Visitors to New York City could face up to $10,000 in fines if they choose to ignore the 14-day quarantine order, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Wednesday.
Travelers from 35 high-risk states and Puerto Rico must quarantine for 14 days when they reach New York City, and de Blasio is determined to enforce the requirement. During Wednesday’s press briefing, the mayor announced intensifying measures meant to discourage visitors from flouting the order.
Random checkpoints at NYC bridge and tunnel crossings will serve as the first deterrent. “The only way to have an effective checkpoint is having a random component to it,” New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito said at the briefing. “Let’s say it’s every six vehicles or every eight vehicles.”
Those caught outside of quarantine within 14 days of arrival could face fines up to $10,000. Even so, de Blasio maintained that the idea is to prevent, rather than punish. “The idea is we don’t want to penalize people,” de Blasio he said. “We want to educate them, we want to make sure they’re following the rules.”
Additionally, NYC’s head of the “Test and Trace Corps,” Ted Long announced that agents would be deployed to Penn Station, in order to make sure new arrivals are in compliance.
Visitors to the city will also receive phone calls to check in. Those who fail to do so may be subject to a raid. “If we can’t get through to you on the phone, we’ve now deployed teams to knock on your door and check in on you to make sure you’re safe,” Long said.
De Blasio sees this as a strong first step, but allowed for the possibility of introducing wider and harsher measures in the future. “Having people see that these checkpoints are starting to happen around the city is going to send a powerful message,” he said. “If we think it’s an important tool … we might keep expanding it.”
Shortly after the announcement, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed that, despite their role in policing the crossings, they were not informed of the plan. A spokeswoman for City Hall told the New York Post that “most” of the checkpoints wouldn’t be on Port Authority property but “at roadways coming into the City before or after bridges and tunnels.”