The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a new travel advisory on June 24, 2020. New York State Team


ALBANY - New York City will establish registration checkpoints at key entryways to try to ensure visitors from states with high COVID-19 infection rates go into quarantine when they come across the border.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday the measure dovetails with New York's requirement that anyone staying in New York from 34 states with high coronavirus cases needs to first go into a 14-day quarantine.

City police will be intermittently stopping travelers who have visited the states and requiring them to complete a state Department of Health traveler form, as well as telling them to quarantine upon entering New York City.

The effort starts Thursday, and it will begin with outreach at Penn Station, the busiest train station in the nation, the mayor said.

"Travelers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine," de Blasio announced Wednesday.

"They will be reminded that it is required not optional. They'll be reminded that failure to quarantine is a violation of state law, and it comes with serious penalties."

The city is adding digital signs at points of entry to increase public awareness about the quarantine as the state tries to keep down its infection rate, which is among the lowest in the nation.

New York has more than 25,00 deaths due to coronavirus, the most in the U.S., but it has so far been able to stave off a new spike in cases as the virus has surged in other parts of the nation.

Failure to undertake a 14-day quarantine if you visited one of the 34 states on the list could come with up to 10,000 fine. And people could be hit with a $2,000 fine if they do not fill out the travel form, de Blasio said.

People coming from the 34 states and Puerto Rico are subject to the quarantine if they plan to stay in New York for more than 24 hours.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo instituted the quarantine in late June as the virus spread across the nation, and New Jersey and Connecticut follow New York's quarantine list — which is updated every Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, Washington D.C. and Delaware were removed from the list because their infection rates fell, but Rhode Island was added.

The state was already asking people to fill out the traveler forms at airports and at hotels and urging them to quarantine upon their arrival.

"We cannot go back to the hell we experienced just a few months ago — and surging infection rates across the country threaten to bring us back there — so we must all remain vigilant,"  Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday.

New York CIty Sheriff Joe Fucito.said the goal is not to target out-of-state residents, but to educate New Yorkers returning home from COVID-19 hotspots and those coming from those states to undertake the 14-day quarantine.

"The only way to have an effective checkpoint is having a random component to it," Fucito said. 

"The courts have looked at checkpoints for public safety reasons, for regulatory reasons. And that seems to be the standard that they're looking for to avoid discrimination. It is so many vehicles, like, let's say it's every sixth vehicle or every eighth vehicle."

More: NY, NJ quarantine list stands at 34 states and Puerto Rico after D.C., Delaware removed

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Joseph Spector is the New York state editor for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

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