NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced Wednesday a joint Tri-State COVID-19 quarantine agreement.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said people coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days, effective at 12 a.m. Thursday.
The governors called the quarantine "common sense." It applies to states with a 10% infection rate so that includes Florida which imposed a similar quarantine on NY at the start of the pandemic.
"We have a calibration for the infection rate, and any state that goes over that infection rate, that state will be subject to the quarantine," he said. "It's only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down."
Cuomo said the joint travel advisory was made "because what happens in New York, happens in New Jersey and happens in Connecticut."
"We have done a lot of good things together, and hopefully we are on the other side of the mountain" he said. "And we will continue to see the numbers go down and we will continue to see the economic activity go up and with that."
As of Thursday morning, eight states exceed the formula and are subject to the quarantine: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas.
Washington was on the list initially, but the state was removed Wednesday night after New York officials reviewed the state's data, saying, "There was a temporary discrepancy with Washington State's reporting, however, they have since corrected it and we have removed them from the list of states under travel advisory."
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy concurred with Cuomo's announcement, saying that the Tri-State needs to do the right things inside the four walls of their respective states.
"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," Murphy said. "This virus is risky enough on its own in terms of the potential to flare back up, so doing something common sense as this is to say to folks, 'Listen, it's time for personal responsibility.'"
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont also agreed that it's the right thing to be cautious.
"It only goes by working together with New York, New Jersey and the other states in the region to make sure that we maintain the protocols, social distancing, the masks, everything we have done successfully over the last few months," Lamont said.
Gov Cuomo said the three states have determined, "a state can say, as a matter of public health, if you come into my state from another state, you must quarantine."
He said there will not be a roadblock checking license plates at borders.
"That is not a quarantine, that is a blockade," Cuomo said. "That's what the federal government threatened to do with us at one point."
Each state will do its own enforcement.
"In New York, it's a travel advisory, you are informed you should quarantine for 14 days. If you go to a hotel, hotel clerk asks how come you are not in quarantine? You go to a business meeting, someone says, aren't you supposed to be in quarantine? You get stopped by a police officer who says, you are driving a car from Florida, weren't you supposed to be quarantine for 14 days," Cuomo explained. "Any of those mechanisms you can be detected as violating your quarantine. If you are violating your quarantine, you can be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine. You could have to pay the costs of quarantine. There are also fines that go along with violating the quarantine. $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second, up to $10,000 if you cause harm."
Gov. Murphy said in New Jersey, constitutionally, they are not able to put up border checks around the state, so traveling from one state to another is allowed.
"I think what we are asking folks, this is an advisory, so it's more than a recommendation," Murphy said. "We are asking folks to take on a big amount of personal responsibility here and do the right thing for themselves, as well as their families, communities and the rest of us.
Cuomo said there will be no organized enforcement and no national guard checking people at airports, but he would prefer a person to get tested immediately upon landing, saying that it's "the best way to avoid infection."
"Some states brought in the national guard," he said. "I don't know that we will need that enforcement. You land, you are informed. We know you landed because the Port Authority has the flight manifests. We can follow up and check on you, or someone could file a complaint on you or you could be pulled over by police."
And if travelers don't quarantine and they get caught, Cuomo says there will then be a mandatory quarantine and fines on top of it.
"I don't believe we are going to have a massive non-compliance issue," he said. "I think people will by and large comply, but we will be checking on people because we have the manifest. Driving is harder to find if you drive, but most of these states you come in on planes. It's a long drive from Arizona, i did it once."
Cuomo also said the Yankees and Mets, who are returning from Florida next week for spring training in New York City, will test players as part of separate health protocols.
"The health commissioner has authority to deal with special classes," he said.
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