Posted Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Governor Phil Murphy has announced that residents traveling to New Jersey, whether visiting the state or returning home, from 36 states with high COVID-19 rates must self quarantine for 14 days when they enter New Jersey. That is another expansion from the original list of eight states that has gradually expanded as infections have increased around the nation.
The Governor has said that quarantining is important to “keep the curve down” in New Jersey, which has been able to reduce the number of new infections and death due to COVID-19.
To offer some guidance to Morris County residents, here are Frequently Asked Questions for travelers, as provided by the state.
Self-Quarantine for Travelers FAQ
What is the 14-day quarantine travel advisory and how will it work?
Under the 14-day quarantine travel advisory, individuals traveling to or returning to New Jersey from states with increasing rates of COVID-19 are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. This includes travel by train, bus, car, plane and any other method of transportation.The self-quarantine advisory was issued to limit the spread of the virus within our communities.
While the recommendation relies on personal accountability, state officials expect that affected individuals will follow the recommendation. Travelers arriving from areas with increasing COVID-19 cases may wish to postpone their travel to the region if they are unwilling or unable to follow the self-quarantine advisory.
How are impacted states being identified?
The 14-day quarantine travel advisory applies to travel from certain states identified as those that have a positive COVID-19 test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or have a 10 percent or higher positivity
rate over a seven-day rolling average (“impacted states.”)
Why was the travel advisory issued?
The travel advisory was issued in an effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
What does it mean to quarantine?
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Quarantined people may stay at home or another location so they don’t spread disease to healthy people. If you are quarantined and you become ill, you can seek medical treatment from a healthcare provider.
Am I expected to quarantine in a hotel? Is there somewhere I should quarantine?
Travelers and those residents who are returning from impacted states should self-quarantine at their home, or a hotel or other temporary lodging. Individuals should leave the place of self-quarantine only to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food and other essential items.
If I am from one of the impacted states, can I just get a diagnostic test and not self-quarantine?
You may choose to get a diagnostic/virus test, but you must still self-quarantine for 14 days. If you test negative, you are still advised to self-quarantine for 14 days because you remain in the incubation period. A diagnostic test is a point-in-time indicator from the date of when you were last exposed – in this case, being in a state with significant community spread of COVID-19.
If you are positive, you should self-isolate for 10 days and at least three days (or 72 hours) after any fever is resolved and any other symptoms are significantly improved. You should only leave self-isolation to receive medical care and to obtain food or other essential items.
Please consult guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding when it is advisable to return to work or normal activity following potential exposure.
What is isolation?
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
How will the self-quarantine be enforced?
The self-quarantine is voluntary, but compliance is expected. Travelers and residents returning from impacted states typically will not need to check-in with public health officials, unless otherwise they are involved in contract tracing efforts or required to do so by their employer or any other federal, state or local law or order. It is expected that individuals will follow the recommendation to self-quarantine.
I am from an impacted state and rented a shore house for a week. What should I do?
You may wish to cancel your reservation and visit at a later date. Contact your travel agent or real estate agent to inquire about any potential cancelation and/or refund. Alternatively, you may travel to NJ and stay in self-quarantine in the home; however, you are advised not to leave the home for any activities other than to seek medical care/treatment or to obtain food or other essential items. NJ hotels and home rental ervices (i.e., Air B & B, VRBO, HomeAway, etc.) should contact guests with reservations to inform them of the self-quarantine advisory.
Are there support services for individuals who are required to self-quarantine?
Contact your local health department or 211 if you need additional information about available support services for self-quarantine.
Is anyone exempt from the travel advisory?
Yes. Individuals who are traveling to New Jersey from impacted states for business are exempted from the application of the travel advisory. This, for example, would include truckers driving from an impacted state to New Jersey, and any state, local and federal officials and employees traveling in their official capacities on government business. Individuals traveling for business should still consider postponing travel to the extent possible.
Individuals are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms upon return from any travel to an impacted state, and employers should consider screening employees for symptoms before permitting them to return to work. Employees and employers should follow current CDC guidance regarding travel, available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html
Our jurisdiction hosts seasonal migrant farm workers. Will they be able to work during growing season?
Migrant workers can continue to work with precautions. Critical infrastructure workers and employers should follow guidance from CDC, as well as NJ Department of Health, regarding strategies to limit disease spread.
Does the quarantine recommendation also extend to passengers flying to New Jersey on connecting flights that stop in impacted states before arriving in New Jersey?
No. The travel advisory does not apply to any individual passing through designated states for a limited duration through the course of travel. Examples of such brief passage include but are not limited to: stopping at rest stops for vehicles, buses, and/or trains; or layovers for air travel, bus travel, or train travel.
If I live in NJ and have a household member or guest returning from an impacted state, do I and other household members who have not traveled to an impacted state also need to self-quarantine?
Out of state visitors from impacted states are encouraged to postpone travel. If it is not possible to delay travel, individuals are encouraged to self-quarantine in the home where they live or are staying in New Jersey. It is not necessary that other household members who did not travel from an impacted state self-quarantine.
If I self-quarantine pursuant to this recommendation, can I use State-mandated earned sick leave?
Possibly. The Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law permits an individual who has worked for their employer for at least 120 days, to use earned sick leave that they have accrued under law when, during a state of emergency declared by the Governor, or upon the recommendation, direction or order of a health care provider or the Commissioner of Health or other authorized public official, the employee undergoes isolation or quarantine as a result of a suspected exposure to a communicable disease and a finding by the provider or authority that the employee’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others.
Please contact your employer for more information about leave eligibility or visit https://getstarted.nj.gov/labor/.
If my family member is subject to self-quarantine pursuant to this recommendation, can I use family leave?
It depends. The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) entitles an employee to take job-protected leave from work when a health care provider or public health authority recommends that a family member in need of care by the employee voluntarily undergo self-quarantine as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease because the presence in the community of the family member in need of care by the employee would jeopardize the health of others.