As coronavirus cases balloon across the country, New York City is on high-alert for another surge.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that law enforcement would be checking for travelers driving in from states with a high number of cases at entry points like Holland Tunnel, starting Thursday.
He said that at these checkpoints, officers would be giving information about the required 14-day quarantine and telling travelers that there's "serious penalties" if it's not done.
Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city's Test and Trace Corps, said on Wednesday that one-fifth of confirmed infections in NYC have been linked to someone outside of the state.
"New York City is holding the line against COVID-19, and New Yorkers have shown tremendous discipline," the mayor said. "We’re not going to let our hard work slip away and will continue to do everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy."
This measure is the newest initiative to keep New York's numbers low—last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that air travelers must fill out a New York State Department of Health travel form with itinerary and personal contact information. Failure to do so results in a $2,000 fine.
So before you return to New York City from a trip away or commute to work in the city, here's what you need to know:
Where will travelers be stopped?
Penn Station and outside major bridge and tunnel crossings, like Lincoln and Holland tunnels for example, however, the city and law enforcement won't announce ahead of time where it will be setting up checkpoints so travelers can't evade them, according to The New York Times.
Will everyone be stopped?
No. Law enforcement will stop cars randomly and not merely based on out-of-state license plates, The Times says.
What states are under the quarantine requirement?
What information will be taken?
Travelers who have visited 35 designated states and territories with high transmission rates must complete the New York State Department of Health traveler form, which asks for a full name, birthday, gender, contact information, date of arrival, where they traveled from, the address they're headed to, if it is their primary residence, the duration of their stay if it's not, and if and when they've been in a state with "significant community spread." They will also be asked about any symptoms they might be experiencing.
What constitutes a quarantine?
If you're a non-essential worker, you have to stay at your home or in a hotel room for 14 days, leaving only for essential medical appointments or treatment or to get food and other essential goods when you can't get it delivered. You also cannot have people in to visit you, other than a caregiver. You must also self-monitor for symptoms.
Essential workers must self-monitor for symptoms, limit their activities with other people for 14 days, and if staying in New York longer than 36 hours, must get diagnostic testing within 24 hours.
The city's Test and Trace Corps will give these travelers a call to remind them of the requirement and offer help like free food delivery or a hotel stay to make it happen.
What agency will be IDing people?
The city's Department of Finance's Sheriff's office will be conducting stops.
"As Sheriff, I understand the absolute serious nature of this pandemic as well as this decided course of action. The entire team will strive to ensure the deployment balances the critical public health and welfare needs of the residents of the city with the legal protections entitled to all people," Sheriff Joseph Fucito said in a statement.
How will it be enforced?
If you don't quarantine, you're breaking state law and will be slapped with a $10,000 fine. And if you don't fill out the travel form, you would get a $2,000 fine.
If you're wondering how the city and state will find out if you're not quarantining, it's still not clear.
On Wednesday, the mayor said sending out a powerful message would "make it clear to people that there are consequences."
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