The National Guard Seeks Fleeing New Yorkers

'I know this is unusual,' says Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2020 12:30 PM CDT
One State's National Guard Targets Fleeing New Yorkers
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo gives and update on the coronavirus during a press conference in the State Room of the Rhode Island State House Sunday, March 22, 2020, in Providence, RI.   (Kris Craig/Providence Journal via AP, Pool)

New Yorkers seeking refuge in Rhode Island might want to think again. The state's police and National Guard are pulling over drivers with New York plates, and knocking on doors for recent travelers from the Empire State—America's epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak, NBC News reports. Such visitors are told to quarantine for two weeks, or face 90 days in prison and a $500 fine. "I know this is unusual," says Gov. Gina Raimondo. "I know this is extreme. And I know some people don't agree with it. It's absolutely not a decision I make lightly." Raimondo says her state isn't ready for a major spike in COVID-19 cases: "We are not set up for that," she explains. For more:

  • But she's getting some pretty serious pushback, Fox News reports. "I don’t like it socially or culturally," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. "I don't like what it says about us as one state, one family. Also, I don't believe it's medically justified."
  • For its part, the ACLU calls Raimondo's plan "ill-advised and unconstitutional" because the "under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate simply does not, and cannot, constitute 'probable cause' to allow police to stop a car."
  • But consider the math: New York state has 52,000 cases, per CNN, and Rhode Island a little over 200. "Right now we have a pinpointed risk," Raimondo tells Bloomberg. "That risk is called New York City."
  • Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida are also ordering quarantines for recent visitors, Politico reports. They vary in scope, but appear to be focused on the stream of residents flowing out of New Orleans and New York City.
  • President Trump is considering an enforced quarantine to keep people from leaving New York State and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, the AP reports. Meanwhile, Cuomo has pushed his state's presidential primary from April to June.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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