Rhode Island police began stopping cars with New York plates Friday. On Saturday, the National Guard will help them conduct house-to-house searches to find people who traveled from New York and demand 14 days of self-quarantine.
“Right now we have a pinpointed risk,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “That risk is called New York City.”
New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., on Friday reporting a total of 44,000 cases.
Rhode Island has just over 200, and it has begun an aggressive campaign to keep the virus out and New Yorkers contained, over objections from civil liberties advocates.
Raimondo, a Democrat, said she had consulted lawyers and said while she couldn’t close the border, she felt confident she could enforce a quarantine.
Many New Yorkers have summer houses in Rhode Island, especially in tony Newport, and the governor said the authorities would be checking there.
“Yesterday I announced and today I reiterated: Anyone coming to Rhode Island in any way from New York must be quarantined,” the governor said. “By order. Will be enforced. Enforceable by law.”
Raimondo signed an executive order Thursday that applies to anyone who has been in New York during the past two weeks and through at least April 25. It doesn’t apply to public health, public safety, or health-care workers.
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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Prashant Gopal and Brian K. Sullivan