News and Commentary

NYPD Asks Civilians To Volunteer For De Blasio’s COVID-19 Checkpoints

Mayor threatens $10,000 fine for those who do not quarantine
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Passengers line up to board a delayed Amtrak train at New York Penn Station, June 19, 2019 in New York City. Power outage issues on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit train lines halted all trains in and out of New York Penn Station on Wednesday morning. (Photo by
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The New York Police Department is calling on volunteers from its civilian staff to help enforce the state’s new quarantine order for travelers, which will check every sixth or eighth car entering the city and randomly stop people using mass transit.

The off-duty “volunteers will be assigned to Penn Station or Port Authority Bus Terminal,” said a memo sent out to NYPD members, the New York Post wrote. “The civilian members of the NYPD who volunteer will be charged with collecting forms from out-of-state travelers and ‘reminding’ them of the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.”

There are nearly 20,000 members of the NYPD civilian staff.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will be setting up checkpoints at tunnels and bridges to find travelers from 35 COVID hotspot states; if it’s discovered that they have come from one of those states, they will be told to quarantine for two weeks.

De Blasio threatened a $10,000 fine if visitors from those states do not self-isolate. The 35 states include: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

“We’ve got 35 states now that have dangerously high infection rates. There’s a lot to be concerned about. What we need to do is do everything that we have learned to do in New York City and do that right, do that consistently, but also we have to focus on people coming in from outside New York City,” de Blasio said. “This is serious stuff, and it’s time for everyone to realize it. If we’re going to hold at this level of health and safety in this city and get better, we have to deal with the fact that the quarantine must be applied consistently to anyone who’s traveled. So this checkpoint effort is going to be a new, important piece of that.”

The City of New York website sets out the rules for “non-essential” and “essential workers”:

Non-essential workers:

  • Stay at their residence or in a hotel room, leaving only for essential medical appointments or treatment or to obtain food and other essential goods when the delivery of food or other essential goods to their residence or hotel is not feasible;
  • Not invite or allow guests, other than caregivers, into their quarantined residence or hotel room; and
  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and seek appropriate medical advice or testing if COVID-19 symptoms arise.

Essential workers:

  • Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and self-quarantine and seek medical advice or testing if they show symptoms of COVID-19; and
  • Limit their activities involving contact with other persons for fourteen (14) days to the purposes that exempted them from the self-quarantine requirement to the extent possible.
  • If staying longer than 36 hours in New York state, seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible upon arrival (within 24 hours).

Related: BANE COMMANDS: De Blasio To Install Checkpoints At All Tunnels And Bridges To Track Visitors From Hotspot States