New Emergency Health Order in Place for Out-of-State Travelers Arriving in New York

East Hampton Airport sign
East Hampton Airport (James J. Mackin)
James J. Mackin

Starting Tuesday, out-of-state travelers arriving in New York from designated states must fill out a form under a new mandate from Department of Health to help ensure travelers are following the state’s quarantine restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Back on June 24, Cuomo and the governors from New Jersey and Connecticut institute an incoming travel advisory that requires anyone traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 quarantine for a 14-day period. With numbers continuing to spike throughout the country, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a stepped-up travel enforcement operation at airports across the state on Monday, but the state health department issued the emergency health order.

Enforcement teams will be stationed at large airports to meet those arriving to see that the forms have been completed, and travelers who leave the airport without completing the form will be subject to a $2,000 fine and may be brought to a hearing and ordered to complete mandatory quarantine.

The forms will be distributed to passengers by airlines before they board planes or disembark in New York. An electronic version of the DOH traveler form is now available online. According to the governor’s office, airlines have “pledged” to make passengers aware of the new requirement using pre-flight emails, pre-flight announcements, in-flight announcements and other methods.

Travelers coming to New York by trains and cars from the currently 19 designated states must also fill out the DOH traveler form online. It is unclear how that will be enforced.

“New York’s success in fighting the COVID-19 virus is under two threats: lack of compliance and the virus coming to New York from other states with increasing infection rates,” Cuomo said. “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. The State Department of Health is going to issue an emergency health order today mandating that out-of-state travelers complete the DOH traveler form before leaving the airport, and we are launching an enforcement operation at airports across the state to help ensure travelers coming into New York are following this order.”

How it will be enforced at smaller airports, like East Hampton Airport, remains to be seen. Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said he is aware of the new order and is trying to get clarification as to how the latest requirement applies to travelers coming into East Hampton Airport. The town had already posted notifications at the entrances and exists at the airport (the terminal remains closed to the public). “Does it include helicopters as well? You could be taking a jet to Teterboro and then a helicopter from there,” Van Scoyoc said.

At the very least, he has directed the airport manager to include the link to the form so that passengers arriving can avail themselves of it. “It really is just a matter of trying to get the information out to the public,” he said.

As of Monday, 19 states meet the tri-state areas’s quarantine criteria, based upon a seven-day rolling average of positive tests in excess of 10 percent, or number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents. Those states currently include Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware and Arizona.

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