Rhode Island Police Targeting New Yorkers for Mandatory Coronavirus Quarantine

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Thursday that establishes strict mandatory quarantine rules for those arriving in the state from nearby New York.

Anyone coming to Rhode Island in any way from New York must be quarantined,” said the governor at a press conference. “By order. Will be enforced. Enforceable by law.”

The executive order will require New Yorkers to identify themselves to state law enforcement or National Guard personnel and place themselves into self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. The Empire State is the national ground zero for the Chinese coronavirus epidemic, and Rhode Island’s government appears highly skeptical of New Yorkers fleeing from the state.

Governor Raimondo admitted that the executive order is an “an extreme measure,” but justified its implication on the basis of the coronavirus epidemic’s severity. “I don’t want anyone to panic. If anything, Rhode Islanders should breathe a sigh of relief. We are doing things to keep ourselves safe.”

National Guard personnel are being posted at the state’s major airports, and state police are stopping passenger traffic that enters from New York. Law enforcement will follow up with New York residents that enter the state to ensure that they’re complying the law.

Raimondo established real penalties for New Yorkers that violate the self-quarantine rule, subjecting them to a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or even 90 days in prison.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his disapproval of the move, claiming it unfairly singles out New Yorkers in a time when Americans should be uniting to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

I don’t like it socially or culturally. I don’t like what it says about us as one state, one family. Also, I don’t believe it’s medically justified.

Florida, Maryland, Texas and California have enacted similar public health measures that scrutinize New Yorkers, but Rhode Island’s appears to be the most forceful to enter effect thus far.

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