City Sheriffs to Enforce Thanksgiving Travel Ban

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New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito at a press conference at City Hall, Tuesday. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York officials are continuing to urge and plead with people not to travel or hold large gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday, and that those who violate laws may face steep financial penalties.

“I’m going to keep telling people, please, if you do not need to travel, don’t travel,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday at his daily coronavirus briefing, and urged people to “celebrate with your loved ones in other places virtually.”

“Unless there’s a really, really crucial reason, don’t travel. It’s just going to only add more exposure to this disease, more chance that you might get it, your family might get, it might be brought back here inadvertently.”

For those who do travel, either by choice or by necessity, many will be required to self-quarantine if they spend time in a state that had a high coronavirus infection rate.

“You’re going to see that there are really clear rules to be followed and they will be enforced,” warned de Blasio. “And you’re going to know that if someone does not follow those rules that there are real penalties, substantial financial penalties that will be applied.”

Officers from the New York City Sheriff’s team will be waiting at checkpoints at city bridges and bus drop-off areas to advise travelers from out of state on the Department of Health’s mandatory quarantine orders.

The Sheriffs team will enforce mandatory quarantine. “[If] you violate the mandatory quarantine, then there would be a legal action taken against you,” said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito. “Most likely civil action, where you’d be served with a civil summons. But we have made arrests and charged somebody with a misdemeanor for violating the quarantine.”

The civil penalty for violating quarantine can be $1,000 per violation.



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New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at a press conference Tuesday at the Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights Ambulance Corp. Headquarters in Long Island. Afterward, Governor Cuomo and members of the New York State Guard distributed Thanksgiving turkeys and meals.. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Gov. Cuomo)

There is a way to avoid mandatory quarantine: the city’s Test and Trace Corps will be handing COVID-19 self-test kits at JFK. Airlines travelers can test easily before they return to New York, and if they test negative, they do not need to quarantine for 14 days.

According to city data, the seven-day rolling average for New York City is 3.17%.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, at his own press conference Tuesday on Long Island, also reiterated his pleas that people not travel or gather for Thanksgiving, noting his own difficulty in informing his 89-year-old mother that their family would not have a typical holiday celebration this year.

“It’s hard to do, and it’s so much easier just to say, ‘We’ll do it the way we normally do it.’ That’s the easy way,” said the governor. “It’s a mistake.”

“I didn’t want to disappoint my mother – you know, 89 years old, she’s thinking how many Thanksgiving do I get, right? You start to think that way … it’s hard, but sometimes hard is smart.”

Cuomo also donned a turkey-themed face mask at the press conference, saying, “Don’t be a turkey this Thanksgiving. Wear a mask.”

Updated Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 7:42 pm .

Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 9:48 am .

Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 9:53 am .