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No travel ban; Cuomo asks Pa. to avoid non-essential visits

Warren County residents heading across the border into New York for work or a doctor’s appointment will not be required to quarantine.

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Pennsylvania meets the criteria for his state’s travel advisory, but that he was not adding it to the list, citing a “disastrous” impact on the economy.

That’s good news for Warren County residents who work and have other pressing business there.

There are 43 states that meet New York’s travel advisory criteria. With the exceptions of three states, individuals who travel to New York from those states must quarantine for 14 days.

The list is based on community spread statistics.

“We are now in a situation where 43 states meet the criteria for our travel advisory,” Cuomo said. “This is really a bizarre outcome, considering New York once had the highest infection rate.”

“There is no practical way to quarantine New York from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut,”he said. “There are just too many interchanges, interconnections, and people who live in one place and work in the other.”

Putting them on the list “would have a disastrous effect on the economy,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “Remember, while we’re fighting this public health pandemic we’re also fighting to open up the economy.”

Due to the “interconnected nature of the region and mode of transport between us, a quarantine on these states is not practically viable,” he said.

It would have been a reversal for Warren County, which has the lowest COVID-19 rate in Pennsylvania, 59 total cases, and one new case since Thursday, while Chautauqua County reported 32 new cases on Tuesday, of which 24 were residents of two adult care facilities near Jamestown.

Warren County and Pennsylvania officials were in agreement that a ban on border crossings would not have made sense for Warren County.

“My biggest concern would be people employed in either state that travel to the other state and of course the interstate commerce between our county and our bordering neighbors,” State Rep. Kathy Rapp said.

“At its face, the travel restriction seems like another one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Warren County Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said.

Cuomo did not put the full restrictions in place, but did ask that non-essential travel be kept to a minimum.

“To the extent travel between the states is not essential, it should be avoided,” he said.

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