New York City will send sheriff’s deputies to the homes or hotel rooms of all travelers coming from the United Kingdom to ensure they comply with the city’s 14-day COVID-19 quarantine requirement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. Tough New York State rules remain in effect as well, which could hamper the plans of anyone visiting the city for the holidays.
New York City’s tough new rules come with enforcement teeth compared to San Francisco’s “mandatory” 10-day quarantine rules for visitors or returning residents, which appear to be mostly suggestions meant to discourage travel without any mention of how the orders will be enforced. (Read San Francisco’s order here.)
De Blasio announced the enforcement action amid concern about a new, fast-spreading strain of the virus detected in the U.K. Airlines flying from London to New York agreed this week to test passengers before they board.
All travelers to New York, regardless of where they’re arriving from, are required to fill out forms with contact information and where they’ll be staying. They will then be sent a quarantine order by certified mail, de Blasio said.
People who fail to comply will face a fine of $1,000 per day, de Blasio said.
“We cannot take chances with anyone who travels, particularly folks traveling in from the U.K.,” de Blasio said.
Stricter rules are in place for visitors to New York City from the U.K., but travelers from outside the New York area are also subject to New York State’s testing and quarantine requirements as well.
The state’s quarantine advisory states that travelers (or residents) who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York. Upon arrival in New York, they must quarantine for three days. On day 4 of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
“We don’t want to penalize people. Everyone’s been through hell this year,” said DeBlasio. “We don’t want to, but if you don’t follow quarantine you’re endangering everyone else in the city, right as we’re fighting the second wave.”
Sheriff’s deputies have been key to New York City’s quarantine and social distancing enforcement, busting up large gatherings, shutting down noncompliant restaurants and bars and stopping cars traveling from out of state.
About a million people have passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints nationwide most days this week in a sign that public health pleas to avoid holiday travel are largely being ignored, despite an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases.
However, that might not be the case in the Bay Area, where both San Francisco and Santa Clara counties are now under mandatory quarantine orders, meaning visitors and returning residents are required to isolate for 10 days after flying in.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.