NY airports to enforce quarantine for travelers from COVID hot spots

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A woman wearing a mask waits for the Airtrain at Terminal 5 of John F. Kennedy Airport amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on May 13, 2020 in Queens, New York. - JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

NEW YORK — People coming into New York’s airports from 19 states where coronavirus cases are rapidly rising will be met by “peace officers” upon arrival, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The potentially infectious travelers will be required to fill out a state Department of Health form that provides information on where they are coming from, going to, how to contact them — as well as a guarantee to self-quarantine for two weeks. The forms will be distributed on flights before they land, and can also be filled out electronically.

Those who decline to fill out a form will face a fine of up to $2,000, officials said.

“If you leave the airport without providing the information, you will receive a summons immediately,” Cuomo said at a news conference. “If you leave the airport without filling out the information, not only can you have a $2,000 fine, you can then be brought to a hearing and be ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.”

The order goes into effect Tuesday and will be enforced at JFK and LaGuardia airports by DOH officials with the help of Port Authority police officers. Upstate and regional airports with flights arriving from the hot spots will use their own local authorities to enforce the new rule, Cuomo said.

As of Monday, roughly 120 flights from the 19 states outlined in Cuomo’s list come into New York City’s two major airports each day, officials said.

Travelers into Newark International Airport — which is also managed by the Port Authority and is less than an hour away from New York City — will not be forced to fill out a form.

Monday’s announcement expands on an executive order Cuomo issued on June 24, which required travelers from nine states to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry to New York. Ten more states have been added to the list, including California, Nevada, Iowa and Delaware.

The June order included fines of up to $10,000 if a person enters the state and “causes harm” by spreading the virus.

More states will be added to the list if they have a COVID-19 “positive rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average,” according to the governor’s latest order.

“We can’t be in a situation where we have people coming from other states in the country bringing the virus again,” said Cuomo. “Look at the infection rate. New York’s numbers have declined, while the nation is going up.”


©2020 New York Daily News