NJ governor issues statement on CDC travel advisory for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued a statement late Saturday night in response to the Centers for Disease Control’s domestic travel advisory warning for the tri-state area after President Donald Trump decided against a quarantine he had considered earlier in the day.

The CDC is urging residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective Saturday night. The domestic travel advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including trucking, public health, financial services, and food suppliers. “The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this domestic travel advisory,” reads the CDC statement.

Murphy said that troughout the day Saturday, he was in constant communication with the White House, including discussions with the president and vice president, who briefed him on the CDC travel advisory.

“To be clear, this non-binding advisory guidance does not change the rules that have been established and in place for over a week now under Executive Order 107,” Murphy said. “If you have been working as part of our frontline response effort, from health care workers to supermarket workers, we still need you on the job.”

There is no curfew in New Jersey, and residents who leave their homes will not be arrested or charged, contrary to rumors. Murphy’s stay-at-home order, which was issued last Saturday, bans group and large gatherings. Residents are allowed to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential businesses and to work if they are essential employees. When residents are in public, they are supposed to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

“I encourage all New Jerseyans to continue practicing aggressive social distancing and take personal responsibility to help us get through this public health emergency,” Murphy said.

Earlier in the day, Trump said he was considering a short-term quarantine of “hot spots” in parts of the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

In a series of tweets posted by Trump Saturday night, he said after consultation with members of his administration and local leaders, a travel advisory, not an “enforced quarantine” would be the proper measure to take in the region. 

Earlier today at his daily press briefing, Trump broached the idea of a quarantine.

“We’re thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot. We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks on New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut,” Trump said. “I’d rather not do it, but we may need it.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo compared the president’s suggestion that he was considering a quarantine on the New York region to “a declaration of war on states.”

“I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine,” Cuomo said during a press conference Saturday afternoon. “I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. I don’t even like the sound of it.”

Governors, not the federal government, have the broadest quarantine and isolation authority. The U.S. Constitution leaves that kind of police power in the hands of the states.