Travel advisory expands as infection rates spike

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – The governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey expanded a joint travel advisory to 16 states.

Implemented June 24 at 11:59 p.m., people traveling into those states from states with a high spread of COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days.

As of June 30, the states included in the advisory were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

A constantly updated list can be found on the state’s website here.

“Right now it’s going to be voluntary,” said Gov. Ned Lamont in a news conference on June 24.

Lamont said travelers would be clearly notified if they fell under the advisory.

“If we find that people are abusing that, we’ll look at some stricter enforcement,” he said.

Lamont, along with Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Phil Murphy, issued a joint statement about the advisory.

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“No one else had to accomplish as much as we had to accomplish in such a short period of time,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 

Several southern states have been reporting thousands of new cases in a single day.

The travel advisory 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 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

On June 30, Lamont said “I can tell you flights are down and passengers are down since our quarantine was put in place, so there are fewer people coming from the most infected parts of the country to CT.”

Dr. Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said the state would update the list of states, depending on COVID-19 case reports. If a state sees infection rates decline, it could be removed from the advisory.

Lamont said he has been having conversations with Gifford about travelers potentially being able to present negative test results instead of the 14 day quarantine.

He also said he wants to weed out the people who will actually need to be quarantined by having testing done at airports.

“I was talking to the president of Jet Blue today about how perhaps they could test in Florida before someone even gets on the plane, then they have a certificate when they arrive here,” he said.

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Connecticut, on the other hand, has one of the lowest coronavirus rates in the nation.

“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 form states with hot spots to self-isolate is meant to protect our residents and maintain our incredible public health progress.”

Lamont was asked about enforcement, but didn’t elaborate on what the state might do if someone disobeys the order. He acknowledged that it will be difficult to track whether people are complying.

The state released a list of frequently-asked travel advisory questions along with their answers:

  • How is this going to be enforced? This is an advisory and we are strongly urging visitors to Connecticut to take this step. It will be up to individuals to abide by the advisory.
  • How are the impacted states chosen? The advisory applies to any person arriving from a state with a daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate for COVID-19 tests over a 7-day rolling average. The list of states is fluid and will be updated weekly onto this website. This travel advisory also applies to Connecticut residents who are returning from a visit to the impacted states.
  • How long is the quarantine? The advisory is for visitors to Connecticut from the impacted states to quarantine and self-monitor for 14-days. Those coming for shorter stays can quarantine and self-monitor for less than that if their stay is shorter.
  • If I am coming to Connecticut to a hotel or bed and breakfast, can I do the quarantine there? Yes. Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey are all asking hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states.
  • Does the quarantine recommendation also extend to passengers flying to Connecticut on connecting flights that stop in high infection states before arriving in Connecticut? No. Quarantine does not apply to travelers who just have a layover in an impacted state.
  • If I live in Connecticut and have a household member or guest returning from an impacted state, do I and other household members who have not traveled to an impacted state also need to self quarantine? Out-of-state visitors from impacted states are encouraged to postpone travel. If not possible to delay travel, individuals are encouraged to self-quarantine in the home they are returning to in Connecticut. If not possible to self-quarantine from other household members, those other household members who did not travel from an impacted state are not required to self-quarantine.
  • Are there any exemptions for essential workers? Yes. Workers traveling from impacted states to Connecticut who work in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including students in exempt health care professions, are exempted from the quarantine advisory. This includes any state, local, and federal officials and employees traveling in their official capacities on government business.
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