THOMPSON, CT – First Selectwoman Amy St. Onge may face a large fine for violating the state’s travel restrictions. She said she believes the fine is politically motivated and will appeal it.
On Labor Day, St. Onge and her husband Jason left for Altus, Oklahoma, where her son Caleb is stationed at the Air Force training base and scheduled to be leaving soon on his first deployment. After she returned, she was notified by email she was in violation of Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order regarding travel to and from states with high coronavirus infection rates.
“A complaint was filed against Jason and I with regard to our travel to Oklahoma to visit Caleb. We will be fined $1000 for not filling out the travel documents, quarantining or having a COVID-19 test,” St. Onge posted on Facebook.
Travelers from Oklahoma and 34 other states and territories either have to self-quarantine for 14 days or have proof of a negative coronavirus test result within 72 hours of arriving in the Connecticut. They may self-quarantine at their home, a hotel or other temporary lodging.
“Jason and I took precautions during our travel,” St. Onge wrote. “We purchased first class tickets to avoid people, wore masks, avoided large crowds. Not difficult to avoid crowds since Altus is a small city of just 18000 people and there was not much to do there anyway. We enjoyed time with our son, period. We spent NO time in Oklahoma City (which is where the numbers are high).”
States are put on the advisory list if they have a daily positive coronavirus test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10 percent or higher positive rate over a seven-day rolling average. Failure to complete a travel health form carries a civil penalty of $1,000 for each violation. The first selectwoman said she was unaware that Oklahoma was on the list, but acknowledged that “ignorance is no excuse.”
Still, she said that under the same circumstances, she’d do it all over again:
“I am willing to pay the fine. I would accept a fine of 5 million dollars if it meant I could hug my son prior to his deployment. That’s where I stand on this issue.”
St. Onge, a Republican, believes the complaint was politically motivated, noting that the email from the state came to her first selectwoman email address. She said she intends to appeal the fine when it is handed down. During that process, St. Onge said she expects to learn the name of the currently anonymous party who filed the complaint.