A county in New York has now declared a state of emergency, banning unvaccinated children from public places, such as restaurants, shops and places of worship, for the next 30 days or until they receive vaccination.
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The ban went into effect at midnight Wednesday as the state battles its largest measles outbreak in decades. The measles outbreak has infected more than 150 people since last fall and unvaccinated children are prohibited visiting public places until they receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
Rockland County executive Ed Day told FOX Business the county has been dealing with a measles outbreak for the past six months after seven unvaccinated individuals visited the county in New York City's northern suburbs from Europe.
"During this time, the mission of the Health Department was to maximize immunizations and minimize exposures," Day said during an interview on “Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast” Wednesday.
The county executive said the ban is mostly being employed as an “attention-getter.”
“We want people to understand the law is behind the effort now. We are not going to be checking [vaccination] cards or inspecting people,” Day said.
Under the emergency declaration, the only option Rockland County officials have is to charge an individual with a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a $500 fine and a possible sentence of up to six months in jail. Day said the charge would only be applied to parents who were found guilty of violating the ban.
“Nobody is looking to arrest anybody. We are looking for people to understand that this is serious and that you have a responsibility to society to cooperate with the health investigators, and you have a responsibility to society to get vaccinated.”
Day also told FOX Business that vaccination rates in Rockland County are currently at 72.9 percent, "woefully short of the 95 percent that provides us with herd immunity.”