Coronavirus

Lawmakers urging halt of NYC travel

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — With a known epicenter of the coronavirus so close to us, Eyewitness News has brought you the latest concerning travel to and from New York City.

Major carriers like Martz and Shortline have shied away from people traveling from the Big Apple to northeast Pennsylvania. Local lawmakers have gotten some results and while there’s no routes coming to Wilkes-Barre, some continue to places like Scranton and Hazleton.

“We need companies to make a sacrifice right now, unfortunately, and limit the amount of travel, especially when they’re bringing people from hot spots to communities that cannot handle that overflow,” Representative Tarah Toohil said.

Sentiments echoed from a letter Toohil penned to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Recently, major bus companies and even transit vans have halted the flow of people coming to our region from New York City, far and away the most affected region from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

Toohil is calling on both governors and the president to come up with a plan.

“We know that Governor Cuomo is inundated with a lot of tasks, but we’re asking Governors Wolf and Cuomo as well as the Trump administration, to look at some sort of special quarantine that would limit this travel,” Toohil said.

With local lawmakers urging that halt of transportation from New York City to NEPA, we caught the only Greyhound bus coming in from New York and decided to see what people on that bus had to say.

“I’m going to stay here and I’m going to be isolating at home, you know,” Alvero Medina said.

Medina moved from Queens to Peckville a few months back. Like many, he supports essential travel and plans to stay grounded in Pennsylvania for now.

“I consider coming back home essential. There’s two sides to every coin. If they wanted to block the travel, I would fully understand,” Medina said.

Medina says Port Authority in New York City is a ghost town and that leads him to believe travelers are taking the warnings seriously on both sides of the route.

“Honestly I saw in a place that you usually see thousands of people, I saw 20,” Medina said.

Like we’ve been reporting, many companies are curbing their services to help deter any spread. Greyhound only has one bus a day coming from New York City to Scranton and another to Hazleton and those are far from full loads.

Eyewitness News reached out to Greyhound Monday for comment, but have not heard back. We’ll continue to bring you the latest on lawmakers’ efforts and company responses.

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