As the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the health and safety of our world, more and more necessary restrictive measures are being enforced by federal/local governments worldwide to protect its citizens. Here in the United States, a national state of emergency has been declared and all non-essential businesses have closed, along with most colleges and universities. Travel bans are beginning to appear more and more, especially in densely populated metropolitan areas such as New York City, which has the most number of cases in the US overall.
Speaking of travel bans, however, the entire state of Texas is now expanding their quarantine requirements for out-of-state travelers. There’s been a call for more restrictions being placed on any individual who has traveled by plane within the past two months/near future. Even domestic flights within the US pose a major risk, so on Sunday (3/29), Texas Governor Greg Abbott targeted some of the states most populated spots and made it a requirement that any individual who traveled by air to/from California, Washington State, New York, and several other territories in the US, must self-quarantine for two weeks once they arrive back in Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott
This measure had already been put into place earlier in the month, however, it only covered travelers from three states, so he wanted to expand upon it to really be safe; the order now includes Louisiana, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Miami, all based on case data.
Abbott is also directing state troopers to monitor bordering areas of these places, and to enforce the quarantine order for motorists driving into Texas as well from states such as Louisiana. When an individual is coming from one of these restricted states and into Texas, they should expect to be pulled over and questioned on where they plan to self-quarantine for 14 days. Unannounced visits without enough verification/compliance with these measures could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. While that may sound like a harsh punishment for simply driving into Texas, remember, these are peoples lives on the line.
The Department of State Health Services in Texas has reported that they’ve endured 34 deaths from over 2,500 cases of covid-19. Governor Abbott claimed to be following the lead of Rhode Island, who’s government also enforced a specific travel ban on residents coming from New York when this pandemic first began; Rhode Island now expanded that policy to all 50 states.
Other states that have followed suit include Florida, which has gone after restricting travelers from New York and Louisiana, setting up checkpoints at certain borders to enforce these policies. There’s still a call to completely quarantine New York City as a whole to really prevent the amount of people who are moving around/to and from the five boroughs. President Trump, however, has not made any serious measures so far regarding travel restrictions within the US, leaving it to the states.
“On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the ….Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!” Trump tweeted.
For now, make sure you’re staying updated on your specific states measures/restrictions within the coming weeks. As we’ve seen, this virus has become a day-to-day battle, in the sense that every day we’re making new developments at combating the spread and reducing the amount of access to the public it has. So keep washing your hands, staying home as much as possible, and remaining socially distant from as many people as you can.