference in Trenton.
Over the past month, Murphy rolled out a host of restrictions that shut down tens of thousands of “non-essential” businesses, ordered millions of residents to stay at home, and banned any public gatherings.
All of this, the administration argues, is to promote “social distancing” and deprive the COVID-19 virus of any person-to-person contact that could provide it with new hosts.
“I’m not going to make the people in this state go through hell and back to flatten that curve … all the isolation and social distancing and staying at home, only to have some lowest common denominator throw gasoline on the fire,” Murphy added.
Many businesses are required to have as many employees as possible working from home. And the list of which businesses can keep open their brick and mortar locations has been in constant flux.
Murphy on Tuesday also hinted at restricting construction, a profession that often requires workers to be in close proximity to each other—much closer than the 6-foot social distancing minimum.
Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a ban on all “non-essential” construction, residential and commercial, allowing only for the construction of hospitals, affordable housing and emergency repairs.
“That’s something we’ve considered, but we’re still holding where we are,” Murphy said.