De Blasio urges New Yorkers to stay home for holidays

Santa may not be coming to Macy’s this year, but Mayor Bill de Blasio is already playing the Grinch — telling people not to leave New York to visit friends and family for Thanksgiving or any of the winter holidays to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hate to say it but I have to urge all New Yorkers — do not travel out of state for the holidays,” de Blasio said Tuesday during his daily press briefing from City Hall.

“Realize that by doing that, unfortunately you could be putting yourself and your family in danger and the risk of bringing the disease back here,” de Blasio said.

He’s also asking the Trump administration to impose a COVID-19 testing mandate for all domestic and international airline passengers.

“This is the moment for the federal government to create a mandate that anyone who gets on an airplane has had a negative coronavirus test within the previous 72 hours,” de Blasio said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio

The mayor has no authority to make the air travel rule himself, and he is only asking New Yorkers to stay home for the holidays, not requiring them to do so.

He vowed tougher local enforcement of the state’s quarantine rule under which travelers returning to or visiting New York from 40 hotspot states and US territories on a restricted list must self-isolate for 14 days. So far, just one person’s been busted for breaking the order.

Some of city’s daily coronavirus indicators are on the rise. Reported COVID-19 cases on a seven-day average are close to the threshold of 550 and nearly 2.5% of city residents tested positive for the virus on Sunday, the most recent data available. But hospitalizations, deaths and the week-long average for positive tests remain low.

“We have a real threat of a second wave here in New York City,” de Blasio said. “We’ve been fighting it back, but we can’t take it lightly.”