LITTLE ROCK — The governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York said Wednesday that visitors traveling there from some other states, including Arkansas, must quarantine for 14 days when arriving, but Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’s not sure that strategy will be effective.
“We now have to make sure the rates continue to drop,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday at a video briefing with Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut, both fellow Democrats. “We also have to make sure the virus doesn't come on a plane again.”
What was presented as a “travel advisory” affects three adjacent Northeastern states that after time were able to check the spread of the virus this spring as New York City became a hot spot for the pandemic.
And the governors are now warily eying other states with rising caseloads, trying to keep history from repeating itself.
“This is a smart thing to do,” Murphy said. “We have taken our people, the three of us ... to hell and back. The last thing we need to do right now is subject our folks to another round.”
The states’ health departments will provide details of how the rule will work, Murphy said. Visitors to New York from affected states will be informed that they need to quarantine and that violators could face a mandatory quarantine and a fine, Cuomo said.
The quarantine is voluntary but “urgent guidance,” Lamont said at a briefing in Hartford, noting it will be enforced differently in each state. Connecticut is considering putting up signs at entry points and getting the word out via social media, The Associated Press reported.
The announcement comes as summer travel to the states’ beaches, parks and other attractions — not to mention New York City — would normally swing into high gear.
Visitors from states over a set infection rate will have to quarantine, Cuomo said. As of Wednesday, states over the threshold were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.
After Hutchinson reported Wednesday that another 697 positive cases had been added across the state over the previous 24 hours, he was asked what the governors’ announcement meant for Arkansas.
“Obviously we’ve got work to do in the state and we’re going to do the work to reduce the spread, Hutchinson said.
The list of states the three governors targeted included Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.
“We want everybody to be careful and this is really an important reminder that as you travel for summer vacation somewhere, you’ve got to be careful where you’re going, what you’re doing and what steps you take when you come back,” Hutchinson said. “It’s not just that you’re going to a different environment, but it could be someplace that they’re not as careful in protecting against the spread.”
Arkansas had put a similar restriction on travelers from places like New Jersey and New York this spring. Those restrictions were lifted because the numbers in those states had begun dropping.
Still, he said, states where there are a growing number of cases represent a large part of the national economy.
“I don’t know that’s effective to say we’re going to start isolating the different states,” Hutchinson said.