A county outside New York City has declared a state of emergency over a measles outbreak that has infected more than 150 people since last fall, hoping a ban against unvaccinated children in public places wakes up their parents to the seriousness of the problem.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said he took the action in hopes of reversing a recent uptick in cases amid disturbing reports that health workers were encountering resistance when investigating cases.
Under the declaration, which lasts for at least 30 days, anyone under 18 who is not vaccinated against measles is barred from public gathering places, including shopping malls, civic centers, schools, restaurants, and even houses of worship. Those in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.
The county is experiencing New York state’s longest measles outbreak since the disease was declared officially eliminated from the United States in 2000.
A version of this article appeared in the April 10, 2019 edition of Education Week as As Measles Spreads, N.Y. County Bans Unvaccinated Minors From Public Places