The U.S. Travel Association rebuked the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on Thursday for imposing a strict 14-day quarantine and threatening thousands of dollars in potential fines for individuals traveling to the region from states with a surge in coronavirus cases.
“States imposing new travel restrictions is not the direction we want to be heading for jobs and the economy,” the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement Thursday. “Medical experts have said that it should be possible for travel to gradually resume in phases as long as travelers and travel businesses embrace guidance on good health and safety practices.”
The group added: “At this stage there is no debate that people should be wearing masks, and we need that to happen so the country can get moving again and people can get back to work.”
The statement came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that they would impose a 14-day quarantine for individuals traveling from states seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.
According to the three governors, individuals who do not voluntarily quarantine and follow the restrictions would be subject to fines between $2,000 to $10,000.
The current restrictions apply to South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Washington and Utah.
The criteria for states that have a high infection rate are 10 infections per 100,000 residents on a seven-day rolling average or 10 percent of the state's total population infected on a seven-day rolling average, according to Cuomo.
"It's just common sense," Cuomo said Wednesday. "We don't want to see the infection rate increase here.”
He added: "This is a uniform policy across the three states. Each state will be responsible for the enforcement of that policy within their state.”
"The northeast region is taking this seriously," Lamont said Wednesday, noting that Connecticut will do everything it can to let visitors know they can come to the state, but must "come safely.”
"We need to do things right inside the four walls in our respective states," Murphy added. "The last thing we need to do right now is to subject our folks to another round.”
But early on in the coronavirus pandemic, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were faced with their own restrictions after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory urging against “non-essential domestic travel” in the tri-state area for 14 days as the region became the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
At the time, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said anyone traveling to her state from New York would be ordered to undergo a 14-day quarantine and could face fines or even jail time if they were found not to comply.
Cuomo, at the time, slammed the restrictions and threatened to sue, saying: “I don’t like it socially or culturally … I don’t like what it says about us as one state, one family. Also, I don’t believe it’s medically justified.”