In a letter addressed to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) called on the state to “explore alternatives” to New York’s two-week quarantine that the Governor imposed on the state last month.
The order, which was signed by Governor Cuomo on Sept. 28, required any New York resident returning from certain states or a CDC Level 2 or Level 3 health notice country to quarantine for 14-days because of concerns over COVID-19 infections.
According to ASTA, the order is harming the state’s 15,000 member travel agency community by forcing consumers to effectively turn a one week vacation to countries like Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic into a “three-week ordeal,” ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said.
“This transforms a hypothetical weeklong vacation into a three-week ordeal, and serves as a strong disincentive for New Yorkers to undertake any international travel—at the worst possible time for our members’ businesses,” Kerby said in the letter.
ASTA said the order is yet another obstacle in the industry’s way of returning to any kind of normalcy or profitability. The countries that are not on the CDC’s Level 2 or 3 travel list—31 in total—are not the destinations visited by U.S. travelers in large numbers, ASTA said.
ASTA is hoping to work with New York to develop other solutions. The letter asks Governor Cuomo to consider other protocols—for instance, “exempting those who test negative from the quarantine requirement, as several other states have done, including Connecticut, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.”
“While shortages in the availability of rapid testing could present a challenge to this approach, it is far preferable to a mandatory, across-the-board and difficult to enforce two-week quarantine.”