An attorney filed a lawsuit and sought an emergency temporary restraining order against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday over new restrictions requiring individuals traveling to the region from states experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases to self-quarantine, arguing it is an “abridgment” of his right to travel and “unconstitutional.”
California-based attorney Jon Corbett, who maintains property in Brooklyn, N.Y., filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York on Thursday, over Cuomo’s order that “those arriving to New York from states with ‘high’ per capita daily or total infection rates be subject to mandatory quarantines under penalty of large fines and arrest.”
Corbett was scheduled to travel from New York to Nevada and California over the next week, returning to New York in approximately two weeks, and is challenging Cuomo’s order as a “violation of his federal constitutional rights.” At this stage, Cuomo’s order would not apply to either of those two western states, though it’s unclear whether the list of states could expand.
According to the filing, Corbett claims that Cuomo’s order “discourages travel in both directions,” while noting that it “is not clear that the number of active infections in New York would increase at all, since unwittingly infected New Yorkers would be just as likely to leave as unwittingly infected out-of-staters would be to arrive.”
Corbett, in the filing, argued that there are “far less intrusive means by which Cuomo could accomplish his stated goal” of containing the novel coronavirus.
“The new quarantine order basically seeks to try to protect an area that is already infected with coronavirus from becoming infected with coronavirus,” Corbett told Fox News in a phone interview Thursday.
“It’s a measure that has no chance of success because the cat is already out of the bag,” Corbett said. “Whether this is some kind of political retribution for states that had put restrictions on New Yorkers, or just a misguided policy, it infringes on travel rights of New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers.”
Corbett added that the new restrictions are “an abridgment of our right to travel, which, in my opinion, is unconstitutional because it doesn’t have a real or substantial relationship to the government’s interest in protecting public health.”
Corbett’s lawsuit was filed just a day after Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced a tristate joint-travel advisory imposing a 14-day quarantine on individuals traveling to the region from states experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
“It’s just common sense,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “We don’t want to see the infection rate increase here.”
According to the three governors, individuals who do not voluntarily quarantine and follow the restrictions would be subject to fines between $2,000 to $10,000.
The current restrictions apply to South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Washington and Utah.
The criteria for states that have a high infection rate are 10 infections per 100,000 residents on a seven-day rolling average or 10 percent of the state’s total population infected on a seven-day rolling average, according to Cuomo.
Corbett told Fox News that he expects the judge in the Southern District of New York will take action by the end of the day Friday, noting that the judge could grant or deny the motion, schedule a hearing, or schedule a hearing for a later date, depending on his interpretation of the “urgency” of the matter.
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
As of Thursday, New York reported more than 390,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 24,700 deaths.