Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order on Tuesday requiring that all hotels and short-term rentals have guests arriving from states with high numbers of coronavirus cases sign a two-week quarantine form before giving them access to rooms.
The order comes two weeks after the New York City Sheriff’s Office set up check-points at bridges, tunnels and transportation hubs like Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal to educate travelers entering the city on the state’s mandatory quarantine from “restricted state.” Officials were particularly concerned about recent spikes in cases in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
In June, Governor Andrew Cuomo restricted travel from a handful of states with coronavirus infection rates higher than 10% to prevent further spreading of the virus in New York state. Now, visitors and native-New Yorkers arriving from 30 states and Puerto Rico are required to fill out questionnaires on their travel, provide contact information and quarantine for 14-days.
But the travelers are not properly isolating themselves, the mayor said. De Blasio warned New Yorkers that failure to comply with the two-week-long quarantine is a Class B misdemeanor. Those traveling into the city by car who are caught breaking the quarantine could face fines of up to $10,000 and travelers arriving in airports who fail to fill out the quarantine form could be charged $2,000.
Although the city infection rate remains low, on Tuesday City Hall reported that 1.56% of New Yorkers had tested positive for the virus, the risk of a resurgence is still real. The mayor added that the Sherriff’s Office will double-down on its efforts to enforce the quarantine mandate and registration.
New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito warned that in addition to fines and penalties quarantine defiers could be subject to “civil commitment” or being forced into quarantine.
“Please place a stranger’s needs before your own desires,” said Fucito who joined the mayor for his daily press conference on Tuesday.
Between 15 and 20% of all coronavirus cases in the city since March have occurred in someone who traveled outside of New York City, according to the mayor’s senior health advisor Dr. Jay Varma.