NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you’re traveling into New York City by car, bus or train, prepare to be stopped and asked if you’ve been to a coronavirus hotspot.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new step the city is taking to enforce the state’s mandatory quarantine, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.

Starting immediately, expect checkpoints at tunnels and bridges.

“If you come here, you must quarantine. It is not optional,” de Blasio said. “The important thing is the checkpoint will send very powerful message, that this quarantine law is serious, and important, and crucial, and people have to follow it.  So even if we’re not able to reach every single person at the checkpoint, I think it’s important to get the message across.”

MORE: Check The Tri-State Coronavirus Travel Advisory List

That means New York City Sheriff officers will pull over cars at places like the Lincoln Tunnel and George Washington Bridge, and city contact tracers will greet arriving travelers at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and New York Penn Station.

Travelers from states with high coronavirus infection rates will be required to fill out forms and quarantine for two weeks.

“I’m not crazy about the idea of just randomly stopping people like that without probable cause,” a Philadelphia resident named Kevin said.

Another man told Rozner he has no problem with the new requirement.

New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito said deputies will be mobile and located at random entry points, for undetermined amounts of time, and added license plate readers will determine, for instance, every sixth car entering to be stopped.

“The courts have looked at checkpoints for public safety reasons, for regulatory reasons, and that seems to be the standard they’re looking for to avoid discrimination,” Fucito said.

So, those with New York or New Jersey plates can be pulled over, as it’s possible passengers may be returning returned from vacations to hotspot states.

“That’s not a good idea because people have to travel from work. They are going back and forth every day,” Brooklyn resident David Tobias said. “That’s going to (make) people very inconvenienced. It could cause tremendous traffic jams.”

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Travelers arriving at Penn Station told Rozner there were no announcements about the requirement to quarantine. One woman she spoke to had just gotten in on AMTRAK from Florida.

“I haven’t had that experience yet with nobody with the paper,” said Patricia Rochards of New Paltz.

Anyone who violates the quarantine faces thousands of dollars in fines, Rozner reported.

The city said hotels, airlines, and other transit companies will require the travel form to be filled out because one-fifth of all new cases are travelers coming from hotspot states.

“Hotels look to comply with all regulations and laws including the newly introduced and widespread quarantine requirements. That said, New York City remains cut off from the rest of the United States and the world with blanket restrictions unlike what our counterparts in Europe are seeing,” said Vijay Dandapani, president & CEO of Hotel Association of New York City. “High capital cost businesses like hotels which are part of essential infrastructure that is privately paid for cannot withstand indefinite isolation without long term irreversible losses to the industry.  The hotel industry in New York City employed 55,000 people and paid over $3bn in taxes to NYC. Today there are less than 5,000 employed.”

Comments
  1. Jim Bennett says:

    I guess its time for truck drivers to stop going to NYC….no deliveries until the stupidness ends

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