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Concerns over PA COVID-19 numbers, state meets criteria for NY's travel advisory list

Pennsylvania is not currently on the list
Posted at 8:12 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 09:13:13-04

OLEAN, N.Y. (WKBW) — The number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania now meet the criteria to be added to Governor Andrew Cuomo's travel advisory list.

According to Pennsylvania's COVID-19 dashboard, its incident rate for the past seven days is 68.1 out of 100,000. The criteria to be added to the travel advisory list is 10 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day rolling average, or testing positivity rate of 10% or higher over a 7-day rolling average.

Pennsylvania is currently not on the list, if added, travelers from the state would have to quarantine for 14-days upon arrival to New York.

In August State Senator George Borrello (R-57th District), and other Southern Tier lawmakers wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to exempt workers from PA if there was a travel advisory.

“I’m hopeful that those same considerations that were taken back then, are also heeded right now," Borrello said. "And it is a big concern for us here. Like I said, it's a large border with a lot of people that cross back and forth on a daily basis for a variety of reasons.”

Ried's Food Barn in Olean is a few miles from Pennsylvania. The grocery store had 10-15 employees who live in Pennsylvania. David Ried owns the store and said it is the closest grocery store for some who live across the border.

“For some of our customers they require us to be ready for them to buy food," Ried said. "We’d be concerned about losing that business, yes, and we’d be concerned about them losing us too.”

One of the city's largest employers, St. Bonaventure University, has 40 employees who live in Pennsylvania and said it has been preparing a plan for if Pennsylvania is added to the list.

"Just under 7% (40 employees) of the university’s workforce (599 total) lives over the border in Pennsylvania, and many of them have already been working remotely full-time throughout the pandemic," said Chief Communications Officer Tom Missel in a statement to 7 Eyewitness News. "We are working on determining which workers from Pennsylvania who work on campus are deemed essential and could continue to report to campus for work should Pennsylvania be added to the list."

Cuomo acknowledged the interconnectedness of NY and PA on a conference call Monday. He said it could be tough to place restrictions on other border states like New Jersey and Connecticut.

"I don’t, if you were to limit access to New Jersey or Connecticut I don’t know if it’s even, to what extent it would be possible to do border patrol because you don’t have airports there, etcetera, and it would also be seriously disruptive to the economy," Cuomo said. "So it is complicated and we’re working with them but we don’t have any final conclusion yet but for all practical matters you can’t do border control with New Jersey and Connecticut."

New York's travel advisory list is generally updated on Tuesdays.