New York City Setting Up COVID-19 Checkpoints on Roadways

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced today that the city is stiffening its enforcement of the state’s restrictions on travelers coming from domestic COVID-19 hotpots by setting up checkpoints at “key entry points” into the Big Apple.

De Blasio said during a daily press briefing: “The important thing is the checkpoints are going to send a very important message that this quarantine law is serious,” reported the New York Post.” “The idea is we don’t want to penalize people…We want to educate them, we want to make sure they’re following the rules.”

As the early-days epicenter of the pandemic, New York is determined not to allow its progress in terms of COVID-19 containment be thwarted. NYC has maintained a less-than-three percent positive test rate for two full months now, but Ted Long, Executive Director of NYC Test & Trace Corps, revealed that one in five new cases in the city already comes from an out-of-state traveler.

“New York City is holding the line against COVID-19, and New Yorkers have shown tremendous discipline,” said De Blasio said in a statement. “We’re not going to let our hard work slip away and will continue to do everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy.”

“The progress we’re seeing across New York City in reducing transmission of COVID-19 is a collective effort by New Yorkers. We’re focused on continuing and building on those efforts by encouraging those who travel to states with a high COVID positivity rate to follow state law and quarantine at home and only leave if it’s essential,” asserted Long.

Like enforcement teams that have already been deployed in New York airports to make sure that out-of-state arrivals fill out the State Department of Health’s requisite traveler form (failure to do so carries a $2,000 fine), law enforcement officers and civilian volunteers will operate traveler-registration checkpoints and randomly verify that folks entering NYC via major bridge and tunnel crossings have completed the form and are well-informed about the mandatory quarantine protocols that they must adhere to.

Long said that teams will also be deployed at Penn Station to ensure that arrivals by rail are also completing their forms. Law enforcement agencies will now check in on newly arrived visitors or returning residents who’ve come from the (currently) 36 high-risk states and jurisdictions on New York’s Travel Advisory list, to see that they’re staying safe and complying with isolation orders. “If we can’t get through to you on the phone, we’ve now deployed teams to knock on your door and check in on you to make sure you’re safe,” Long said.

Out-of-state travelers from affected regions who break the fourteen-day quarantine provisions could face penalties of up to $10,000, De Blasio confirmed. “We’ve got to make clear to people there are consequences,” Long said.

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