New York City sets up quarantine checkpoints as it toughens state travel restrictions

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) speaks at a press conference about COVID-19.

Michael Brochstein | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

New York City is setting up quarantine checkpoints at “key entry points” along main bridges and tunnels to the city to screen travelers coming from more than 30 states with bad coronavirus outbreaks, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday. 

“Travelers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine, they will be reminded that it is required, not optional,” de Blasio said at a press briefing. “They’ll be reminded that failure to quarantine is a violation of state law and it comes with serious penalties.” The checkpoints will begin Wednesday.

Dr. Ted Long, head of New York City’s Test and Trace Corps, said that a fifth of all new coronavirus cases in New York City are from travelers. Travelers will be subject to calls, texts and visits while in quarantine, he said. 

“We want you to come into New York City, but we need you to safely separate for two weeks when you arrive to keep New York City safe,” he said. 

Long said the city will help those quarantining with free food deliveries, help with medications, telehealth services or “even a hotel stay.” 

“We know that it’s not easy to get through a two-week period of safe separation, but it’s incredibly important and were going to do everything in our power to help you,” Long said. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, alongside New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, issued the joint travel advisory in late June, ordering travelers from states with a significant Covid-19 community-wide spread to self-quarantine for 14 days. The original order applied to only nine states. 

New York had previously stationed “enforcement teams” from the the state’s Department of Health at the city’s major airports to ensure compliance with the advisory. All passengers from incoming flights from states on the advisory are required to fill out a traveler form. 

People who violate the state’s order will be subject to fines and a mandatory quarantine, Cuomo said. He said the fines will be $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second and up to $10,000 if they cause harm.

“We need to make sure that quarantine becomes stronger every day. That that law comes to life more every day” de Blasio said. 

De Blasio’s announcement comes after Cuomo has repeatedly criticized local government and law enforcement in the state for not executing his executive orders, specifically regarding the bars.

While the state has made progress suppressing its outbreak, once considered the epicenter of the nation, Cuomo modified New York City’s phase four reopening by baring restaurants from opening their indoor dining spaces as cases in other states surged. 

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