The governors of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are pushing not to enact COVID-19 travel restrictions against each other, even as the states begin to meet the standards for the collective’s 14-day self-quarantine advisories.
Officials in the three states contend that a quarantine requirement would be very difficult and that the three states – being in the same region – are experiencing the pandemic at similar rates.
All three were among the hardest hit in March and April.
Under the tri-state compact, rolled out over the summer, travelers from any state with a positive test rate of 10 people per 100,000 residents, or a positivity rate above 10 percent, over a seven-day rolling average are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
In total, there are 38 states and U.S territories on the advisory list, which is updated every Tuesday.
New Jersey is already on the quarantine list for anyone traveling into Massachusetts and New Hampshire, amid a statewide surge of COVID-19 cases in the Garden State. State health officials maintain that the 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.
“We’re one region. I think you’re going to find it very complicated to say you can’t go into New York or New York can’t come out here,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said at a Monday afternoon press briefing. “Our positivity rates or cases per 100,000 residents are very similar.”
Both New Jersey and Connecticut have met those standards in the past week, meaning they would be subject to their own travel restrictions. Connecticut on Friday averaged 366 new cases a day or 10.3 per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.
“We are still that region,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at an evening appearance on News12 New Jersey. “The neighborhood is broadly similar in terms of data.”
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.
But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday dismissed a potential quarantine between the neighboring states, saying that “for all practical matters, you can’t do border control with New Jersey.
“I don’t know if it’s even, to what extent it would be possible,” Cuomo said, admitting, however, that he was worried about rising cases among New York’s neighbors. “And it would also be seriously disruptive to the economy.”
But despite assurances that interstate travel between the three states would not be limited, the three governors urged residents to stay off the roads whenever possible.
“My takeaway is simple,” Murphy said on Monday afternoon. “My advice is to not travel, frankly.”
He said that commuting between New York City and New Jersey, which upward of 320,000 New Jerseyans did each day heading into the pandemic, would still be considered essential travel and for that reason, stay exempt from any potential restrictions.
“Traveling into New York and coming back into New Jersey is not a quarantine-event, we’re just asking folks to be smart,” Murphy said.
Lamont meanwhile urged residents of his state to “stay close to home as much as you can.”l