New York City will begin establishing checkpoints at bridges and tunnels to enforce the city’s quarantine regulations for travelers coming into the city from states on New York’s travel advisory list, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a Wednesday news conference.
Currently, 34 US states and the territory of Puerto Rico are on New York’s travel advisory list for experiencing “significant community spread” of COVID-19, which the state defines as a positive test rate of higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a positive test rate higher than 10% on a seven-day average basis.
“We have to focus on people coming in from outside New York City. When you have 35 states with a problem, it couldn’t be clearer why it is so important that there are clear rules in place for folks traveling in,” de Blasio said, saying that the city “needs to make sure” New York’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for those out-of-state travelers “gets stronger every day” and that the law “comes to life.”
De Blasio said that effective immediately, the city’s sheriff’s office will create checkpoints at “key entry points” into the city, indicating that the checkpoints won’t be in the same place for the duration of the quarantine requirement, but will vary every day. The mayor’s office has not yet specified which bridges and tunnels will be included as checkpoint locations.
Joseph Fucito, New York City sheriff, said that travelers coming into the city at one of the checkpoints from a travel advisory state will fill out a contract tracing form and be reminded of both the specifics of the mandatory 14-day quarantine law and the strict penalties that can come with violating it, including up to a $10,000 fine.
De Blasio said, however, that the goal of the checkpoints was not to “penalize” individuals but to “educate” them of the rules and information.
Under the current regulations, non-essential workers are required to isolate in separate living conditions from other people and stay inside and distant from others. People under the quarantine regulation can only go in public for “essential medical appointments ” or to obtain food and other necessary supplies if they cannot get it delivered.