By Andrea Grymes

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork)Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor Ravi Bhalla is urging residents to not travel out of state to stop the spread of COVID-19.

CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported the warning on Thursday is guidance, not a mandate.

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“Our best advice would be to stay local. Stay within New Jersey. Make plans within New Jersey and try to avoid those hot spots, those areas where you could actually be unknowingly spreading COVID because you’re asymptomatic,” Mayor Bhalla said.

The mayor issued new guidance asking residents to avoid nonessential travel outside New Jersey.

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Hoboken officials said they’ve seen an uptick in COVID cases, specifically linked to people going to places like Florida, Mexico and northern ski resorts.

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They report 716 total COVID cases in January and 605 in February, so far. There is a 15% to 20% increase in cases linked to out of state travel.

Residents had mixed reactions to the new guidance.

“I think it makes sense. Got to curb the spread,” said Nicholas Thome.

“Obviously, it’s going to be hard for some people, but it’s definitely understandable,” said Nikolas Aslanian.

“I think the only way to get out of all this is to just keep staying home and keep doing what we can to not be traveling. I don’t think it’s possible, though. I don’t think people will listen,” said Prairie Broughton.

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The mayor said indoor gatherings and social get-togethers remain the primary sources of infections in Hoboken.

Andrea Grymes