Roadblocks are beginning to emerge in several states in an effort to stop the coronavirus’ spread from big cities that have been hammered with infections.
Matt Lewis, the senior columnist at the Daily Beast, wrote an opinion article, “It”s Every State for Itself Now in Pandemic Panic.”
“To paraphrase Southwest Airlines, you are no longer free to move about the country,” he wrote.
His column pointed out that southern states are beginning to follow in the footsteps of their northern cousins in restricting interstate travel. Officials in North Carolina and Florida have ordered some roads to be barricaded against visitors.
Fannin County, Ga., issued a shelter-in-place order that essentially bans all “tourism rentals” as nonessential. WSB-TV reported that the local sheriff’s office last weekend refused to allow residents from Atlanta access to their cabins.
“I have received multiple inquiries wanted to know if people from Atlanta can come to their cabins. The answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Atlanta is under a “Shelter in Place” order. Our ordinance specifically prohibits this,” the Fannin Sheriff’s administration posted on Facebook.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., has set up checkpoints on highways in the state to try to stop the flow of people from Louisiana, which has one of the highest rates of infection in the country.
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Bloomberg Government reported that under the plans Florida law enforcement will be on the look out for out-of-state license plates and if you “blow through the checkpoint, they’ll be able to pull you over,” DeSantis said, according to Bloomberg.
States have taken the steps to order mandatory self-isolation for visitors from hard-hit areas like New York and New Orleans.
BuzzFeed News reported that Dare County, N.C., may have the strictest travel ban in the U.S. Under the county’s order, even those who own second homes on the beach there are barred from entering. The move is considered unusual. For example, wealthy New Yorkers have packed their bags for the Hamptons amid the outbreak.
The argument is that these smaller municipalites cannot handle a large influx of new residents who may come down with the virus. Large cities like Atlanta and New York are better equipped to handle a pandemic-level of patients.
“We have basically two roads leading in and have deputies stationed at checkpoints,” Dorothy Hester, a spokesperson for Dare County, told BuzzFeed News. She told the news website that entry permits are being granted to full-time residents. There is no expiration date on the ban, the report said.
She continued, “With each of those owners, you bring family, extended family,” said Hester. “We are just not set up to sustain that, especially if we were to get some type of community spread of the coronavirus.”