This weekend was a grim time for the nation’s struggle against the coronavirus pandemic. Thirty-nine states are seeing rising COVID infection rates, and on July 10, the country set a new record with 66,281 new cases on a single day. On July 11, Florida set a new record for an individual state, with 15,300 new cases. New York, on the other hand, has seen its numbers decrease since it began reopening. And in order to help preserve this progress, Governor Cuomo announced today that travelers coming from problematic states must provide local authorities with their contact information at all New York airports in order to enforce the previously implemented 14-day quarantine.
On June 24, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced a Tri-State travel advisory that calls for a self-imposed 14-day quarantine for states that meet certain metrics that signal dangerous rises in COVID cases. At that time, there were nine states on the list, and it has since grown to 19. There has been criticism of the plan for its lack of enforcement, and now, with no signs of the spread slowing down nationally, New York will take stricter measures.
The Department of Health’s emergency health order announced today mandates that out-of-state travelers from designated states provide local authorities with contact information upon entering New York to help enforce quarantining. At all airports across the state, these travelers must provide a location form before leaving. The airlines will hand these forms out on the plane, or they’ll be available online to be filled out electronically. Enforcement teams–or the Port Authority downstate–will be stationed at gates to meet disembarking passengers and request proof of completion of the form. For those who do not provide their contact information, they’ll receive a summons immediately with a $2,000 fine. This can also result in being brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.
The new emergency health order also mandates that travelers coming to New York from designated states through other means such as trains and cars must fill out the form online.
Governo Cuomo likened the current situation to a “fool me once” situation, referring to the fact that three million European travelers came into NYC area airports at the beginning of the pandemic with no warning, ultimately causing the virus to explode across New York. Non-compliance of the quarantine has already led to an outbreak in Rensselaer country upstate where three residents tested positive following a trip to Georgia but did not report their return.
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