COVID-19 Forcibly Quarantining Out-of-Towners

COVID-19 Forcibly Quarantining Out-of-Towners

Americans are leaving cities hit hard by COVID-19 for less-impacted areas, sparking a mob mentality in some small towns bent on keeping the pandemic at bay. In an incident that drew the ire of Rep. Genevieve McDonald (D-Maine), a group of reportedly armed residents on the coastal island of Vinalhaven cut down and dragged a tree into the middle of a road in an effort to forcibly quarantine three out-of-town renters whom they believed could be infected. The legislator warned against an “us vs. them” mindset and, like the Vinalhaven sheriff’s office, emphasized that Americans have the right move around the country unrestricted. That being said, some jurisdictions are taking unusual precautions to protect themselves. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is currently closed to non-residents, Hawaii is asking tourists to keep away for a month, and arrivals to Alaska — regardless of residency — are expected to quarantine themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, issued an advisory over the weekend calling for residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to avoid “nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.”

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From “‘Group of Local Vigilantes’ Try to Forcibly Quarantine Out-of-Towners, Officials Say” New York Times (03/30/20) Ortiz, Aimee

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