Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Wednesday that the state will begin requiring out-of-state travelers coming from hard-hit states to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, a move that punctuated a stark shift in the course of the nation’s outbreak.
The restrictions will be based on specific health metrics related to the virus, he said at a news conference. The quarantine would apply to travelers arriving from a state, as well as New Yorkers returning from a state, where there was either a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or a state with a 10 percent or higher rate over a seven-day rolling average.
“A lot of people come into this region and they could literally bring the infection with them,” he said. “It wouldn’t be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real.”
Eight states would be included, Mr. Cuomo said, when the restrictions took effect at midnight: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Washington State had originally been included, but was dropped from the list after a further review of the data.
Travelers returning to New Jersey and Connecticut from those states would also be told to quarantine; their governors appeared with Mr. Cuomo to announce a tristate “joint travel advisory.” Mr. Cuomo said that enforcement would be up to each of the three states. Officials from New Jersey and Connecticut said there was no enforcement mechanism at the moment in their states.
In New York, those violating the quarantine order could be “subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine,” he said, and fines of up to $10,000. Mr. Cuomo also said that officials would not be stopping people at state borders to forbid them to enter, but that travelers were being asked to comply once they arrived.
A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said that if a New Yorker believes that a recent arrival — or a returning neighbor — has not been abiding by the quarantine, then that person should start by reporting the possible violation to the local health department. Elsewhere in the U.S. where there are similar quarantines for travelers, there has not been widespread enforcement.