TRENTON, N.J. – Governor Phil Murphy expanded New Jersey’s self-quarantine “advisory” on Tuesday, instructing residents from 22 states to essentially shelter-in-place for all non-essential reasons for a period of two weeks when visiting the Garden State.
“We must remain vigilant and committed to our collective effort of beating COVID-19 and reducing the rate of transmission throughout New Jersey,” said Murphy in a statement. “In order to continue moving forward with New Jersey’s restart and recovery process, I strongly urge individuals arriving from these 22 states to self-quarantine and proactively get a COVID-19 test to prevent hotspots from flaring up across our state.”
The advisory now includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Delaware got dropped so congratulations to our neighbor the Small Wonder.
“Advisory” is the key word; the self-quarantine isn’t being enforced with criminal charges, fines and potential imprisonment like other COVID-19 social distancing transgressions (like not wearing a mask in a store or hosting a large indoor party).
Interstate travel is extremely difficult to restrict pursuant to U.S. constitutional legal tradition.
For the purposes of this case, we need not identify the source of [the right to travel] in the text of the Constitution,” the U.S. Supreme Court held in a seminal 1999 ruling. “The right of ‘free ingress and regress to and from’ neighboring states which was expressly mentioned in the text of the Article of Confederation, may simply have been ‘conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created.
That’s not to say New Jersey and New York aren’t trying to push the envelope. For example, new arrivals at New York airports are reportedly being prompted to fill out a health survey and, if they don’t comply, face a fine. Murphy hasn’t ruled out doing the same.