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COVID self-quarantine now a must, not a request; Siller responds to Cuomo’s executive order

Supervisor Gerry Siller announced that, in compliance with an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, those travelling to Shelter Island from certain states, are no longer requested to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, but must stay isolated for that period of time.

In a statement last week, the governor said that many states around the country are experiencing “increasing community spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. New York is taking action to ensure the continued safety of our phased reopening. Our entire response to this pandemic has been by the numbers, and we’ve set metrics for community spread just as we set metrics for everything.”

According to the governor’s directive, the quarantine applies to any person “arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average” (see below for states affected).

According to New York State: “Pursuant to Executive Order 205, anyone who violates a quarantine order may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days.”

At the July 9 Town Board meeting, Mr. Siller noted that the Island had low numbers of people infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, and two reported deaths. This is due, he said, partly to measures put in place by the governor, “partly by the work done by the town to address this pandemic, partly by the vigilance of all our residents, and partly dumb luck.”

When the pandemic struck, Mr. Siller added, the town “tried to enforce a mandatory quarantine of anyone traveling to Shelter Island from the tri-state area.” Signs were put up at the ferry terminals declaring the self-quarantine directives, which the town said prohibited visiting the IGA, the Pharmacy and other venues. A volunteer system was set up to get supplies to those in quarantine and the town emphasized that people were free to be outside, if they wore masks and kept social distancing procedures.

But the town’s efforts to make the new rules mandatory were in vain, since, Mr. Siller said, “any emergency declaration has to be approved by the state’s Department of Health, and when we sent the revised declaration it was rejected.”

The town kept the signs up at the terminals, however, and if people asked about the rules on self-quarantine, were told that the town couldn’t mandate it, but they were asked to take it upon themselves out of a sense of public duty.

Now, Mr. Siller, said, “we’re asking residents to comply with Gov. Cuomo’s order. Anyone traveling to our community from the states designated by the governor’s office should comply with the quarantine directives for the safety of all of us.”

Mr. Siller said if anyone needs guidance “or assistance through the period of quarantine, we are here to help.”

He admitted that the mandatory requirements from the governor will be difficult to enforce.

“We’ve been careful, and want to continue to be,” Mr. Siller said.

The full, updated list of states on the travel advisory is below:

•           Alabama

•           Arkansas

•           Arizona

•           California

•           Delaware

•           Florida

•           Georgia

•           Iowa

•           Idaho

•           Kansas

•           Louisiana

•           Mississippi

•           North Carolina

•           Nevada

•           Oklahoma

•           South Carolina

•           Tennessee

•           Texas

•           Utah