NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are banding together to make sure travelers from coronavirus hotspots don’t bring the virus back here.
Wednesday they issued a travel advisory, effective midnight tonight.
The advisory means that if you travel to our area from a state with a high number of coronavirus cases, you are required to quarantine for 14 days.
A lot of this relies on personal responsibility, reported CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
That means right now no one at the Port Authority Bus Terminal or other transit hubs are checking IDs of arriving travelers to make sure they’re complying, Rozner reported.
But if you’re caught, the fines are steep.
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“You violate the quarantine, you will have to do mandatory quarantine, and you will be fined,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo sent a warning to anyone traveling to New York, New Jersey or Connecticut from states where 10% of those tested for COVID-19 came up positive on a seven day rolling average, or a state where 10 per 100,000 on a seven-day rolling average.
Joined via videoconference by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, he said currently there’s around 10 states the advisory applies to: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.
Florida reported a record number of coronavirus cases Wednesday. Texas has also seen a surge. In Houston, ICU beds are at 97% capacity.
The travel advisory doesn’t include California, which reported its largest single-day rise in cases Wednesday. The governor there says he might reverse the state’s reopening.
As the infection rate changes, the states from which quarantine will be required will also change.
Cuomo said that people in violation of the quarantine could be fined: $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second and up to $10,000 if they cause harm.
WEB EXTRA: See Cuomo’s Presentation Slides (.pdf)
If arriving after midnight, they must quarantine for 14 days, or face those fines.
“There were no states that were handed a worse hand, if you will, when this first started,” Cuomo said. “No one else had to accomplish as much as we had to accomplish in such a short period of time. No one else had to bend the curve as much as we had to bend the curve.”
“We now have to make sure the rate continues to drop,” he added. “We also have to make sure the virus doesn’t come in on a plane, again.”
Cuomo said he thinks the travel advisory is “right” and “smart.”
It takes effect at midnight tonight.
I am announcing with @GovMurphy and @GovNedLamont a joint travel advisory. All individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID into NY, NJ, or CT must quarantine for 14 days.
This travel advisory is effective midnight tonight.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 24, 2020
“We live in the densest neighborhood in America. We’ve been clobbered by this virus. No region in the country has paid a bigger price, with the loss of brothers and sisters. We’ve lost just under 13,000 members of our New Jersey family. New York has paid an enormous price. Connecticut has paid a big price as well,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “We have taken our people, the three of us, these three states, through hell and back and the last thing we need to do right now is to subject our folks to another round.”
WATCH: Governors Cuomo, Murphy And Lamont Discuss Quarantine Measure
Murphy called the measure “common sense” and “the right thing to do.”
“As we look around the rest of the country, we’ve seen not just spikes, but we’ve seen real community spread of better than 10% positivity rate in a number of these states that we’re talking about right now,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said. “We reluctantly came to the conclusion that this is what we’ve got to do to make sure our region stays safe and our states stay safe.”
Cuomo explained how people might get caught.
“You go to a business meeting and somebody says ‘Didn’t you just come from Florida? Are you from Florida?’ Yes. And they drop an email or make a phone call now you have an issue. If you get pulled over by a police officer ‘Oh, you’re a Florida license, when did you get here?’ You can’t lie because Port Authority has all the records,” he said.
Each state is responsible for its own enforcement, but none of the three states will have police checking licenses at the border, or collecting quarantine addressees from domestic travelers at airports.
“It seems like it’s an honor’s system until you get caught or called out. I mean, other states like Florida, they make travelers fill out paperwork with their address, or Hawaii, they check in on them,” CBS2’s Lisa Rozner asked the governor.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“You could argue that every law is the honor system until you get caught, right? You can speed in a car until you get caught, and then you get penalized. So that’s almost any law,” Cuomo said.
Some people praised the plan.
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” one person told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
“I think it’s a good idea,” another woman said.
But not everyone felt that way.
“Nah, I don’t think, at this point in the game, I don’t think it’s worth it,” one man said.
Watch Dick Brennan’s report —
New York State Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt is criticizing Cuomo for previously proclaiming that any restrictions on travel for New Yorkers would be an “act of civil war.”
He’s calling for this kind of decision making to be put in the hands of the legislature, calling it a “draconian policy” which means “anyone traveling for a business conference to a state on his list will be forced to quarantine, and anyone who made vacation plans will too.”
Cuomo confirmed to Rozner that is true: If you travel to any of those states for vacation, you have to quarantine upon returning.
Rozner reached out to the interstate bus lines, Amtrak, the Port Authority and major airlines for comment.
It was news to most, but JetBlue got back to her to say it is allowing travelers to change flights without penalty.
The announcement comes as five regions in New York state are poised to enter Phase 4 reopening later this week: The North Country, Mohawk Valley, Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier. During Phase 4, low-risk outdoor and indoor arts and entertainment can resume, museums, film and move production, higher education and professional sports.
“Spring training” for the Yankees and Mets will begin July 1, Cuomo said.
Also under Phase 4, the number of people who can be at a religious gathering will increase to 33% – up from 25% – capacity of a building, and up to 50 people can get together as a social gathering, Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that the state is studying whether air conditioning in places like malls and bars simply recirculates the virus.
“As soon as we get more information, we will make an informed decision,” Cuomo said.
The governor lauded the cleanliness of the MTA subway system, saying it is “cleaner than ever.”
Cuomo again took aim at those who have taken a less cautious approach to reopening.
“The concept that you could open recklessly, see the virus transmission go up, and think that was going be good for the economy was bizarro-land. And you see that today, because you see states with an increasing viral spread. It’s up to about 27 states that now have an increase in the virus spread, and you see the stock market going down every time the virus goes up,” Cuomo said.
The governor said the federal government has been “incompetent in how they have handled the situation.”