Effective at midnight Wednesday, March 27, anyone who is under 18 years of age and is not vaccinated against the measles will be prohibited from public places. Public assembly shall include public transportation vehicles, including but not limited to, publicly or privately owned buses or trains, but does not include taxi or livery vehicles. Parents will be held accountable for their children if they are found in violation of the state of emergency. Rockland County’s order was a confirmation of the seriousness of the situation. The actual emergency declaration will expire in 30 days. Rockland County has a population of more than 300,000 people and has had 153 confirmed cases of measles since October.
In December, in an effort to stop the spread of diseases, Rockland County issued exclusion orders barring unvaccinated children from schools with low vaccination rates. Measles is an extremely transmissible virus. Up to 90 percent of nonimmunized people close to an infected person will become infected. The disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. There have been other measles outbreaks in Washington State, Texas, Illinois and California. High-risk groups include pregnant women, children under 6 months of age, the immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, those who have not been vaccinated against the measles, and those who were born before 1957 and are immunosuppressed.