Int'l passengers arriving in NYC must quarantine, sheriff deputies to visit UK travelers at home, hotel to serve order: de Blasio

De blasio
Photo credit Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- International travelers coming to New York City must quarantine, with travelers from the U.K. getting handed a quarantine order directly by NYC Sheriff deputies at their home or hotel, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday as a mutant coronavirus in Britain raises alarm locally and abroad.

De Blasio said that beginning Wednesday, all international travelers will receive a Department of Health commissioner’s order by mail directing them to quarantine after they fill out forms with contact information at airports.

Travelers from the U.K.—where a new, apparently highly contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading—will also receive the order, but it will be delivered directly by deputies at their home or hotel.

"Every traveler who comes into this city, that we identify as someone coming into this city or coming back to this city, will also receive that Department of Health commissioner's order," the mayor said. "It's going to be confirmed they got it and then people are going to be held responsible to make sure they're following the quarantine."

What to know:
• All passengers will receive a DOH commissioner's order to quarantine via certified mail
• UK travelers will be personally served DOH commissioner's order to quarantine by the Sheriff's Office
• Travel unit will door knock to ensure compliance

While all international travelers will receive the order, there will be an additional measure for people arriving from the U.K. They will get a visit from deputies, who will hand them the order that directs them to follow the mandatory quarantine. Travel units will be doing follow-up visits to ensure compliance by U.K. travelers.

“We’re going to have sheriff deputies go to the home or the hotel of every single traveler coming in from the U.K.,” de Blasio said. “There’s going to be a follow-up, direct home or hotel visit from the sheriff's deputy to confirm that they are following the quarantine, or if they are not, they will be penalized.”

Sheriff Joseph Fucito said travel units from the Mayor's Office would check in on people and then relay violations to the sheriff, who would serve notices of violation. Deputies will also let travelers know the city services that are available to them during their visit.

De Blasio said violators face a $1,000 initial fine if they don’t quarantine and a $1,000 fine every day thereafter if they’re still not quarantining.

“We will collect those penalties,” de Blasio said. "We are really serious about the fact that if you violate quarantine you are creating a danger for everyone else."

Under current state guidelines, travelers entering New York from states outside of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont are required to quarantine for 14 days unless they obtain testing 72 hours prior to arrival and, after quarantining for a minimum of three days, seek a diagnostic test to "test out" of quarantine on the fourth day. This guidance also applies to many international travelers; more info can be found here and here.

De Blasio said sheriff deputies will be at airports, train stations and bus depots, as well. He said deputies have also been pulling drivers over on highways, where some 10,000 vehicles have been stopped already.

"We are going to be doing that intensively during this holiday season, up through the weekend after Jan. 1," de Blasio said.