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To combat surging COVID-19 cases elsewhere, Connecticut requiring quarantine for travelers from 31 states

Gov. Ned Lamont looks along the shoreline at beachgoers enjoying time at Hammonasset Beach Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Madison.
Gov. Ned Lamont looks along the shoreline at beachgoers enjoying time at Hammonasset Beach Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Madison. (Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant)

Taking new action to restrict travel from regions of the country with surging COVID-19 cases, Connecticut has added 10 more states to its travel advisory list and removed one, for a total of 31 states from which travelers are required to either test negative for coronavirus or self-quarantine for 14 days.

The growing list means that travelers from much of the country are restricted upon entry into Connecticut. The decision also raises new questions about the ability of sports teams to travel to and from Connecticut.

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As states across the country see spikes in COVID-19 cases, the number of states on the list has grown larger. Because of this, Connecticut’s advisory list is “a fast-moving target,” Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday.

“Unfortunately it’s not going down, it’s going up,” Lamont said. “I worry.”

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The state’s website says the 14-day self-quarantine “is the best option to prevent spread of disease,” but those who cannot quarantine can also enter the state by testing negative for coronavirus within 72 hours before they cross the state line.

The self-quarantine measure applies to anyone traveling into Connecticut, whether they’re entering the state by car, train or plane.

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“You go to a hot spot, you come back to this state, you either have a test that shows you tested negative or you must quarantine for 14 days,‘' Gov. Ned Lamont said at a Monday news conference when he announced the state would track all arrivals from states on its advisory list.

Although the advisory list has been in place since late June, Lamont’s Monday announcement outlined new guidelines that also require travelers to fill out an online form in order to enter the state. That form requires travelers to self-certify that they’re following the self-quarantine guidelines. Travelers who refuse to fill out the questionnaire may face a fine of up to $1,000.

Lamont said Monday that the state has “no plans” to begin issuing fines yet.

The state “wanted to make sure that people knew how seriously we are taking the quarantine,” Lamont said Tuesday.

The governor formalized the new guidelines in an executive order, which the state released late Tuesday evening. The new guidelines take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, meaning that travelers entering the state after then will be required to fill out the health questionnaire and follow the self-quarantine protocol. The questionnaire was also posted online late Tuesday evening.

With well over half the states in the U.S. now on Connecticut’s advisory list, the state is increasingly closing itself off from visitors — and, potentially, from danger.

The travel advisory aims to reduce COVID-19 spread from hot spot states, defined as places with a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day period.

In addition to the 22 states previously on the list, Connecticut has now added Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington state. Minnesota, which was on the list as of Monday, has now been removed.

The list also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Connecticut has coordinated its travel advisory with neighboring states New York and New Jersey, which also expanded their lists and stepped up enforcement in recent days.

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Lamont said the specter of a fine, and the travel advisory itself, is meant to safeguard the progress that Connecticut has made in fighting back the coronavirus.

“The numbers are all trending, blessedly, in the right direction, still,” he said Monday. The new rules are “one more way we can remind people we’re taking this seriously.”

The full travel advisory list and the health questionnaire can be found on the state’s website.

Emily Brindley can be reached at ebrindley@courant.com.

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