Rhode Island reverses order to make only New York visitors self-quarantine after Cuomo threatens lawsuit

The new order mandates all out-of-state visitors stay in isolation for 14 days.

March 29, 2020, 3:10 PM

A political battle between Rhode Island and New York's top leaders over new coronavirus precautions ended this weekend after Gov. Gina Raimondo changed her executive order that mandated New Yorkers who traveled to her state be quarantined, regardless of symptoms.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened lawsuits against Raimondo's March 27 order, which issued fines and other penalties for New Yorkers that violated the rule. Rhode Island officers and state troopers were out flagging cars with New York plates at the state border during the earlier part of the weekend, which prompted Cuomo to call his fellow Democrat Raimondo on Saturday.

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"We had a conversation. I don't think the order was called for, I don't think it was legal, I don't think it was neighborly," Cuomo said during his daily briefing Sunday morning.

PHOTO: National Guard troops listen as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the press at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, March 27, 2020.
National Guard troops listen as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the press at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, March 27, 2020. The New York National Guard, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Javits employees are constructing a 1,000-bed facility at the center, as the state tries to contain the rising coronavirus cases.
Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Raimondo issued a new order Saturday night that repealed the quarantine mandate for New Yorkers and issued a quarantine order for "any person coming to Rhode Island by any mode of transportation after visiting another state for a non-work-related purpose."

Troopers and officers said they would now stop all out-of-state visitors and record their information if they were planning to stay in the state.

PHOTO: A sign instructs motorists with New York license plates to pull over at a checkpoint on I-95 where New Yorkers must pull over and provide contact information and are told to self-quarantine for two weeks, March 28, 2020, in Hope Valley, R.I.
A sign instructs motorists with New York license plates to pull over at a checkpoint on I-95 over the border from Connecticut where New Yorkers must pull over and provide contact information and are told to self-quarantine for two weeks, March 28, 2020, in Hope Valley, R.I.
David Goldman/AP

Raimondo said Rhode Island initially focused on New York travelers, because it was the state with the most COVID-19 cases.

"The rate of infection we are seeing in New York City, we are seeing it in other places," she said at a news conference Sunday.

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Raimondo brushed aside any notion that she changed her executive order over Cuomo's threat of a lawsuit.

"He's welcome to sue if he wants, I'm on firm legal ground," she said.

PHOTO: Gov. Gina Raimondo gives an update on the coronavirus during a news conference in the State Room of the Rhode Island State House in Providence, R.I.
FILE PHOTO: Gov. Gina Raimondo gives an update on the coronavirus during a news conference in the State Room of the Rhode Island State House in Providence, R.I.
Kris Craig/AP

Cuomo said it was normal that people would act out of fear, but said New York would not take actions specifically targeted at its residents lightly.

"New York has what it needs and no one is going to attack New York unfairly and no one is going to deprive New York of what it needs," he said.

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