Sheriff’s deputies have stopped more than 3,000 vehicles and issued two tickets for noncompliance to drivers at city checkpoints to enforce the state’s two-week coronavirus quarantine rule.
“If you come here from one of the states that’s had a big problem recently with the coronavirus, you need to quarantine when you get to New York City, if you are staying here,” Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday during a visit to a checkpoint at the Bayonne Bridge connecting New Jersey to Staten Island.
“It doesn’t matter if you are from the other state or you are from New York City, if you’ve spent time in one of those states that’s in the middle of this crisis, when you get back here you have got to quarantine. And these checkpoints are making the point very clear,” de Blasio said.
The New York City Sheriff’s Office established random checkpoints at major bridge and tunnel crossing on Aug. 5 after local health officials learned that 20 percent of new coronavirus cases were linked to out-of-state visits. Vehicles are not monitored by state license plate, instead deputies pull over one out of every several passing car at random.
New York requires travelers from 28 virus hotspots in the U.S.– plus Guam, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico– to fill out contact forms and quarantine for two weeks. The rule is backed by fines of up to $10,000.
“Compliance at vehicle checkpoints is very high with only two individuals receiving summonses for failure to comply,” Sheriff Joseph Fucito said at Tuesday’s Bayonne Bridge event with the mayor.
The two alleged scofflaws came from hotspots and refused to complete quarantine contact forms, according to a mayoral spokeswoman.
They were issued desk appearance tickets that require them to appear in court on the violations.
The first individual faces $2,500 in fines for violating state and city regulations related to containing the coronavirus. The second faces the same infractions plus another fine of up to $300 for driving without a valid license, the mayoral spokeswoman said.
The deputies also gave out 12,000 masks to drivers who accepted the face coverings for themselves or others.
Fucito’s agency will begin stopping buses coming for COVID-19 hotspots in the coming days.