New York City hotels must now force any guests to complete forms and quarantine if they have traveled from a COVID-19 hotspot, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
In yet another step that will hurt the industry, de Blasio said staff in hotels – where he has placed 13,000 homeless people in recent months – will not be able to show guests their rooms until they have filled the forms out.
The forms are the same ones being given out at the ‘checkpoints’ he set up across the city to try to trace people coming from other states where the virus is on the rise.
Many have gotten around it purely because no one has collected the forms from them at the bus and train stations where they have been given out.
Now, de Blasio is forcing the hotels to make people complete them and force them to quarantine if they’ve come from one of the dozens of states on Cuomo’s list of hotspots.
He signed an executive order on Tuesday to make it the law that the hotels comply. It’s unclear what will happen to them if they do not.
Anyone who is caught not quarantining after arriving in New York from one of the hospot states faces fines of up to $10,000 and a Class B misdemeanor.
Tourism in New York City has evaporated since March, when it was the epicenter of the pandemic.
Now, most people are fleeing New York City rather than trying to stay let alone take vacations in hotels.
But it’s unclear how long de Blasio’s executive order will last.
It means when hotels can eventually welcome guess back, it will be down to them to enforce the tracing program he has spoken so passionately about for months.
The states that are currently on the hotspot list Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland , Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Virgin Islands and Wisconsin.
Over the last few months, New York City hotels have only been able to make money from selling food in their restaurants – either on an outdoor basis or take-out – and by renting rooms to the city who have been putting homeless people in them.
On Monday, after widespread criticism from residents and officials, de Blasio said he was going to start moving the 13,000 who had been placed in them out again.