Cops stationed at airports will enforce quarantine rules on visitors entering New York as Governor Andrew Cuomo warns that 39 US states now pose an ‘increasing threat’.
Cuomo told travelers arriving into New York that the quarantine enforcement is ‘serious’ and it marks the first time border patrol has been carried out between states.
‘Our quarantine enforcement is serious. And I want people coming into this state to know that. States have never done border patrol before, we had to scramble, it was another COVID first,’ Cuomo said at his press briefing in New York City Thursday.
‘We have police at airports. When you land, there is a police officer there. You have to fill out a form as to where you’re going. It is illegal to leave the airport without filling out the form.’
From July 14, enforcement teams have been stationed at airports across the state to ensure the quarantine rules are being followed by visitors arriving.
These teams are made up of State DOH peace officers and staff supported by State Police and enforcement areas have been set up with social distancing for workers to meet passengers off the planes.
All out-of-state travelers to New York are required to fill out the State Department of Health traveler form as they enter New York, which details where they are arriving from and the address of where they will quarantine.
Cuomo has warned anyone who leaves the airport without submitting a form will be slapped with a $2,000 fine and could be summoned to a hearing and ordered into a mandatory quarantine.
State officials will also use the forms to randomly track travelers and ensure they’re following quarantine restrictions.
Travelers arriving by train or car must also fill out the form online.
Visitors traveling to New York from states with a high rate of coronavirus infections must quarantine for 14 days on arrival to limit the risk of a renewed outbreak in the former virus epicenter of the world.
This forms part of a tri-state agreement with New Jersey and Connecticut in June as cases soar to worrying heights in southern states that rushed to ease lockdowns.
The rule applies to all states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
Minnesota was previously on the list but was removed under Tuesday’s update as its positivity rate has fallen below 10 percent.
Delaware and Washington state were re-added after having been removed from a previous version of the list.
The list continues to grow as infections topped a staggering four million on Thursday and more than 143,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.
Cuomo warned Thursday that 39 states now pose an ‘increasing threat’ to New York, though he did not announce the eight newest states.
He blamed the rush to reopen in some states and their lack of testing and contact tracing operations for the surge in cases across the nation.
States ‘that rushed the reopening and were not ready’ are now threatening to undo the progress made in New York, he said.
‘We do face a threat from the states that rushed the reopening and were not ready. You turn on the news you listen all day, there’s still problems in testing. States don’t have tracing operations,’ he said.
‘States have some counties opening, some counties closing, some counties have this plan, some counties have that plan.
‘They rushed the reopening, they were not ready for the reopening, or they just were not competent enough to handle the reopening because it was rushed.’
Cuomo said it was ‘undeniable’ that this poses a ‘threat’ to New York.
New York cannot operate in a ‘bubble’, Cuomo acknowledged, but reinforced that the state is ‘serious’ about its requirements for travelers.
‘We know that this virus travels. We know that. We know we are not an island in the State of New York,’ he said.
‘We know that we cannot hermetically sealed the State of New York in our own little bubble.’
He dismissed claims made by some travelers that they were unaware of the need to quarantine and said the state will follow up on the form when people leave the airport.
‘We have some people come to New York saying, “Oh I didn’t know that there was a quarantine.” I don’t know how they did not know there was a quarantine, he said.
‘There is a quarantine and we are serious about it.’
‘Upon entering New York, if you are a traveler and do not have a suitable dwelling for your 14-day quarantine period, you must find appropriate accommodations at your own cost,’ the Health Department website states.
‘If you are a NYS resident returning from travel and do not have appropriate accommodations for quarantine, please call your local health department.’
The travel rules comes as New York has driven down its daily rates of COVID-19 deaths, cases and hospitalizations after being the global virus hotspot just months earlier.
A total of 811 new cases and 13 deaths were confirmed in New York state Thursday – a far cry from its peak in April when almost 11,000 people tested positive in a single day.
In total, 25,068 people have been killed in the state and 408,866 infected.