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PICTURED: NYC’s COVID checkpoints set up to enforce 14-day quarantine on travelers from hotspots

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s checkpoints for travelers entering New York City from 35 COVID-19 hotspot states were launched on Wednesday night, with sheriff’s deputies spotted on bridges and tunnels to question drivers trying to get into the Big Apple.  

At a press conference on Wednesday morning, de Blasio said those who do not self-isolate for 14 days once they arrive in the city from those locations could face a $10,000 fine. He failed to explain how he would enforce the order.

Pictures taken by DailyMail.com show police officers stationed at the Goethals Bridge which connects New Jersey and Staten Island on Wednesday evening. The sheriff’s department scanned plates and pulled people over, onlookers say. 

None had shown up at Port Authority by 10am, despite de Blasio’s stern warnings on Wednesday. The bus station was meant to be manned by Department of Health staff, like train stations, but no one was there asking questions on Wednesday morning as people arrived into the city on buses. 

New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito, whose deputies will staff the stations, said there will be ‘a random element’ and every sixth or eighth car on a bridge might be checked. 

But it remains unclear what exactly will be done afterwards to ensure that anyone from one of the hotspot states is in fact quarantining. 

The 35 states on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandatory quarantine list are; Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.   

The form has up until now only been forced on people on planes. It does not ask for an address if the person’s final destination is not New York, and some travelers have anecdotally reported giving fake information once they get off flights from hot-spot cities like Miami once they arrive.  

The tunnel and bridge checkpoints will be manned by members of the sheriff’s department, but it’s unclear what exactly they will ask when they stop a car, or if they will go beyond the questionnaire.

The questionnaire asks eight questions, including whether or not a person has been in one of the COVID-19 hotspot states recently. 

It asks how the traveler is arriving in New York, giving a multiple choice answer, and for their flight details – including their seat number – if they’ve come by plane. 

Crucially, when traveling by car, it asks if New York State is the traveler’s final destination. 

If the traveler answers that it is not, they are not required to give an address. 

If they answer that it is, they are.  

It’s unclear how that address will be checked when the person fills out the form and hands it back to law enforcement. 

When completing it online, a person can enter false information to reach the end and be given a clearance that they do not need to quarantine. 

It tells them to show that declaration to a compliance officer if asked.   

Sheriff Joseph Fucito said the checks would be random, with every sixth or eight car being checked at tunnels and bridges. 

Thirty-four states plus Puerto Rico are on New York state’s quarantine list because of high rates of coronavirus infection. The random check system de Blasio described is similar to what is already in place at airports.

Some privacy advocates criticized the plan. ‘This is a ludicrous, invasive, and deeply dangerous plan,’ Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said in a statement.

‘Rather than addressing the city’s backlog in testing capacity and struggling contact tracing program, the mayor is transforming this pandemic into a policing issue.’

Coronavirus infections have eased since the pandemic’s peak in the state in April, but new infections continue to occur daily. New York City has yet to go a day without a coronavirus death. 

Statewide, more than 630 new infections were reported as of Tuesday, approximately the level that has persisted since early June.

More than 220,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in NYC; there have been 18,937 confirmed deaths with an additional 4,626 probable deaths.    

The quarantine form has up until now only been forced on people on planes. It does not ask for an address if the person’s final destination is not New York, and some travelers have anecdotally reported giving fake information once they get off flights from hot-spot cities like Miami once they arrive.   

It asks eight questions, including whether or not a person has been in one of the COVID-19 hotspot states recently. It asks how the traveler is arriving in New York, giving a multiple choice answer, and for their flight details – including their seat number – if they’ve come by plane. 

Crucially, when traveling by car, it asks if New York State is the traveler’s final destination. If the traveler answers that it is not, they are not required to give an address. If they answer that it is, they are. 

It’s unclear how that address will be checked when the person fills out the form and hands it back to law enforcement. 

When completing it online, a person can enter false information to reach the end and be given a clearance that they do not need to quarantine. 

It tells them to show that declaration to a compliance officer if asked. 

Sheriff Joseph Fucito said the checks would be random, with every sixth or eight car being checked at tunnels and bridges. 

Travelers at train stations, it seems, will not be contacted by police but will rather be stopped by members of the city’s tracing corps. 

On Wednesday, a member of that group said: ‘Tomorrow, we’ll be deploying our teams to stop travelers to ensure they’ve completed the form. If they haven’t we have to complete it with them right then and there. 

‘If we can’t get through to you on the phone, we’ll deploy teams to knock on your door.’ 

But it’s unclear what proof of address is required – if any.  

‘We’re not going to be in every apartment,’ de Blasio admitted on Wednesday. 

He added that the checkpoints are designed to ‘send a powerful message’.  

‘Even if we’re not able to reach every single person it’s going to get the message across,’ he said. After his announcement on Wednesday, de Blasio was with with a wave of criticism. 

Some compared New York City to ‘Nazi Germany’ and said he should focus more on the  

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