NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday night that a quarantine in the tri-state area “will not be necessary” as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory.
The CDC is urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days, effective immediately.
The travel advisory does not apply to essential workers, including truck drivers, public health professionals, financial service employees and food supply employees.
At the recommendation of the Coronavirus Task Force & after consulting with @NYGovCuomo, @GovMurphy, & @GovNedLamont, @CDCgov issued a Domestic Travel Advisory urging residents of NY, NJ, & CT to refrain from non-essential travel for the next 14 days. https://t.co/PtEI5IXWe4
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) March 29, 2020
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Earlier on Saturday, the president had said he could implement a short-term quarantine in New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, calling it a “hot spot” for the coronavirus pandemic.
I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020
He said many people, including Florida’s governor, have asked him to look into the idea.
“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot. New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantine. I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there is a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine. Short-term, two weeks on New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut,” Trump said.
Governors Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy and Ned Lamont said they were blindsided by the president’s announcement, first introduced at the White House then again in Virginia as he sent off the Navy hospital ship Comfort to New York.
“It would be chaos and mayhem, and that would drop this economy in a way that I think wouldn’t recover for months if not years,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo called the idea preposterous and said the move would have been illegal.
Security expert Manny Gomez agrees, saying the order would have been tough to enforce and even tougher to defend in court.
“It just doesn’t make sense. We are a free country. We pride ourselves in our freedom of movement, of speech, et cetera, and we need to continue that in these uncertain times. If not, we’re just gonna become another despot state,” Gomez told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Later Saturday, the president tweeted, “A quarantine will not be necessary.”
….Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211
Murphy, meanwhile, said the CDC’s advisory is “non-binding” and “does not change the rules that have been established and in place for over a week now” in the state of New Jersey.
“I encourage all New Jerseyans to continue practicing aggressive social distancing and take personal responsibility to help us get through this public health emergency,” he said in a statement.
The CDC says each governor has the power to implement the advisory as they see fit.
The president never said specifically what the quarantine would have entailed.
Additionally, it isn’t clear whether the federal government has the power to impose such restrictions on states.