The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division has overturned a decision in a lawsuit over the state's unreasonable COVID-19 quarantine regulations in a move that could pave the way for quarantine camps in New York.
At the heart of the case is Rule 2.13 of New York's public health law, which gives state health officials the power to order anyone who is suspected of having a communicable disease like COVID-19 to be placed in temporary housing against their will. It allows them to issue isolation or quarantine orders without any proof of an individual being infected. The rule also allows them to force individuals to stay in their home or go to other locations that public health authorities consider appropriate. It gives authorities the power to hold people for as long as they wish.
The plaintiffs – who include Senator George Borrello, Congressman Mike Lawler, Assemblyman Chris Tague and citizens' group Uniting NYS – had originally won their suit against the administration of Governor Kathy Hochul in 2022. On that occasion, the rule was voided by State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Ploetz on the grounds that it is a violation of state law and "ignores the balancing act between an individual's rights and the need for public safety."
However, the state appealed the ruling, leading to the new case before the Appellate Division's Fourth Department in Rochester that did not go in the plaintiffs' favor. Protesters gathered outside the courthouse while the oral arguments in the case were being heard holding up signs with slogans such as "No Quarantine Camps."