a surprise extension

New York announces quarantine for Texas travelers due to COVID-19 spike

New York announces quarantine for Texas travelers after COVID-19 spike

Houston news, New York City skyline, November 2017
Austin travelers heading to New York City must quarantine for 14 days. Courtesy of cntraveler.com

Travelers from Texas going to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut must quarantine for 14 days or face a hefty fine. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new travel advisory during a joint press conference on June 24 with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

The new travel advisory goes into effect at midnight on June 25 and applies to travelers entering "from a state with a transmission rate above 10 per 100,000 people on a seven-day rolling average or 10 percent of the total population testing positive on a seven-day rolling average," according to CNN.

On June 23, Texas saw 5,500 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number yet of the pandemic. Both San Antonio and Austin are among the top five cities with fastest COVID-19 case growth in past week, according to data from CNBC reporter Meg Tirrell. Houston and Dallas are in the top 20.

In addition to Texas, the ban currently applies to Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington state until their transmission rates drop. Any state where the transmission rate rises above the threshold will likewise be added to the list.

Failure to quarantine could result in a $2,000 fine for the first offense, $5,000 for a second offense, and up to $10,000 if an individual is found to have "caused harm" by not quarantining, Cuomo added.

"[The advisory] is only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down," said Cuomo.

When asked how the states would monitor the advisory, Cuomo said that "each state is different," and New York will inform travelers of their need to quarantine. Enforcement, he added, will largely depend on hospitality workers, police, and citizens to report if a traveler does not adhere to the rules. (Because airports are run by the federal government, the states are not able to enforce the advisory that way.)

The tri-state region suffered some of the most catastrophic effects of the novel coronavirus, with New York state amassing 388,000 positive COVID-19 cases, more than 200,000 of which were in New York City alone. In total, more than 30,000 New Yorkers have died due to coronavirus.

Today, however, positive cases have dropped to their lowest levels since March 9 — a trend Cuomo says the advisory will help continue.

"We did a full 180 degrees," he said during the press conference. "We went from the highest cases — the highest viral transmission rate — to some of the lowest rates in the county. No one else had to accomplish as much as we had to accomplish in such a short period of time."