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NYC imposes traveler checkpoints to enforce quarantine; violators face fines up to $10,000

New York's Times Square, as pictured Wednesday.
New York's Times Square, as pictured Wednesday.ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

New York City will stop travelers from 35 states and territories with high COVID-19 transmission rates at train stations, airports, and bridge and tunnel crossings to enforce quarantine rules, requiring people to sign forms that will enable officials to keep tabs on their whereabouts.

The city will deliver food, medication and provide hotel rooms for travelers who need them, said Ted Long, who is in charge of the test-and-trace program. Officials increased the restrictions after noticing several instances of infected people arriving from states with high transmission rates, Long said.

“We have come so far, with eight weeks in which we’ve kept our infection rate below 3%,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Now we need to do the same when it comes to people who are traveling.”

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The quarantine will be applied to both visitors from out of state and New Yorkers returning from a place on the restriction list. Although the crackdown is intended to educate and motivate people to obey the rules, violators may be fined as much as $10,000 under the state quarantine order.

Travelers will be required to fill out contact forms upon purchasing a plane or train ticket or booking a hotel room, Long said. The test-and-trace team will follow up to ensure that visitors’ needs are met. At least 20 sheriff’s officers, assisted by other law-enforcement agencies, will be deployed at checkpoints to stop vehicles at random, said city Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

Several New England states, including Massachusetts, do not make an appearance on New York’s high-risk state list; however, Rhode Island does.