NEW YORK - After imposing mandatory 14-day quarantines on visitors to New York from states suffering high infection rates for COVID19, Governor Andrew Cuomo is adding a new layer of enforcement.
Starting Tuesday, July 14, all travelers from designated states will be required to fill out a form when they arrive by plane, detailing where they are going and where they have been.
Currently, those states include:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Not doing so could result in a summons and a $2,000 fine, Cuomo said at a news conference on Monday.
“The airlines will hand it out on the plane. It will also be available on the web. You can fill it out electronically or you have to fill out the piece of paper on the airplane. You must give officials at the airport your form saying where you came from and where you are going before you leave the airport," Cuomo said.
The governor says he is motivated by a desire to prevent a second wave of infection in New York.
"When we got to the gate we were told we needed to fill out this form. We were also told whether or not it was essential business or not. So we filled out the form, and we got that form before we boarded the plane, and there were no if's or but's about it. You had to get the form, you had to fill it out," said a traveler coming into John F. Kennedy International Airport from Georgia on Tuesday.
While New York’s numbers look vastly improved from just a few months ago, other states are now seeing a surge of new cases. And Cuomo blames that squarely on President Donald Trump who has downplayed the risk of the virus.
"Trump’s COVID scandal makes what Nixon did at Watergate look innocent. Nobody died in the Watergate scandal. Thousands of people are going to die in this COVID scandal," Cuomo said.
Cuomo and his team also continued to defend his administration’s report, released last week, that says the nearly 6,500 deaths in nursing homes from coronavirus were not the fault of state policy requiring residents who leave nursing homes for treatment, be admitted back into those homes after they are released.
Critics say the report fails to include nursing home residents who die in hospitals, rendering the report useless, since it has incomplete data.
“It didn’t materially impact the overall outcome which was the timing. The fatalities happened long before the admission policy. The workforce itself was the driving factor because that’s when those infections came in early on. Those materials fax would not be changed one way or another," said Jim Malatras, an adviser to Cuomo.
The legislature will hold hearings into nursing home deaths next month.
Governor Cuomo says several states have reached out to ask New York for help in their battle against COVID-19.
Cuomo has said that he will make a trip to one of those states this week, but declined to say which one. He said he is speaking to a number of them.
Asked whether or not he will self-quarantine for 14 days upon his return, Cuomo said he will not since he is considered an essential worker.