NEW YORK CITY— On Wednesday, August 5, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that certain out-of-state travelers may face a fine of up to $10,000 if they break New York City’s two-week quarantine mandate. The city will implement COVID-19 checkpoints at key entry points, which will vary daily.
Travelers from the following states are required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in New York: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
“If you come here you must quarantine. It is not optional. We do not want to fine you. We do not want to penalize you. In fact, we want to help you quarantine. But if you don’t respect our laws we will penalize you, because this is about respecting the health and safety of New Yorkers,” de Blasio said at a press briefing.
He added: “The important thing is the checkpoints are going to send a very important message that this quarantine law is serious.”
Travelers who land in New York airports are required to fill out a form, as are travelers who enter by car, train, or bus. Refusal to submit the form can result in a $2,000 fine and failure to comply with the quarantine order can result in a $10,000 civil penalty.
The checkpoints will be random but visible, as explained by New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito. The first checkpoint started Wednesday on the Staten Island side of the Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, the Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel. Another checkpoint will appear at Penn Station and Port Authority on Thursday.
Back in March, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to sue Rhode Island over its new policy of stopping vehicles with New York license plates and collecting information about New Yorkers. The National Guard would then ensure New Yorkers in Rhode Island were self-quarantining.
“I think what they did is wrong. It was reactionary. I think it was illegal, but we’ll work it out amicably, I’m sure. No state should be using police to prohibit interstate travel in any way,” said Cuomo to CNN.
Though Cuomo opposed it and deemed it to be “unconstitutional”, this exact policy is identical to what will now be done in New York.