State Watch

New York City to add COVID-19 checkpoints at bridges, crossings

New York City will add COVID-19 checkpoints at certain bridges and crossings to enforce quarantine restrictions ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Sheriff Joseph Fucito said Tuesday that among the actions authorities will take is conducting spot checks on passengers stepping off out-of-state buses.

Fucito said testing and tracing teams will be scattered throughout the city to direct people to testing sites and educate out-of-town guests about quarantine restrictions.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new measures for travelers earlier this month, requiring visitors to test negative for COVID-19 before arriving in the state and then again once there. The measures were aimed at allowing visitors to test out of a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has said those who violate quarantine restrictions could face fines of up to $2,000.

The city is requiring out-of-town guests to complete travel forms when arriving at airports, Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, with self-test teams available at those locations.

Extended COVID-19 pandemic measures and enforcement come as the state — which was once the center of the outbreak in the spring — reported a seven-day average of 1,476 new cases on Tuesday.

Officials have warned against holiday travel as they work to contain a surge of COVID-19 infections heading into the colder months, when more people gather indoors, allowing the virus to spread more easily.

De Blasio said Tuesday that the positivity rate was at 3.17 percent, higher than what New York City public schools allow for in-person classes to take place.

Last week, the mayor announced the nation’s largest school district would close as cases rose across the city, though Cuomo has said in recent days he will allow schools to reopen even if the infection rate stays above 3 percent, provided schools follow pandemic procedures such as testing, CBS New York reported.

According to New York state law, the state takes control of city schools if the infection rate stays at critical levels above the slated 3 percent threshold, as the governor has pitched that schools are currently safer than being outside in other highly infected communities.

“The school is safer than the local community. Think about it. You have 3 percent infection rate in the community. The school is under half a percent,” Cuomo said.

“Why would you want the child to stay at home, which means they’re not going to stay at home,” Cuomo added. “It means they’re going to go outside. They’re going to run around in a 3 percent community.”

Tags Andrew Cuomo Bill de Blasio COVID-19 pandemic in New York COVID-19 pandemic in New York City COVID-19 testing New York City

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