Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that he would not apply travel restrictions to people coming to New Jersey from the three nearby states – Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania – even as all four, including the Garden State, qualify for the 14-day self-quarantine advisory amid surges of COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Due to the interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between New Jersey and the three states, a 14-day quarantine is not reasonable in all instances,” reads a Tuesday evening statement from Murphy’s office. “Non-essential travel to and from these states, however, is highly discouraged at this time.”
That comes hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he would not apply the travel restrictions to New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware, as the three qualify for their own travel restrictions.
“There is no practical way to quarantine New York from New Jersey and Connecticut. There are just too many interchanges. There are just too many interconnections,” Cuomo said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “It would have a disastrous effect on the economy. We’re going to be working with Connecticut and New Jersey to see how we can help them with their spikes.”
Business travel, which hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans do to commute to either New York City or Philadelphia, has always been exempt from the travel restrictions, according to the New York governor. But Cuomo said that “non-essential” travel across borders “should be avoided”—a sentiment Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont echoed on Monday.
Under the tri-state compact, rolled out over the summer, travelers from any state with a positive test rate higher than 10 people per 100,000 residents, or a positivity rate above 10% over a seven-day rolling average are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
In total, there are 39 states and U.S territories on the advisory list, which is updated every Tuesday.
They are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Over the weekend, New Jersey logged more than 2,200 new cases of COVID-19, reaching daily levels not seen since the start of the summer. Its seven-day rolling average hit 923 cases on Sunday, bringing it to an average of roughly 11 per 100,000 residents. Over Monday and Tuesday, the state recorded two days in a row of more than 1,000 cases, compared to just several hundred new daily cases at the end of the summer.
State health officials say that recent outbreaks have come from a shift to indoor, private gatherings driven by colder weather where compliance is spotty on 6-foot physical distancing and the use of face coverings.
Murphy has effectively paused reopening plans – such as a relaxation of capacity restrictions on indoor dining. And, he has entertained restricting public gatherings.d