Q: I have been staying in Florida during the pandemic, but am now planning to return to my Manhattan co-op. Do the quarantine restrictions apply to New York residents? If I inform my co-op that I’ve been in Florida, could they keep me from coming back to my apartment, or stop me from leaving if I need to go out to get groceries?
A: The travel restrictions apply to anyone coming into New York from an affected state who will be staying for more than 24 hours, with exceptions for essential workers. So, yes, the rules include New York residents. As of July 7, the restrictions affected 19 states that are hot spots around the country. Travelers are expected to self-quarantine, following Department of Health guidelines. Violate the rules and you could be subject to fines up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days.
Your co-op cannot prohibit you from entering your own apartment building. But state reopening guidelines give building management wide latitude for visitors, so the board may be able to prohibit a guest coming from an affected state.
“I dealt with a shareholder who had their son and his girlfriend coming up from Florida,” said Steven D. Sladkus, a real estate lawyer and a partner at the Manhattan law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas. “We had management contact the shareholder and say that they were more than welcome to stay if they properly quarantined. But if they can’t, they cannot stay here.” The couple subsequently left.
You should tell building management that you were recently in Florida and need to self-quarantine, as the building will need to make arrangements to collect your trash and deliver food and essentials to your door. Management does not want you walking down the hall to the trash shoot, or passing in and out of the lobby to go to the grocery store.
“You certainly have a moral and ethical obligation and so far as a legal one too, to disclose the fact that you have just returned from a hot-spot state,” Mr. Sladkus said.
The self-quarantine rules require you to stay in your apartment during the entire 14 days. If there are other members of your household who were not in Florida with you, you would need to stay away from them, in an enclosed room with a bathroom that you do not share. If you leave your apartment during the time, building staff or a neighbor could report you to the city Health Department by calling 311 or file a complaint with the state online or by calling 833-789-0470.
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