courtesy Office of Gov. Lamont

Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced on Wednesday, June 24, a joint incoming travel advisory requiring all individuals traveling to CT, NY or NJ from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state.

This self-quarantine–effective 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, June 25, 2020–applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Lamont told reporters that it would be up to visitors to voluntarily self-quarantine.

“Right now, it’s going to be voluntary. Right now, you are going to be clearly notified that you must quarantine if you haven’t tested negative within, say, 72 hours. And you’re going to be notified of that in strict terms. And hotels will notify you of that before,” he said.

Questions remain on how the order will be enforced. Cuomo specified fines for violators, while Lamont said he would consider stricter measures if the advisory itself wasn’t enough.

The executive order he issued on the travel advisory Wednesday evening didn’t clarify things. It not only didn’t mention anything about a negative test being sufficient to eliminate the need for self-quarantining, but it also used the word “shall,” leaving the question of mandatory vs. voluntary up in the air.

GMW has reached out to the governor’s office for clarification and will update once we hear back.

Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey will continually update and publish on their respective websites a list of states to which the new advisory applies.

The tri-state measure will use uniform parameters and messaging on highways, airports, websites, and social media across the three states. The three states will also ask hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states.

The states identified by the governors–listed by Cuomo at a Wednesday morning press conference with all three governors–that are currently on the list are Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Utah. Connecticut residents who travel to those states will have to abide by the same requirement upon returning home.

Travel among and between the three states is not impacted by the order.

During the briefing, Lamont told reporters, “The Northeast region has taken this seriously. … But we’re not an island. Working with Phil and Andrew, we reluctantly came to the conclusion that this is what we’ve got to do.”

“Working together as a region has proven to be immensely successful as our respective states are leading the country when it comes to our response with low infection and positivity rates relative to increased testing capacity,” Lamont said. “We have made difficult decisions throughout this pandemic, but we have proven to make many of the right decisions. This step to inform travelers from states with hot spots to self-isolate is meant to protect our residents and maintain our incredible public health progress.”

“In New York, we went from the highest number of cases to some of the lowest rates in the country – no one else had to bend the curve as much as we did and now we have to make sure that the rate continues to drop in our entire region,” Cuomo said. “We’ve been working with our neighbors in New Jersey and Connecticut throughout this entire pandemic, and we’re announcing a joint travel advisory that says people coming in from states with a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. We’ve worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down and we don’t want to see it go up again because people are traveling into the state and bringing it with them.”

“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. We are proud to work with our partners in New York and Connecticut on a joint incoming travel advisory to ensure continued progress against this virus and to keep residents of the tri-state area safe.”

Editor’s Note:  The article has been updated to further clarify the governor’s comments about the travel advisory being voluntary and if a negative test can exempt a visitor from the quarantine.