Vacation home travel ban not on Cuomo’s agenda

Hamptons, North Fork and upstate towns plea for migration from NYC to stop

Mar.March 26, 2020 02:18 PM
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images; Sue via Flickr)

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images; Sue via Flickr)

Requests by the Hamptons, North Fork and upstate to stop the virus-inspired migration from New York City have not resonated with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The popular summer destinations say they have been overrun by city residents fleeing the five boroughs, which have been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

But Cuomo said at a Thursday morning press conference, “I don’t have any travel ban on my agenda.”

In a message to constituents Wednesday, Scott Russell, the supervisor of Southold Town on the North Fork, said the virus had put a “tremendous strain on our resources” even before people began flocking there from the city.

“I am joining Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman in requesting that Governor Cuomo put a travel ban to the east end in place, limiting travel to only essential personnel,” he wrote. “Our resources are scarce, the risk of spread is too high for a town which is already seeing more than its share of confirmed cases and deaths. Southold should NOT be treated as someone’s personal isolation unit.”

His message was far more diplomatic than recent ones from some locals in the Catskills and Hamptons and on the Jersey Shore. Facebook pages and other online sites have been filling up with expletive-laden missives about how city dwellers are bringing the coronavirus to their communities — not to mention clearing the shelves of local supermarkets.

Initially, the vast majority of the state’s coronavirus cases were in the five boroughs, although the percentage has been dropping and now stands at just over half. The numbers reflect only New Yorkers who have been tested, however, and initially the vast majority of testing was being done in the city.

In lieu of a travel ban, Russell requested anyone relocating to his neck of Suffolk County self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, then continue to practice social distancing and not stockpile food.

“We have a limited number of stores who are trying to keep their shelves stocked and ration out supplies as best they can,” he wrote. “Local residents are finding it difficult to meet even their most basic needs. Unnecessary hoarding and the recent, sudden expansion of the population by those who come are making this far worse.”

The White House also requested New Yorkers self-quarantine upon arrival anywhere else, and Florida’s governor has mandated it. But the virus has already spread to all 50 states.

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