NY requiring out-of-state travelers to give contact info
Visitors will have to fill out a form with their contact information or face a big fine.
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ALBANY — New York will require air travelers from states with high rates of COVID-19 to provide their local contact information or face a penalty of up to $2,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The shift in policy comes nearly three weeks after New York issued an order in late June requiring many out-of-state travelers to quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state.
Now, travelers to New York from the states on the quarantine list will be required to fill out a form documenting where they're coming from and their local contact information after they exit the plane.
The form will be made available at the airports or online, Cuomo said.
Enforcement, however, will be concentrated at airport, where the state will station compliance officers who will be required to collect forms from passengers before they leave the airport.
"You must give officials at the airport your form as to where you came from and where you're going before you leave the airport," Cuomo said. "It will be enforced in every airport in the state."
Previously, the state Department of Health had been working with airlines to circulate a similar form to passengers deplaning in New York.
But the form was voluntarily and there were no penalties associated with not filling it out; Now, Cuomo said the state will issue an "emergency health order" making it mandatory and allowing authorities to issue a summons that could carry a $2,000 fine.
The form requires travelers to give their name, birth date, phone number and email address, as well as information about where they will be staying and which states they have recently traveled to.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said the Port Authority will handle enforcement in the New York City-area airports, while the state will work with local airports in other areas of the state.
It wasn't immediately clear whether those who travel to New York by other means of transportation, such as bus or car, would be required to fill out the form or how that would be enforced.
The Department of Health's order says the form must be filled out by all travelers affected by New York's quarantine order.
But it also says travelers must "submit the complete form to the New York officials stationed at the airport, or in a receptacle designated for such forms," leaving it unclear whether travelers by car or bus would be affected.
Cuomo's latest order received pushback from Republican leaders, who said it infringes on civil liberties.
Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, Niagara County, said he hopes someone files a legal challenge asking a court to examine.
"This overreach of power violates the civil liberties of New Yorkers and citizens across this country, who do not need the government to threaten fines and quarantines in order to travel responsibly," Ortt said in a statement. "This is putting an unwelcome mat at New York’s door."
New York's larger quarantine order is mandatory for travelers coming from states with at least 10 average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, though enforcement in general is a difficult task.
As of Monday, the New York quarantine order applied to 19 states. They were: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
As of Sunday night, at least four states were in danger of being added to the quarantine list when New York updates it Tuesday.
New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio had all surpassed 10 average daily COVID-19 cases for the seven-day period that ended Sunday. New York will make its final calculation after Monday's data is in, which means some of those states could dip below the 10 mark.
Delaware, meanwhile, had inched below the 10 case mark after it was added to the list last week. That means the state could be removed from the list Tuesday depending on how many positive cases it reported Monday.