NY to end mandatory quarantine for US travelers on April 1

NEW YORK (AP) — Travelers to New York from other U.S. states will no longer be required to quarantine starting April 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced March 11.

Cuomo, who has been easing coronavirus restrictions amid calls for his resignation over sexual harassment allegations, said the two-week quarantine for domestic travelers will be recommended but no longer mandated. International travelers will still be required to quarantine, he said.

The Democratic governor said in a statement that New York is “winning the footrace between the infection rate and the vaccination rate, allowing us to open new sectors of our economy and start our transition to a new normal in a post-pandemic world.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said city officials were not consulted about the move to end the quarantine requirement, and he questioned its wisdom.

“I believe in local control, and here’s another case where New York City was not consulted even though we’re one of the biggest cities in the world and 43% of the state’s population,” de Blasio said at a virtual coronavirus briefing. He added, “Of course I have concerns about this.”

Dr. Jay Varma, senior health adviser to the mayor, said the city is still “at a very tenuous point” despite rising vaccination levels because highly transmissible variants of the coronavirus now account for more than half of new infections.

“So we do feel really strongly that it’s important for us to be as cautious as we possibly can, and we know that one of the ways to help reduce infection is to limit the amount of travel that’s going in and out of the city,” Varma said.

City and state officials have pointed to declining rates of hospitalization for COVID-19, however, as a sign of progress in emerging from the pandemic.

Cuomo said New Yorkers “should wear masks, wash their hands and stay socially distanced to slow the spread and save lives as we work to defeat the COVID beast together.”