NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio took a page from a popular Christmas song — “There’s no place like home for the holidays” — urging New Yorkers to stay safe during the holiday season by resisting the urge to travel.
Santa may be skipping a visit to Macy’s for the first time in 159 years, but the Rockefeller Center tree will be lit, the ball will drop in Times Square and the Menorah will be up in Central Park. All kinds of enticements to keep New Yorkers close to home during the holiday season of COVID-19.
The mayor urged New Yorkers to stay local, not bring COVID back to the city and help prevent a spike in infections.
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“It’s not business as usual. I hate to say it, but I have to urge all New Yorkers: Do not travel out of state for the holidays. Do not travel to a state with a high infection rate. Do not travel to a country with a high infection rate,” he said Tuesday.
De Blasio also urged the federal government to require anyone traveling to or from John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia Airport to have proof they tested negative within 72 hours of getting on a plane. He also wants tests available at the airports themselves.
“Why don’t we use a tool that we know works to protect people who travel and protect all of us,” he said.
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New York City tourism officials say they’re thrilled by the prospect of people staying here, as 20 million people in the Metropolitan Area could enjoy a staycation at city hotels.
But for government officials the advice to stay local is based on the fact that new cases are surging in 47 states.
“We have a real threat of a second wave here in New York City,” the mayor said.
But will New Yorkers heed the mayor’s plea?
“I agree. I think it’s dangerous,” one man told Kramer.
“You keep your wits about you, you should be able to travel,” said Upper West Side resident Diane Moore. “We fly back and forth to Minnesota all the time, and it’s safe.”
“It’s becoming a police state, man,” one person said.
“It’s been a long year, mayor. We need to get things going. I was hoping to travel. I haven’t been anywhere in eight months, trying to fly out to Arizona,” said Wendee Corsini of Washington Heights.
De Blasio often drives to New England for the holidays, but even he says he’s planning a staycation.
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