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Connecticut plans to change travel advisory rules, so fewer states meet threshold for restrictions

Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday announced that the state of Connecticut will soon modify the rules of its travel advisory so that fewer states and territories qualify for the list.

Currently, Connecticut adds a state or territory to the travel advisory list if it averages 10 new daily cases per 100,000 residents or a positive test rest of more than 10% over a seven-day period.

But soon, those rules will shift so that the travel restrictions will only apply to areas with the same threshold of new daily cases, plus a positive test rest of more than 5% over a seven-day period.

That is, states and territories must meet both criteria in order to be placed on the list. Once added to the list, travelers arriving in Connecticut from the hotspot areas are require to either test negative for COVID-19 or self-quarantine for 14 days.

On Monday, Lamont said the rules haven’t actually been changed yet and are under discussion with New Jersey and New York. The three states have collaborated on their travel advisories since June. Lamont said he expects the rules will go into effect “probably in the next day or two.”

As with the existing rules, the restrictions will still apply to anyone who was out-of-state for more than 24 hours and who plans to be in-state for more than 24 hours. The restrictions apply to travel of any form — including by plane, car and train — although the state has so far mostly focused on airline travel.

Until the change goes into effect, Connecticut appears to qualify for its own travel advisory, as cases spike in the state and across much of the country. After the change goes into effect, Connecticut will no longer meet the criteria for its own advisory.

But as COVID-19 has surged across the country, including in some Northeast states, the number of states that qualify for the list has ballooned. Last week, on Oct. 13, the tri-state travel advisory included 36 states and two territories.

The number of restricted states prompted Lamont to say he would “rethink” the advisory, although he also said the advisory had been a helpful tool.

“Right now it applies to just about everybody except tor those of us in the Northeast, and our numbers are ramping up,” Lamont said last week.

The advisory “was becoming unenforceable,” Lamont said Monday.

Last week, Lamont floated the idea of scrapping the thresholds for hotspot states entirely, and instead requiring all travelers to self-quarantine or test negative.

But after publicly suggesting that more significant change, Lamont said Monday that he’d been convinced to go with a less severe change because he still wants restrictions that apply specifically to areas where the virus is spiking.

Emily Brindley can be reached at [email protected]

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©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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