(CN) — The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a joint travel advisory Wednesday, instituting quarantine rules for any visitors coming from states where infection rates of Covid-19 are on the rise.
Visitors will be subject to 14-day quarantines if they have left a state that has 10 infections per 100,000 residents on a seven-day average, or 10% of the state’s total population infected on a seven-day average, said Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York where the infection rate is just over 1% — a massive turnaround for a state considered just weeks earlier to be the global epicenter of the novel coronavirus.
As of Wednesday the states that are above the 10% threshold are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas. The list of states will be updated daily.
“We went from the highest cases, the highest viral transmission rate, to some of the lowest rates in the country,” Cuomo said in a virtual press conference with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “No one else had to bend the curve as much as we had to bend the curve.”
Cuomo doesn’t want to lose the progress the tri-state region has made.
“We have to make sure the rate continues to drop,” Cuomo said. “We also have to make sure the virus doesn’t come in on a plane again.”
Cuomo said the travel ban from China did nothing to stop the spread in the New York region because it was already in Europe at that point, and there was no European travel ban in place.
It wasn’t a decision the governors made lightly.
“Over the course of the past few months, our states have taken aggressive action to flatten the curve and beat back the coronavirus,” Murphy said. “As a result of our collective efforts, we have low infection rates, falling hospitalizations, and have steadily been reopening our economies. Unfortunately many states continue to have high transmission rates.”
Lamont said the governors reluctantly came to the conclusion to require the self-quarantine to make sure the region stays safe.
At a separate press conference, he said they are still discussing whether a person could avoid the quarantine by presenting a Covid-negative test certificate.
“It does make some sense to me, especially if a business person wants to come up, has three days to do business and go back,” Lamont said. “I’m going to get that coordinated with my fellow governors as well just so it’s clear.”
As for enforcement, “right now, it’s going to be voluntary,” Lamont said.
Connecticut is focusing on “individual accountability” for compliance, said Lamont’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe.
“If we find that’s not working, if we find that people are abusing that, we’ll consider some stricter measures for enforcement,” Lamont said.
This is something the leaders will decide independently. “Each state will be responsible for the enforcement of that policy within their state,” Cuomo said.
The quarantine order will begin at 11:59 tonight.
If Connecticut residents travel to states with high infection rates they will be required to self-quarantine when they return, Lamont said.
In New York, the number of people hospitalized with the virus is 1,071 — the lowest number the state has seen since the pandemic began.
“Hopefully we’re on the other side of this mountain,” Cuomo said.
“Right now all the numbers look good within New York City,” Cuomo said.
He was referring to the coronavirus numbers, and not the budget numbers.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the virus caused the city to lose $9 billion in tax revenues, creating the potential that the city will lay off or furlough 22,000 municipal workers by the fall.
Three months ago the city had expected a $7.4 billion shortfall, and it is in the processing of looking for $1 billion in savings, the mayor added.
“Together we have to find a billion dollars, which means we’re going to no longer do some of the things we used to do,” de Blasio said.
He said that gets them part of the way, but it doesn’t get them far enough.
“As we lose revenue, we have to keep moving with that reality,” de Blasio said.