Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday he is mandating a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone traveling to his state from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the city of New Orleans.
The executive order — which marks just the latest clampdown on domestic travel amid the novel coronavirus pandemic — applies only to those who arrive in Texas by plane and will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Abbott said the move is “intended simply to achieve the goals” circulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House to slow the outbreak.
Travelers from the designated areas will be asked to provide officials with quarantine locations, Abbott said adding that the Texas Department of Public Safety will visits the designated locations to verify compliance.
The governor said those under order cannot have any visitors besides health care providers and that failure to comply will be considered a criminal offense punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, 180 days in jail or both.
His order reflects a growing concern among state leaders about travelers coming from the New York tri-state area, and more recently New Orleans, where the outbreak has surged.
Earlier Thursday, Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo had issued a similar mandate for anyone traveling to her state from New York. That executive order — effective immediately — also applies to anyone who has traveled to New York in the last 14 days.
“This is unusual,” Raimondo said of the plan to execute the mandate. “This is radical.” She said the state has added 33 cases of the virus since Wednesday, bringing its total to 165.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar executive order earlier this week mandating a 14-day self-quarantine or isolation period for travelers coming to Florida from airports in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Explaining the move at a news conference Monday, DeSantis, a Republican, said, “Today there’s over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to the state of Florida, and I would reckon, given the outbreak there, that every single flight has somebody on it who’s positive for Covid-19.”
Earlier this week, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, urged anyone who has recently left New York to self-quarantine for 14 days in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
“To everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York,” Birx said.
“No matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida or North Carolina or out to the far reaches of Long Island,” she added.
This story and its headline have been updated with news out of Texas.