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Questions remain on how quarantine of travelers from COVID-19 hotspots will be enforced

Charles Molineaux
Updated: June 24, 2020 11:09 PM
Created: June 24, 2020 10:34 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Word that travelers into New York could be subject to quarantine if they come from states with high coronavirus rates brought resignation from some, but also warnings the issue could end up in court.

"I don't want to get sick,” Laila Latham of Rochester said as she flew out of Greater Rochester International Airport to Florida on a trip with her mother to see her grandfather and now faced the prospect of being quarantined upon return. "I like to stay in the house. And, if we do go out, I stay in the car."

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“It’s worth it,” her mom, Wendy Benton, said. “I’m going to spend time with my dad. We've been out of work and school for a few months. In the beginning, we were only coming out once a week so we were kind of quarantined then anyway.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order announced Wednesday calls for people coming to New York from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas, to quarantine for two weeks or face fines up to $10,000 if someone gets sick.

Management at Greater Rochester International Airport, which has two flights a day from Charlotte and two a week from Orlando, is waiting for clarification on how it, and the airlines, are supposed to handle those travelers, which could involve "educating" them.

The question of how to handle travelers who came in on connecting flights awaited clarification from the state Department of Health.

"If you are in Kansas City and you're flying from Kansas City, and you go to Charlotte, but you're only having a small layover in Charlotte for let's say an hour and a half and then going from Charlotte to Rochester, then are you impacted by the quarantine?" asked Airport Director Andy Moore.

Veteran Lawyer Eugene Welch warned the issue will probably end up in court, especially if people do get fined. He also predicts real challenges downstate.

"There are people that commute to work every day into New York State and, if those people happen to have been in one of these COVID states, that's going to cause some problems as to whether or not they can go to work in New York State."

Rochester travel agent Lynn DiMaria pointed out that travel into and out of the area is already a tiny fraction of what it used to be before coronavirus and said a new quarantine could hardly damage it much more, but said the news could still have an impact. 

"Once the other states get a hold of this news, that will discourage them from even attempting to come into Rochester. Or New York in general,” she said. 


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