Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday expanded the state’s travel advisory to almost the entire country as a means to stop the flow of the virus into the territory, as nearly all 50 U.S. states now meet the threshold to be considered COVID-19 hotspots.
Maine and New Hampshire were added to the list Tuesday evening. They now join 45 states and territories from which travelers are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days when arriving in the state.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently scrapped the system altogether, even though the list was jointly maintained for months by New Jersey, New York and neighboring Connecticut.
The virus has surged all across the country in recent weeks, as it steadily shatters records for new daily counts and total hospitalizations. Instead, visitors into New York from non-neighboring states are now asked to take a COVID-19 test.
New Jersey and neighboring Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania all meet the thresholds for their own travel advisories, amid months-long record-high cases.
But a 14-day quarantine is “not reasonable in all instances,” reads a statement from Murphy’s office, and instead “non-essential travel to and from these states, however, is highly discouraged at this time.”
The governor on Monday rolled out the first restrictions in months to reverse the recent statewide outbreaks. Starting Nov. 12, indoor sports competitions will be banned, while restaurants have to shut off indoor dining beginning at 10 p.m.
Newark, which has become ground zero for the second wave, announced shutdowns in parts of the city where the virus has been surging. Those include curfews and early business closures.
“As we battle a second wave of COVID-19, stopping the spread of this deadly virus could not be more important,” Murphy said on Tuesday.
“It remains our top priority to ensure the safety of New Jersey residents, and we ask individuals arriving from these 45 states to get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for 14 days.”
COVID-19 hotspots are defined as any state or territory with test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, over at least a 10% positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average: metrics which New Jersey has soared past for weeks.
The 45 states and territories are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
Violations in New York could be met with a $2,000 fine, but compliance is mandatory, as is an electronic survey that air travelers into New Jersey are asked to fill out indicating where they traveled from and their destination.
County health officials would receive that information to ensure the traveler quarantines and gets tested for COVID-19 if necessary.