De Blasio Says New York City Was Not Consulted About Upcoming Change In PolicyBy Alice Gainer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Traveling domestically? Starting next month you no longer have to quarantine once you enter New York.

Tourism officials are excited about this, believing it will be a boost to struggling businesses, but Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo never consulted the city about the decision and is concerned, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.

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COVID VACCINE

Beginning April 1, if you’re traveling to New York from another state or U.S. territory, you’re no longer required to quarantine, though it is still advised as an added precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

You will still have to fill out a traveler health form when you get here, and a mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers.

“I believe in local control,” de Blasio said.

The mayor and the city’s health officials expressed concern about lifting the domestic quarantine requirement.

“We now have 51% of the cases in the city due to new strains of this virus that are more infectious, so we do feel really strongly it’s important for us to be as cautious as we possibly can and we know that one of the ways to reduce infection is to limit the amount of travel that is going in and out of the city,” said Dr. Jay Varma, the city’s senior advisor for public health.

“Especially with the variants, we want to limit how they move through our country and that, therefore, having people be going without any quarantine is worrisome to me,” added Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals.

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People are still being told to wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Meanwhile, tourism officials believe lifting the restriction will help bring visitors back in.

“Domestic travel is just so crucial to tourism. It represents about 80% of all of our visitor volume,” NYC & Company’s Christopher Heywood said.

“Right now, we see about 50% of our businesses open and 50% closed,” said Tom Harris, acting president of the Times Square Alliance. “As far as the hotels in Times Square go, about half of them are open and we’re seeing the occupancy at low levels.”

Harris said the numbers are slowly increasing and with the combination of more vaccinations and restrictions being lifted, his organization expects a lot more.

“Our pedestrian counts the last couple of days have been over 100,000, which is very encouraging,” Harris said.

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Connecticut will end its travel advisory next week. New Jersey hasn’t yet made any announcement about its plans.

Alice Gainer