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NYC Mayor de Blasio sets up COVID-19 quarantine checkpoints at city's bridges and tunnels, threatens violators with $10,000 fines

A Checkpoint Charlie redux might not be the best look

Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would be seriously cracking down on anyone coming from the nearly three dozen states that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has placed on a must-quarantine list.

The mayor's crackdown includes randomized checks at bridges and tunnels into the city as well as fines of up to $10,000 for failing to follow quarantine orders.

What's he doing?

The mayor declared during a press briefing Wednesday that New York would be immediately instituting a number of checkpoints at major city entry points, WINS-AM reported. The goal is to make sure that people traveling into the city from Cuomo's travel advisory list understand that they must quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Cuomo's list includes 34 states — Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin — and Puerto Rico.

"Starting today, we're going to do something new in New York City: We will have checkpoints at key entry points to the city," de Blasio announced.

"Travelers coming in from those [travel advisory] states will be given information about the quarantine," he continued. "They will be reminded that it is required, not optional. They will be reminded that failure to quarantine is a violation of state law, and it comes with serious penalties. In fact, under certain circumstances, the fines can be as high as $10,000."

"So this is serious stuff," de Blasio added, "and it's time for everyone to realize it."

Mayor Bill de Blasio Holds Media Availability youtu.be

The checkpoints, which will be "varying daily," according to a slide show running during de Blasio's announcement, will be run by the New York City Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff Joseph Fucito stated that the goal is not to "target out-of-state residents" but to "educate people who have spent time at COVID-19 hot spots, regardless of their residence when they come to New York," WINS said.

He highlighted the importance of having the checkpoint practices randomized, saying, "The only way to have an effective checkpoint is having a random component to it," and noting that deputies would use license plate readers to count vehicles to stop at random, according to WINS.

This new quarantine enforcement tactic is in addition to the state's Traveler Health Form out-of-state air travelers are required to fill out before leaving a New York airport. Travelers who fail to fill out the form before leaving the airport are subject to a $2,000 fine and can be ordered to complete mandatory quarantine. Travelers coming into the city from designated states via trains, cars, or other forms of transportation are required to fill out the form online.

One last thing…
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