Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has decided not to add Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to New York’s travel advisory list even though the COVID-19 rates in the three neighboring states are high enough to place them on the list.

During a media briefing on Tuesday, Cuomo said it would have been too problematic to add the three border states to the list.

“Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, you don’t fly in. You drive in through hundreds of different routes. Right?” he said. “There are a number of ways to come in from Pennsylvania and Connecticut and New Jersey... You have people going back and forth for work. You have trucks coming in that are bringing basic staples all day long. It would be highly problematic, and it would be really devastating for the economy.”

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Each of the three states had seven-day rolling averages of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents that were greater than 10, which meets New York’s criteria for adding states to the advisory. States are added and removed from the list every Tuesday. New York placed Maryland and Arizona on the list Tuesday. 

Cuomo said he urges residents to avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel between the three border states.

Rep. Tom Reed, who represents the Greater Olean in Congress (23rd  district), released the following statement Tuesday morning:

"We are concerned about the governor imposing radically inconsistent criteria for shutdowns between Upstate and Downstate. For months, we've been told the governor wants to follow the data and the science. Now, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have all hit the same metrics, yet everyone is wondering if Pennsylvania will be the only neighbor that gets hit with restrictions. Is that a coincidence?

“Any hypocrisy from the governor's office on this shows these travel restrictions aren't about saving lives. If he did care about the families and essential businesses of Western New York as much as New York City, he would not devastate the region by selectively implementing unfair shutdowns. Are we really going to prevent those frontline workers who live in Pennsylvania but are employed by our hospitals, nursing homes, child care facilities, and manufacturers from doing their job?

“We're monitoring the situation closely by communicating regularly with our outstanding leaders on the front lines -- from Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel to Tioga County Chairwoman Marty Sauerbrey to ensure the voices and needs of all of Western New York are heard. We'll continue to work together to contain any COVID outbreaks and provide the community with additional testing resources so our communities can remain open."

Note: TAPinto Greater Olean reached out to Reed’s office after the neighboring states were not added to the list. A spokesman told TAPinto Greater Olean “I think our statement still captures our reaction with regards to the economic importance of cross-border traffic and the role those folks play in our communities.”

Sen. George Borrello, who represents the Greater Olean area in the state Senate (District 57), told TAPinto Greater Olean in an email:

“I was glad to hear the governor acknowledge that the interconnected nature of our regions would make any type of quarantine impractical and impose unnecessary hardships on our citizens, businesses and local economies. Several of my colleagues and I advocated for this type of approach in August, as we anticipated this scenario might occur. Our regional economies are still fragile and working to recover; any type of quarantine could be potentially devastating.

“With cases rising in these border states, we urge individuals traveling here to adhere to recommended safety protocols, just as we do our own residents. We need to keep people safe while also ensuring that we can continue moving forward.”

St. Bonaventure University sent a notice to the campus community via email Tuesday afternoon:

"Commuter students and employees from Pennsylvania are allowed to continue coming to campus, but are discouraged from coming to New York for any other reasons other than school or work."

SBU Chief Communications Officer Tom Missel said the university encourages Pennsylvania employees and students to restrict their travels to coming to campus for work or class and to stay in Pennsylvania otherwise.

"But in total, the decision to leave Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey off the list, even though they qualify to be on it, resulted in very little impact for us," Missel said.

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