New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that checkpoints will be set up at major entrances to the city to screen for out-of-state travelers who may be violating quarantine rules.
Currently, travelers from 35 states and Puerto Rico are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York. Anyone flying into the state must fill out a form stating their destination or face a $2,000 fine.
The checkpoints in New York City will be established at major bridge and tunnel crossings and randomly screen travelers. Quarantine violators will be fined up to $10,000.
“The idea is we don’t want to penalize people….We want to educate them, we want to make sure they’re following the rules,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “The important thing is the checkpoints are going to send a very important message that this quarantine law is serious.”
The mayor said that the city’s positive test rate for coronavirus patients has remained under 3 percent for two months, but that one out of five new cases are traceable to travelers from other states.
New York City was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with over 23,000 deaths and 231,000 people infected, around 2.5 percent of the city’s population. While much of the city has reopened after a strict lockdown, city officials have declined to allow indoor dining, gyms, or other activities taking place in an enclosed space to reopen fully.
“We’re not ready on indoor dining, we’re not ready on gyms, we’re not ready on malls,” de Blasio said.