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COVID-19: NY May Ditch Travel Quarantine List

New York is seeking alternatives to its COVID-19 travel advisory. Photo Credit: ny.gov
There has been a rise in COVID-19 cases in New York along the Pennsylvania border. Photo Credit: ny.gov

New York is considering alternative options to its current COVID-19 travel advisory that mandates travelers from states with high COVID-19 infection rates enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

With COVID-19 cases across the country mounting, 43 states have now been put on the travel advisory list, though with neighboring states seeing its infection rates rising, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been forced to consider alternate options.

With the neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania now meeting the quarantine criteria, New York State officials said that they are highly discouraging non-essential travel to and from those states while they meet the travel advisory numbers.

“The problem with the quarantine is that technically, by the quarantine formula, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania would be (subject to) quarantine, but there’s no practical way to enforce that,” Cuomo said during a COVID-19 briefing. “We’ve been enforcing the quarantine at airports, but there are so many interconnecting roads, so we can’t do border checks across the state.

Cuomo said that with more and more states crossing the threshold to be quarantined when traveling to New York, the state is going to need to evaluate other options to determine who needs to be isolated for at least 14 days.

“We are working with global experts to see if there’s a different methodology to quarantine,” he said. “How can we use technology and testing, and now there are some rapid tests that can be deployed.

“Now, you come here and you have to stay here for 14 days before you leave, but the enforcement of that is problematic, and we’re not equipped,” Cuomo continued. “So now we’re asking, is there a better way or a smarter way to handle this? None of this has been done before so we have to figure it out as we go along.”

States currently on the travel advisory list are: 

  • Alaska;
  • Alabama;
  • Arkansas;
  • Arizona;
  • Colorado;
  • Delaware;
  • 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;
  • Wyoming.

Cuomo also noted that the search for an alternative option to quarantine would also be a boon for businesses that have been struggling during the pandemic.

“We have people from neighboring states driving to and from work between these states, if we tried to implement a quarantine it would be devastating for the economy,” he said. “It has had a negative effect on businesses. People want to come in and have their business meetings but don’t want to have to stay here for 14 days. So we need to find a better way to handle this.

“It would have a disastrous effect on the economy, and remember while we're fighting this public health pandemic we're also fighting to open up the economy. However, to the extent travel between the states is not essential, it should be avoided." 

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