Travelers flying into New York from certain states are now required to show proof that they’ve completed a form with their contact information and travel plans before they can leave airports across the state.
Starting Tuesday, teams that include police officers will meet passengers at arrival gates to check if the travel form has been completed on paper or online, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The move is part of the state’s effort to try to enforce its 14-day quarantine requirements for travelers from 19 restricted states with rising numbers of people testing positive for the coronavirus.
“We can’t be in a situation where we have people coming from other states in the country bringing the virus again,” Cuomo said during a press conference. “It is that simple.”
Travelers who leave an airport in New York state without filling out a form could face a $2,000 fine and be required to attend a hearing and complete a mandatory quarantine.
It remains unclear, however, how the state will make sure that visitors from the restricted states who do fill out the form will follow the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement, which is part of an executive order the governor issued late last month.
Asked about the number of warnings or citations that have been issued to any visitors who do not self-quarantine for 14 days after they land in New York, Caitlin Girouard, a spokesperson for Cuomo, replied to NPR by email: “We refer all cases where a quarantine is necessary to the local health department for compliance and follow up.”
The leader of Republican lawmakers in the New York state Senate called the new requirements for air travelers put in place by the administration of the Democratic governor an “overreach of power” that “violates the civil liberties of New Yorkers and citizens across this country,” New York State Public Radio’s Karen DeWitt reports.
“This is putting an unwelcome mat at New York’s door,” New York State Sen. Rob Ortt said in a statement. “Such severe action will keep people and their dollars away, at a time when our businesses need them most.”
Despite New York’s low COVID-19 infection rate, Cuomo said he remains concerned that the state is “not a hermetically sealed bubble.”
“It came in through the airports,” the governor noted. “It will come in through the airports once again.”