Last month we discussed reports of Maryland State Police and National Guard units being employed to stop cars with New York license plates and discourage them from entering their state. Travelers were warned that they had to agree to quarantine themselves for fourteen days if they proceeded into Maryland. While the intention was to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the implications for the constitutional rights of citizens were alarming, to say the least.
Rather than being abandoned, this trend has actually expanded to many other spots around the nation. The Washington Post reports that multiple states are engaging in these types of shakedown tactics. State troopers in both Florida and Texas are forcing travelers with out of state license plates to sign forms promising to go into quarantine for two weeks or face possible fines or even jail time. They are also receiving ominous warnings to “be prepared” for a follow-up visit to ensure they are complying.
Some of these travel restrictions are even being put in place for intrastate travel. At the beginning of the Florida bridge that takes you out to the Keys, troopers are demanding some form of ID showing that you live in the Keys or you get turned around and sent back where you came from. Some legal experts are describing these restrictions as being both unprecedented and unconstitutional. And now, multiple people have filed lawsuits to curb this behavior by state governments.