New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has urged people not travel out of the state this Thanksgiving and is calling on the federal government to mandate providing a negative coronavirus test result before boarding a plane.
The mayor made the plea Tuesday during a press conference after the city recently experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, leading to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordering mandatory periods of quarantine for people traveling in from 47 states.
The seven-day average for new cases across the city stood at 528 on Monday, which is below the threshold of 550.
But several hotspots in Brooklyn - including Borough Park, Mapleton and Midwood - remain in the 'red zone' indicating the locations of the highest number of cases.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers 'Do not travel out of state for the holiday' on Tuesday
The mayor is pushing for a mandate that requires negative tests before flying out of JFK and LaGuardia airports
De Blasio said the city wants to 'make it easy and clear that anyone coming off a plane should immediately get tested as well.' A passenger airplane lands at LaGuardia Airport on October 1
Of the 496,655 positive cases reported over the past three days in New York State on Sunday, 258,979 were from NYC and 424 of those were new cases from the city, Cuomo reported Monday.
The seven-day rolling average of daily cases in the city was 355 cases on Sunday.
With the Big Apple daily positivity rate at 2.48% and the seven-day rolling average 1.66% on Monday, De Blasio also warned that he will shut schools again if the weekly average figure reached 3%.
'I hate to say it, but I have to urge all New Yorkers: Do not travel out of state for the holiday,' he said of advice from health officials.
'Realize that by doing that, unfortunately, you could be putting yourself and your family in danger and also the risk of bringing the disease back here.'
De Blasio acknowledged that the holiday season is when New Yorkers want to see their loved one most and sympathized with those concerned about older family members.
He also tweeted his plea for people in the Big Apple to forgo travel this Thanksgiving holiday
Travelers at the American Airlines Terminal 8 check-in counter at JFK airport on October 1
A man gets his temperature checked during testing for COVID-19 before boarding his flight at the new testing facility XpresCheck at Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal B on September 8, 2020 in Newark, New Jersey
However he determined that leaving the state was risky considering the rising numbers around the country and across the globe.
'Everyone is going to make their own decision, I know there are painful choices. I get it. But my recommendation is to avoid travel this holiday season. Stay safe, to keep us all safe,' de Blasio said.
'I can't see traveling to family in other places,' he said about his own plans. 'I can't see it working for anybody. It's sad, it's very sad. I really really love it, care about it.
'But, I'm sort of telling myself what I'm telling everyone else: This may be the one year in our life we have to change our patterns, just take a deep breath and know that next year will be better.'
Temperature checks have been taking place at JFK and New Jersey's Newark Airport which is often used by those visiting and living in NYC. Until the last couple of months, Newark only administered tests to airline employees and related parties.
XpresSpa Group has been switching from providing spa services at airports in the midst of the global pandemic to carrying out tests.
Although the airline industry is reporting record losses due to the pandemic and some have made plans to start filling middle seats again in a bid to increase earnings, the mayor indicated that it wasn't a good idea for New Yorkers to travel now considering the health risk.
Earlier this month, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) reported that there had only been 44 instances of COVID-19 transmission linked to flights out of 1.2 billion journeys taken this year.
However it doesn't look into chances of being infected while not in the assigned aircraft seat and at the airport.
Dr David Freedman, of the University of Alabama, said IATA's statistics failed to take into account how many