Rhode Island Sends Cops, National Guard To Find New Yorkers For Quarantine Order
Providence, RI – Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday signed an executive order that mandated everyone who entered the state by vehicle, bus, or train from the state of New York to identify themselves to law enforcement and self-quarantine.
"No matter how you come to Rhode Island - bus, car, train, plane - you are ordered to quarantine for 14 days," Raimondo said, according to the Cranston Patch. "In my judgement this is the most prudent form of action in light of the crisis."
New York is now considered the epicenter of the rapidly-spreading pandemic.
Raimondo said she was putting National Guard soldiers at train and bus stations to collect identification and information from all new arrivals from New York.
Rhode Island State Police have stationed state troopers at the state borders to flag down all vehicles with New York license plates, the Cranston Patch reported.
The governor said the information being collected by National Guard members and state police would only be used for contact tracing by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
“I understand this is an extreme measure,” she told reporters at a press conference on March 27.
"This is different. This is unusual. This is radical," Raimondo admitted. "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."
The governor’s latest order added to an earlier edict that required anyone flying into the state from anywhere to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, the Cranston Patch reported.
National Guard solders have been stationed at T.F. Green Airport to collect information from arriving passengers.
Rhode Island State Police Colonel James Manni clarified that troopers would only be stopping passenger vehicles, not commercial vehicles or tractor trailers, the Cranston Patch reported.
"This is an unprecedented event in our history," Col. Manni said. "We are engaged to help with public health and safety. We fully realize that there is a lot of stress and anxiety at this time, and I assure you that all troopers will be polite, professional and treat people with dignity and respect."
The governor said that the state had ramped up testing with a goal of being able re-open businesses in the state soon, the Cranston Patch reported.
"My goal for our state is that by this time next week we will be able to be running a thousand tests a day... with reasonably rapid results to people. Today, we're at about half of that," Raimondo said. "I cannot reopen the economy unless we have a testing structure in place... That is a key milestone we need to get to before I can even think about reopening the economy."
The tiny state of Rhode Island has 188 cases of coronavirus but nobody has died from it yet, according to the Bing COVID-19 Tracker.
Rhode Island is not the first place in the United States to establish quarantine restrictions on arriving travelers.
Most travelers heading to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or Florida will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrivals due to the rampant spread of the coronavirus.