NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a Tri-State Area conundrum. The number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey and Connecticut qualify the two states for the quarantine list in New York.
So what is Gov. Andrew Cuomo going to do about it? CBS2’s Lisa Rozner found out on Tuesday.
Lots of people traveling over the George Washington Bridge are from New Jersey or Connecticut and Cuomo admits it is impossible to make each of them quarantine for 14 days, not to mention there are hundreds of ways to cross state lines.
So for now, he’s asking those residents to avoid non-essential travel to New York.
Travelers from 43 states, including Arizona and Maryland, must now quarantine for 14 days when arriving in New York. But excluded from that list are the Empire State’s closest neighbors, even though both meet one of the metrics — having a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average.
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Cuomo addressed the matter by phone on Tuesday.
“We’re going to be working with Connecticut and New Jersey to see how we can help them with their spikes, and also talk to Connecticut and New Jersey about making it clear that to the extent travel among the states, or between the states, is not essential, it should be avoided,” Cuomo said.
Pennsylvania also meets the threshold and is exempt from the quarantine list.
Cuomo explained there are too many people who live in one place and work in another, and while we are fighting the public health pandemic we’re also fighting to open up the economy.
“You have people coming in for work. You have people going back and forth for work. You have trucks coming in that are bringing in basic staples all day long, so it would be highly problematic,” Cuomo said.
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Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate is a little below 2%. New Jersey is a little below 3%.
Cuomo said even if he wanted to, due to all the ways to travel between the states he could only enforce quarantines at the airports, where officials currently collect contact tracing forms, and somewhat at train stations.
“I was afraid we may be getting that second wave,” Pelham Parkway resident Raul Melendez said, adding when asked if he’ll be seeing his family in New Jersey, “No, we call each other on the phone. It’s not worth the risk, quite frankly.”
“I have a collection agency in Connecticut, so I will continue to go to Connecticut. My business is there and I will not allow that to stop me,” Upper West Side resident Maria Tehrani added.
“We’ve been very good quarantining, isolating from each other for this long, and to do it that much longer,” Upper West Side resident Cynthia Concepcion told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
In the interim, the three governors released a statement on Tuesday night.
“Our states have worked together successfully in combating this pandemic since the beginning and we’ll continue to do so. The travel advisory was designed to keep our respective states safe, with the understanding that we are a connected region, dependent on each other when it comes to commerce, education, and health care. We’re urging all of our residents to avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel between states at this time, but will not subject residents of our states to a quarantine if coming from a neighboring state. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have among the lowest infection rates in the country because we have based our approaches to controlling the spread on science and data, and we will continue to do so.”
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