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Raimondo issued a new order Saturday night that repealed the quarantine mandate for New Yorkers and issued a quarantine order for "any person coming to Rhode Island by any mode of transportation after visiting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