New York Governor Cuomo announced this week that visitors from COVID-19 hot spots around the US would have to quarantine. Odd, because he opposed such restrictions by other states against New Yorkers.
New Restrictions for Visitors to New York
This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, announced that visitors from COVID-19 hot spots around the US would face restrictions. Visitors from hot spots restrict the movement of 131MM Americans from Florida, Texas, and California (among others) who remain permitted to enter the Empire State but must isolate themselves for two weeks upon arrival.
Penalties for violating the strict quarantine rules range from $2,000 to $10,000 and further scrutiny for violators.
Governor Cuomo called restrictions from other states like Rhode Island and Florida on New Yorkers entering their states “unconstitutional.” From the a report about the Rhode Island restrictions, which were similar to Florida, Gov. Cuomo said this in March:
“I spoke to the governor of Rhode Island yesterday, and we had a conversation. I don’t think the order was called for, I don’t believe it was legal,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters during an Albany press briefing.”
Governor Disantos of Florida felt it was important at the time to restrict outsiders but didn’t shut down the state in the same degree as others initially.
Cuomo threatened legal action at which point both Rhode Island and Florida rescinded their harsh enforcement actions in favor of a 14-day self-quarantine. That action was not challenged further by Governor Cuomo.
Is It The Same Thing?
New York is not entirely restricting residents from hot spot states from entering, rather they enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine which is not the same as denying entry. Florida and Rhode Island had checkpoints set to screen motorists, Rhode Island was a bit further invasive. Those states simply imposed a 14-day quarantine as well.
However, the spirit of both the actions of New York and Florida was to protect each state’s people from a possible threat. While Cuomo found restrictions on New Yorkers to be something he considered suing states for enacting, the Governor finds it different when he’s protecting New Yorkers from a possible second outbreak.
It feels like the same intention only, this time, the shoe is on the other foot. Each came at a time when the target state was experiencing an outbreak but the other state was not and desired to keep it that way. That also feels very similar.
I’ve been conflicted about state’s rights when approaching COVID-19. I remarked in the past that Hawai’i should have the right to restrict whoever they so choose from entering. But upon further contemplation, I reconsidered that opinion as contrary to the Articles of Confederation. In this case, however, Governor Cuomo is doing what is best for his people as it suits them – that’s what he was elected to do. But it seems hypocritical to suggest that such a move is unconstitutional and threatens legal action to only then restrict 40% of the country. It may be the right answer for New York now, but wasn’t it also the right answer for Florida, and Rhode Island then?
What do you think? Are New York restrictions the best thing for New Yorkers? Is the action hypocritical or are circumstances different?