A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by an Arizona woman who sued Governor Andrew Cuomo over New York’s ‘upsetting’ 14-day quarantine rule because it ‘unfairly’ stopped her from visiting Brooklyn to help her friends move home.
Cynthia Page filed a suit last month claiming Cuomo’s quarantine order was ‘the equivalent of a house arrest’ and stopped her from going sightseeing in the Big Apple with her friends.
She lost her legal fight Tuesday when US District Court Judge David Hurd tossed the suit out ruling it was not an ‘invasion’ of her ‘fundamental right to travel’.
Travelers from 33 US states are now required to quarantine for 14 days if they travel to New York.
The rules are part of measures to limit the risk of a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in the former worldwide epicenter of the virus.
Page filed an emergency suit in the Northern District of New York back in July claiming the state’s quarantine requirement for travelers from coronavirus hotspot states infringed on her ‘fundamental right to travel.’
She said she had plans to fly to New York to help her friends pack up belongings in a house they were preparing to sell in Brooklyn, but was forced to cancel the trip when Arizona was placed on the list of restricted states.
The suit claimed Cuomo’s executive order and the quarantine rules made the trip impossible and deprived her of her ‘last chance to see the sights of New York City’ with her friends – something she said ‘was and continues to be very upsetting.’
Judge Hurd dismissed the suit Tuesday, ruling that the quarantine restrictions do not violate the woman’s right to travel.
‘Far from it,’ Hurd wrote, pointing out that people from restricted states remain free to enter New York.
‘They must comply with the quarantine requirement after they arrive … any traveler who completes the quarantine remains completely free to travel freely within the state itself.’
Hurd added that there was also ‘nothing conscience-shocking’ about the restrictions as states work to bring the pandemic under control.
‘States around the country are grappling with an unfolding public health crisis,’ he wrote.
Page told the court Tuesday she would appeal against the judge’s decision.
Her lawyer, David Yerushalmi, described the ruling as ‘thoughtful but wrong.’
‘Judge Hurd has responded out of the fear of the pandemic but has ignored basic constitutional law,’ he told The New York Post.
This was at least the second time a federal judge has ruled against challenges to Cuomo’s quarantine rules.
Cuomo on Tuesday added another three regions to the list of US states and territories with high coronavirus infection rates from which travelers coming from need to quarantine if they visit New York.
Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were added to the list taking the total to 33 states and regions.
Alaska, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island have now been removed from the list after infection rates declined in the states.
‘New York went from one of the worst situations in the country, to an example for the rest of the nation to follow,’ Cuomo said Tuesday.
‘Our numbers continue to remain low and steady, which shows this virus will respond to an approach based on science, not politics.
‘In order to protect this progress, we must keep up our efforts – we cannot go back to the hell we experienced a few months ago, which is why we are adding Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands to the travel advisory.’
This forms part of a tri-state agreement with New Jersey and Connecticut made back in June to try to prevent new outbreaks of the virus in the three neighboring states as cases soared in the Sunbelt states.
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.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented checkpoints at tunnels and bridges to trace travelers coming in from the hotspot states and force them to quarantine.
De Blasio said those who do not self-isolate for 14 days once they arrive into the city could face a $10,000 fine.