NYC Mayor’s Executive Order: Possible Fines, Penalties & Forced Quarantine for Non-Compliant Travelers
At today’s press conference, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Executive Order No. 141 put in place to safeguard the city from travelers who’ve visited or come from states on the New York travel advisory watch-list. Hotels and short term rentals will be required to have visitors from such states to fill out the Department of Health (DOH) traveler forms and to follow through with quarantine procedures for 14 days upon entering the city.
The Mayor urged New Yorkers to seriously consider their travel and the repercussions which may come about as a result. He also stressed how important it is for those who do travel to such states to take seriously the need to quarantine.
“Now, again, I understand for some people there’s an emergency situation, a family crisis, or something they have to do for business, and they don’t have a choice, but I just want to urge people, if you have a choice, go to a place that is not on the New York State list of states that are experiencing a profound coronavirus problem,” said the Mayor. “If you have a choice in travel, don’t go where the problem is for your own safety, for your family’s safety, for all New Yorkers’ safety because, of course, if you go there, there’s a chance you bring that disease back. Now, if you do go, take the law seriously. You have to quarantine upon your return.”
Today, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo added two states (Alaska and Delaware) which were previously on the list and subsequently removed which, as of the time of this writing, has a total of 35 states.
On July 13, the Governor first announced a travel enforcement operation which would watch the state’s airports for travelers coming in from states on New York’s Travel Advisory List.
“”Travelers who leave the airport without completing the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.””
On August 5, Mayor de Blasio announced the creation of COVID-19 traveler registration checkpoints at key entry points into New York City. Such enforcement would be carried out by the DOF (Department of Finance) Sheriff’s Office in coordination with other law enforcement agencies. Since then the Sheriff’s office has posted courtesy alerts on Twitter indicating where checkpoints would be taking place.
COURTESY NOTICE CHECKPOINT/VEHICLE STOP CORRIDOR: Deputy Sheriffs will conduct Quarantine Checkpoints / Vehicle Stops in vicinity of Lincoln Tunnel on NYC side today. pic.twitter.com/VbMKgPNLWh
— NYC SHERIFF (@NYCSHERIFF) August 18, 2020
Present at today’s press conference was New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito.
“Failure to comply with the Mayor’s emergency order is a Class-B misdemeanor and noncompliance with completing the form or following the quarantine mandate is a crime,” said Mr. Fucito. “In addition to criminal penalties and monetary fines, you may be subject to civil commitment until you comply with these important provisions of law.”
When asked by a member of the press about what exactly ‘civil commitment’ meant, Sheriff Fucito stated:
“That’s a practice that’s been around for over a hundred years, that where the court can compel you to be quarantined. So if someone is so egregious in disobeying the Department of Health’s recommendations, by court order, they can be committed to a hospital until the quarantine is complete. “
It’s not entirely clear if this heightened enforcement approach was brought about by that which was discovered by the Sheriff’s Office during their checkpoints at bridges and other entryways into the city.
For weeks, the Governor has stated how local enforcement and local government has to do their job which they were not doing. One such example follows:
“The quarantine procedures are all in place and we’re enforcing compliance. Enforce compliance. Local governments still are not doing enough. This is a function for their police department and their health departments. They have to be more aggressive, I don’t know how else to say it,” stated Mr. Cuomo.