COVID-19 impact: Will travelers follow California's new 14-day quarantine advisory?

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KGO) -- On Friday, Governor Newsom issued a travel advisory, asking those coming into California to quarantine for 14 days and asking residents not to travel out of state during the holidays. Unlike other countries where there is a strict mandatory quarantine, the advisory is just that -- advice, with no one tracking you down.

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"We believe Californians will do the right thing," said California health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, explaining why the state is issuing a travel advisory, instead of a mandatory quarantine. It comes one day after the state surpassed one million COVID-19 cases.



At the domestic arrivals terminal at SFO, Saturday evening, we polled 12 different travelers coming into the Bay Area from all over the country, some COVID-19 hotspots -- Houston, Colorado, New Hampshire, Phoenix, to ask if they plan to follow the state's new 14-day quarantine travel advisory. We promised to hide their identity to get some honest answers.

One traveler, flat out said "no." Not because he didn't want to quarantine but because it wasn't going to be possible. He's traveling again in 5 days.

"I'm getting a test on Tuesday and if that's negative, i'll base it on that," said another traveler.

One student coming home from college said he had no idea there was a travel advisory, he didn't get notice at any of the airports. There are no signs at SFO indicating there's an advisory.

"I was not aware of that."

The final result of our informal poll of 12 travelers was encouraging: Will you follow the state's new 14-day quarantine travel advisory?

1 - NO.
1 - I DON'T KNOW.
7 - DEFINITELY YES.
3 - YES BUT... ( meaning they were generally isolating but not with any strict rules, while others were going to get test right away)

MORE: Ahead of holiday travel season, West Coast states urge 14-day quarantine for anyone entering from out of state

"There's way too much gray area for sure," said one traveler.

And not just gray area. Our poll was just a sample of 12. According to SFO officials, in November last year, more than 4 million travelers came through the airport. This year that traffic is down by about 75% but that's still a lot of people. Many public health officials are worried about California being boxed in by other states with higher COVID-19 numbers.

In a press conference last week, state health officials say if the advisory doesn't work, they'll consider enforcement.

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One common thing that seemed to be motivating the travelers we talked to, care for loved ones.

"My mom is elderly and I don't want to risk her health," said one traveler.

"I've got two kids, my husband is in the medical field, so we're going to do what we have to do to stay safe."

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