At NY airports, $2K fine for failure to submit tracing form

Travelers wear coronavirus masks at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. July 1, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)
Photo credit Travelers wear coronavirus masks at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. July 1, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut last month issued a joint travel advisory that requires a 14-day quarantine period for travelers from a list that now includes 19 states, including Texas and Florida, where COVID-19 appears to be spreading. The advisory includes states if their seven day rolling average of positive tests exceeds 10%, or if the number of positive cases exceeds 10 per 100,000 residents.

In New York, airport travelers from those states will now face a $2,000 fine if they leave the airport without filling out the form. Impacted travelers could face a hearing and an order requiring mandatory quarantine, under a new state emergency health order issued Monday.

New York’s contact form asks for the traveler’s birth date, phone number, email address, gender, date of arrival and method of travel into New York. Travelers are also asked whether their final destination is in New York, if their primary residence is in the state, how long they’re staying, and where they’re staying.

Cuomo, who is deploying teams of state peace officers and health officials to greet certain travelers at airports, said that airlines have agreed to help make passengers aware of the requirement using pre-flight emails and announcements.

The governor said travelers coming into New York on trains and cars from impacted states must also fill out the state’s new online form.

Cuomo said New York’s success in fighting the COVID-19 virus is being jeopardized by a lack of compliance and the threat of the virus coming to New York from other states with increasing infection rates.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein is asking people to stay away from areas outside of New York State. "I'm asking people who are thinking of traveling to one of those states, to change your plans. It's not worth the hassle," she said. "It's not worth the risk to your health."

Burstein said if you do go, report youself to the State Department of Health and stay in quarantine.

“We have already implemented a quarantine order for travelers coming in from states with the highest infection rates, but we are experiencing non-compliance with the order that can lead to outbreaks and threaten the tremendous progress we’ve already made,” Cuomo said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy did not address the quarantine during Monday’s news conference on the virus. Murphy, a Democrat, has said before he did not have the authority to block people from traveling to the state.

Connecticut is not yet looking at fines, but Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said his administration is looking at boosting enforcement and tracing travelers landing at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

Lamont acknowledged Cuomo’s announcement on fines and said: “We’ll be figuring that out over the next week or so.”