The tri-state area joined together yesterday, as officials from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut all announced that visitors from other states that are experiencing COVID outbreaks must self-quarantine for two weeks when they visit.

The official wording of the rule says that quarantine applies to

any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Right now, that applies to people from nine states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

In case you're wondering how this will be enforced...legally, it can't. Governor Murphy admitted that "Constitutionally, we’re not able to put up border checks around New Jersey. We’re asking folks to take on a big amount of personal responsibility here. Do the right thing among themselves."

I found Murphy's statement interesting, because, to be honest, my in-laws drove up from Florida last month to help us out when the baby was born. We used our best judgement; while my wife was home, I had to do all the shopping and all the errands. I was safe, I wore a mask, I showered when I got home, etc...and we made sure that before they visited, my in-laws did the same. Honestly, at the time, we were more worried about them coming here because our numbers were higher than Florida (we asked our doctor about it, and he said the same thing, that there was more risk for them than us). Now, we were trying to convince them to stay longer to keep away from the rising numbers. When they drove back, they told us they did hit a checkpoint when entering Florida, and officials asked them where they lived, where they were coming from, how long they'd been there, etc. So if Florida can set up border checks, why can't New Jersey? We know that Florida wants visitors from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to self-quarantine, and now we've turned the tables on Floridians.

This puts me personally in a kind of weird place, because next week my sister, niece, and nephew are coming to visit from Arizona. I'm already on edge when it comes to people being around my infant. We've been making family members wear a mask around her, based on recommendations from our pediatrician. I was actually talking with my sister before Governor Murphy made this announcement, and she stressed that she wouldn't be offended if we wanted her to keep away from the baby...but that's still awkward. She's my sister, it's her niece, she lives 2500 miles away, and it's a drag that she might not be able to hold the baby. She will be here for three weeks, so in theory we could get through the two-week quarantine and still have a week to hang out.

Like Murphy said, we have to take personal responsibility.  Without gross invasions of privacy, you can't really be certain that a visitor is staying in quarantine for fourteen days. Hopefully my sister can do a bit of quarantining this week, before she leaves.

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