New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo converses with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (on screen) during a news briefing July 13, 2020, in New York City.
(The Center Square) – Travelers entering New York from 19 states designated as COVID-19 hot spots must provide their contact information or face a $2,000 fine.
That’s the order Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday as the state tries to prevent another outbreak of the coronavirus from happening. Cuomo said travelers can fill out the form online or complete a hard copy given to them on incoming flights.
Those who leave any in-state airport without providing their location will receive a summons and a fine, he said, and can be ordered to attend a hearing for a mandatory quarantine.
Those affected by the order live in or will be coming from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Cuomo recalled when the state received its first case more than four months ago. It was a New Yorker who reentered through the airport
“It came in through the airports,” Cuomo said. “It will come in through the airports once again.”
The order does exclude workers in essential services, the governor said.
The governor once again urged residents to keep complying with the state’s guidelines, saying that as well as out-of-state travelers pose the greatest threat for the virus to reemerge.
He noted that the state found three people tested positive for COVID-19 in upstate Rensselaer County after returning from Georgia. No one informed the state of their return, and the state only became aware of the cases because two of the people were tested because they’re nursing home employees.
The state, though, continues reducing the presence of the virus. On Sunday, the state announced just 792 people hospitalized as a result of the virus, the lowest number since March 18. Positivity rates have hovered around 1 percent in New York City and other regions in the state.
New York Assembly Minority Leader Rob Ortt took issue with Cuomo’s announcement about providing contact information.
“This is putting an unwelcome mat at New York’s door,” Ortt said in a news release. “Such severe action will keep people and their dollars away, at a time when our businesses need them most. It’s also unclear if such an order would even stand up in court, and we hope that groups who care about civil liberties will challenge this order to protect individuals.”
Also on Monday, Cuomo announced along with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms that the state will send testing and contact tracing teams to the Georgia capital. It comes as the mayor’s family has tested positive after attending a funeral. However, delays in getting results allowed the virus to spread from one of her children to the remaining family members.
“We are here for you,” Cuomo told the mayor. “The concept of paying it forward: Whatever we can do on any level. We have people who have been through this and actually know and we stand ready.”
Bottoms blamed a lack of leadership at the federal level for the spread of the virus in the southern and Western United States, and with some hospitals’ capacities maxed out, she’s called for a rollback to a stay-at-home order.
Cuomo himself slammed the Trump administration moments after his announcement with Bottoms, saying the administration has been negligent throughout the crisis. The governor added that President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 has made President Nixon “look innocent” for Watergate.
“Nobody died in the Watergate scandal,” Cuomo said. “Thousands of people are going to die in this COVID scandal, and that is all the difference in the world.”