Domestic Travel Bans Loom

Travel Ban
Domestic air travel will soon be halted due to the coronavirus. Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash

If the federal government does not declare a total travel ban due to the coronavirus, we must consider the possibility that the ever-escalating steps being taken by the nation’s governors could result in a defacto travel ban, at least in some regions of the country.  This will limited your ability to move about your state, cross state lines, or even cross county or city lines.

If you are planning to bug out leave soon or risk getting trapped in your current location.

It Starts with Planes and Trains

A shutdown of domestic commercial air travel is a strong possibility, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that many in the industry consider it “inevitable.”

Even if you manage to fly somewhere, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a hotel.  Hotel occupancy rates have dropped so low that many companies are shutting down their hotels, finding it isn’t profitable to keep them staffed.

Florida saw so many New Yorkers arrive after New York instituted its “Stay Home” order that it called for criminal penalties if arriving New Yorkers didn’t quarantine themselves for two weeks. As the Miami Herald reports:

Gov. Ron DeSantis will require anyone on a flight from the New York, New Jersey or Connecticut area to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Florida in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus, he announced late Monday.

Amtrak is shutting down some services and reducing services on many routes due to lower passenger volume.  It may be shut down completely at some point.

At some point soon,if you want to go somewhere, it will have to be by car.

Counties and Cities are Next

On the local level, many emergency declarations give mayors, county managers, and governors the power to shut down roadways. At least two counties in North Carolina have already done so with another closure to go into effect Friday:

Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020, checkpoints will be established at entry points to Graham County and no visitors will be allowed access. Permanent residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of Graham County businesses, and non- resident vendors will be allowed access to Graham County.

What if this becomes a trend? For example, Sullivan County New York has 30 cases, but directly to their south Orange County has 498. Should the Sullivan Sheriff Department block off roads and only allow Orange County residents through? Will we see local municipalities closing off exits to Interstate highways for fear that travelers may be bringing in the virus?

Similarly, Colorado has 912 reported cases while Wyoming has only 29. Should Wyoming close their border with Colorado?

When the Wuhan Flu started spreading in China, Americans stopped going to Chinese food restaurants. Do you really think rural counties with little or no COVID-19 cases are are going to welcome escapees from urban areas with high infection rates? Florida deciding to quarantine people from New York is just the start.

We’ve been living in interesting times. My fear is that when people start to turn against each other out of fear we’re suddenly going to be living in dangerous times.