COVID-19 form will greet travelers at their next airport arrival

Jul 14, 2020

When travelers arrive at airports across New York State Tuesday, they will be greeted with State Health Department forms -- if they have come from the array of 19 states where the COVID-19 cases are high, like Florida and Arizona.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed the rules Monday, saying he wanted to prevent the virus from flying back into the state, as it originally did from Europe and Asia. The governor said he is tired of the airport checks being ignored.

"Non-compliance can lead to outbreaks. We're seeing it in Rensselaer County now, where people came up from Georgia," Cuomo said. "We're going to have the Department of Health issue an emergency health order today, that will mandate that out-of-state travelers from the states that are quarantined must provide a location form before they leave the airport."

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said the state Health Department has been issuing forms to travelers from those states, but some people ignored the forms and there were later "snitch" calls about them.

Credit File Photo / WBFO News

"We have a form on our website, where you can self-report that you have traveled or you can report your friends or family or enemies that have traveled and we are receiving a lot of those, too, and we're following up on that."

The county has received more than 1,000 calls about loud parties and bars not following the mask and social distancing rules, plus travelers from high-coronavirus states who just blew through airport procedures.

"We are receiving quite a number of restaurant complaints since the beginning of our COVID-19 pandemic," said Burstein. "Our Erie County Health Department has received 1,100 COVID-related complaints and as of July 1, we had received 159. So this has really stepped up."

Nine bars have been nailed for not following the rules and many travelers have been put into quarantine after being spotted by state and county health departments.