Months ago, officials in various parts of the country were worried about infected travelers from New York City spreading the coronavirus. Now, the city is setting up checkpoints to keep potentially infected people out of the Big Apple, where they apparently make up 20% of new coronavirus cases. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that checkpoints will be set up at "key entry points," including bridges, tunnels, and train stations, to warn travelers from 34 states where coronavirus cases are rising that a 14-day quarantine is "required, not optional," CNBC reports. Travelers from the states on the "red list," who are already required to fill in contact tracing forms, will be reminded that "failure to quarantine is a violation of state law and it comes with serious penalties," the mayor said.
"The checkpoints are going to send a very powerful message that this quarantine is serious. Even if we can't reach every single person I think it'll get the message across," de Blasio said, per NBC New York. He said that instead of penalizing people, authorities would prefer "to educate them, make sure they're following the rules." Authorities say the city will help those quarantining with free food deliveries, medical services, and even hotel stays. "We have been working incredibly hard to drive down all the cases in New York City," says Dr. Ted Long, head of the city's test and trace program. "We want you to come into New York City but we need you to quarantine for two weeks." (Read more New York City stories.)