Cuomo clears NY schools to open

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a pandemic briefing May 23 at the Executive Mansion in Albany. New York’s quarantine mandate for out-of-state travelers was expanded to 31 states Tuesday. Mike Groll/Office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo

NEW YORK — Travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in New York from states with high coronavirus transmission and positive testing rates, officials said, otherwise they will be subject to fines or other penalties.

As a COVID-19 surge sweeps through more than 20 states and Puerto Rico, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY; Gov. Phil Murphy, D-NJ; and Gov. Ned Lamont, D-Conn., implemented a tri-state order mandating a two-week self-quarantine for travelers who fly or arrive in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut from states with more than a 10% positive coronavirus test rate over a seven-day average.

The advisory goes into effect at midnight Thursday.

“It’s just common sense,” Cuomo said during a pandemic briefing Wednesday in his Manhattan office. “If you’re in a place that has a high infection rate, we don’t want to see the infection rate increase here.”

The policy is uniform across the three states, but each state is responsible for enforcing the policy.

The quarantine is an advisory, the governor said, and will be enforced through local officials and people travelers may interact with, such as hotel clerks. Airlines, airports and related businesses will be informed about the quarantine.

Cuomo suggested an example where a police officer stops a Florida vehicle and inquires about the passengers’ required quarantine. People who violate the advisory will be subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine, where a state Health Department official checks a residence or dwelling once per day to ensure a person has remained separated from the public.

Violators may be fined $2,000 for the first violation, and $10,000 if they caused harm by violating the quarantine.

“Violators may have to pay the costs of quarantine,” Cuomo said, adding while officials will enforce the order, travelers will be trusted to self-quarantine.

“Quarantine doesn’t stop people,” the governor added. “It’s not that you have ever prohibited someone from entering the state. That is a blockade. That is what the federal government threatened to do to us at one point [at the pandemic’s start in March]. That would start a civil war.”

Check back for more on this developing story.

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