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Isolate on arrival: NYC region is latest to try quarantine

Welcome to New York! Now don’t come near us for two weeks.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are the latest states to enact 14-day traveler quarantines to try to check the spread of the coronavirus. After being slammed by the outbreak this spring, the states’ governors hope they can preserve their hard-won recovery by making travelers from more than a half-dozen hot-spot states isolate themselves.

There were few details Friday on how the newly enacted quarantine will be enforced, but playbooks from other states include everything from making new arrivals fill out forms to having National Guard members knock on doors.

And while it’s impossible to keep an eye out on every hotel, every highway, every airport and every bus terminal, the policies could have an immediate effect if they discourage people from coming in the first place.

“Right now, I think you’re going to find that a lot of people who maybe were thinking about flying to Connecticut from Miami Beach or Dallas-Fort Worth are going to take a pause,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said. “I think most of them will be staying at home. That’s what I want to have happen.”

The three states have previous experience with travel quarantines — though as targets instead of enforcers. In March, as caseloads climbed ominously in the New York City area, Florida and Texas separately issued orders requiring people flying in from the New York tri-state area to quarantine for 14 days.

In Florida, travelers from the three states arriving on commercial flights or via Interstate-95 fill out a form that includes their phone number and address where they will be staying. The Florida Highway Patrol makes sure quarantines are being followed, including through in-person visits, according to a state spokesperson.

Officials in Rhode Island took more aggressive steps that same month, deploying National Guard troops door to door in coastal areas to inform any New Yorkers who may have come to the state that they must self-quarantine for 14 days. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo also had state police stopping vehicles with New York license plates and giving the occupants copies of her quarantine demand.

The door knocks and vehicle stops were halted within weeks and Rhode Island eventually extended the mandatory quarantine to visitors from every other state except those from bordering Massachusetts and Connecticut who were merely commuting to and from work.

Did Rhode Island’s hard line work? Raimondo said it did as part of a broader effort including testing and mask mandates.

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