JAMESTOWN — State Senator George Borrello has joined local and regional lawmakers in urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to exempt from quarantine Pennsylvania residents who work in New York.
Borrello joined a group of Southern Tier and Western New York lawmakers in urging Governor Cuomo to provide an exemption for workers who live in Pennsylvania but work in New York from potentially being included in the governor’s COVID-19 travel advisory that now covers more than 30 states.
Cuomo’s travel advisory applies to any person traveling to New York from states with a significant community spread of COVID-19 and requires them to quarantine for 14 days.
Borrello noted that “our regional economies are still fragile and working to recover in the wake of our months-long, mandatory shutdown. If Pennsylvania were to be added to the list of states under quarantine, it would be a terrible hit to our struggling recovery. There are thousands of Pennsylvania residents who work in communities in the Southern Tier and Western New York whose employers would be negatively impacted at a time when they can least afford it.”
In addition to Borrello, the state lawmakers who signed the letter include Senator Tom O’Mara, Senator Fred Akshar, Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, Assemblyman Chris Friend, Assemblyman Joe Giglio and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano. Together, they sent a letter to Cuomo warning that the inclusion of neighboring state workers in the required travel advisory quarantine would be devastating to local economies across the Southern Tier region.
In a letter Monday to Cuomo, lawmakers wrote, “Currently, the travel advisory is one of your administration’s primary efforts to contain the pandemic and protect the positive trajectory that New York State and our local regions have achieved in controlling its spread. While we understand the need for caution behind the advisory and its accompanying quarantine requirement, we also strongly urge you to take into full consideration the potentially severe economic consequences for regions like ours that border another state, in this case Pennsylvania, where there is a daily influx of out-of-state workers essential to our local economies.”
The letter outlines a worst-case scenario where, for example, Pennsylvania is added to the Cuomo travel advisory largely because of coronavirus spikes in large cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh while border counties remain stable.
“Consequently, we appreciate this opportunity to urge you to be pro-active on this consideration and, anticipating a worst-case scenario, immediately work to clarify this concern for employers and workers and, especially, devise protocols that will continue to accommodate across-the-border employment. In fact, we have read the recent reports that you have provided an exemption from the travel advisory/quarantine for New Jersey residents and believe that residents and workers from New York’s other border states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Vermont should be provided a similar exemption,” the legislators wrote.
The letter notes approximately 9,500 Pennsylvania residents work within the Southern Tier region and more than 6,300 residents of the Southern Tier work in Pennsylvania.
“In short, it is clear that this reality of across-the-border employment is fundamental to our local economies and regional economic success – and it must be taken into account throughout the implementation of New York State’s travel advisory,” the letter said.