People traveling into New York City from the United Kingdom will be monitored by the sheriff’s department and may receive fines up to $1,000 if they violate quarantine rules amidst rising cases of a newly-detected strain of COVID-19 originating there.
All travelers coming to the city will be under mandatory quarantine rules and will receive these orders via certified mail, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily press briefing. Every person is expected to quarantine for 14 days after they arrive in the city, unless they test negative for COVID-19 on their fourth day of quarantine.
However, travelers from the UK will also receive a follow-up by the sheriff’s department, who will visit the home or hotel of each person to confirm they’re abiding by the rules.
“We need people not to travel, but if they do, we’re going to be very stringent about the rules,” said Mayor de Blasio.
If someone is found in violation of quarantine measures, they can be fined $1,000. For each additional violation, they can be charged $1,000 a day.
Sheriff’s deputies have been stationed at airports, train stations, bus depots and throughout highways to monitor travel and will continue to do so throughout this holiday season.
“There’s real urgency about what might happen if this strain gets introduced on a wide level here so we're going to be very, very aggressive about that under the commissioner’s health order,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We have the power to be really aggressive to make sure people follow quarantine.”
The mayor’s office is working with the state and the Port Authority to enforce these travel measures.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo brokered an agreement with three airlines - British Airways, Delta and Virgin Airlines - to require a COVID-19 test before allowing passengers to board planes traveling from the United Kingdom to New York. These airlines operate six flights a day into New York City from the UK.
Regional hospital networks in New York state will begin testing for this variant of the coronavirus, according to Cuomo on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the citywide positivity rate over a 7-day average was 6.19%, above the 5% threshold. The number of reported cases across the past seven days was 2,789.