New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the most stringent testing requirement of any US state, which will kick in shortly.
New York’s previous 14-day quarantine policy
First for some context, in June New York rolled out a mandatory 14-day quarantine for those arriving from select states. The idea was that those arriving from states with higher infection rates would need to quarantine, and there was no option to “test out” of quarantine.
The states on this list were constantly changing, which has made travel to New York very difficult… which was probably the goal.
New York’s new coronavirus testing & quarantine policy
New York is introducing a new coronavirus testing policy for travelers. Going forward a 14-day quarantine will be required for anyone arriving from out of state, and there will be an option to “test out” of the quarantine:
- This policy will take effect on Wednesday, November 4, 2020
- Travel from Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, won’t be subjected to this rule
- This doesn’t apply to those simply connecting at an airport in New York
- Essential workers will be exempt from this policy
- This applies whether you’re a visitor to New York, or a New Yorker returning home
For those who were out of state for more than 24 hours:
- A COVID-19 test is required in the three days prior to your travel to New York
- Upon arrival in New York, travelers must quarantine for at least three days
- On the fourth day of the quarantine, the traveler must get a second COVID-19 test
- Once the second result comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine
For those who were out of state for less than 24 hours:
- No COVID-19 test is required prior to your travel to New York
- No quarantine is required
- However, a COVID-19 test needs to be taken four days after arrival in New York
As Governor Cuomo describes these new restrictions:
“The ship of State is sailing well: New York is the third lowest positivity rate in the nation and New Yorkers should be very proud of what they’re doing. However, travel has become an issue – the rest of the states pose a threat. We’re going to a new plan given the changing facts, and the experts suggest we shift to a testing policy. So there will be no quarantine list; there will be one rule that applies across the country. We bent the curve of this virus by following the data and the science, and we are continuing that approach with these new guidelines.”
My take on New York’s travel restrictions
I have a few thoughts here:
- First of all, by all accounts New York has done an incredible job managing the pandemic in recent months, so overall the government’s plan is working
- It’s nice that at last there’s an option to skip a full 14-day quarantine with testing, and double testing four to seven days apart seems like it should be pretty comprehensive in catching most potential infections
- New York’s goal has clearly been to discourage travel as much as possible, and this policy continues to reinforce that
That being said, here’s the part I don’t get — the 14-day quarantine has more or less been unenforced, and the government will be taking the same approach to enforcement with the new policy.
If I had a dollar for every person I’ve seen blatantly skip New York’s 14-day quarantine on social media, I’d have, well… a lot of dollars. And those are just the people who are public about skipping the quarantine, and doesn’t account for (presumably) an even larger number of people who are doing so quietly.
I can’t help but wonder how many people will actually comply with the new rules. What percent of people are going to get tested twice, and quarantine for at least four days (and in most cases much longer than that, since you have to wait for the results to come back)?
I’d guess a majority of the success with New York’s current travel restrictions comes in the form of causing people to think twice about traveling, rather than actually stopping the spread for those who have traveled.
New York will be adding a quarantine requirement for travelers from all non-neighboring states. With this, travelers will need to get tested before traveling to New York, quarantine for at least three days, and then get tested again. Alternatively, travelers can undergo a 14-day quarantine.
New York has done a great job managing coronavirus, though the state’s approach to travel in particular has confused me a bit, as these restrictions have been ignored on a pretty widespread basis.
Do you think New York has the right approach to travel restrictions? Am I the only one who has noticed a countless number of people obviously skipping the New York quarantine requirement?