You Can’t Wall Yourself Off From COVID-19

Politico writes about Graham County, North Carolina:

With the coronavirus beginning to spread nearby, all accommodation businesses in the county—hotels, motels, guesthouses, campgrounds—had to close by March 23 at noon; exceptions would be made only for people who could prove the need for a “legitimate work-related stay.” What’s more, starting on March 27, anyone traveling on Highways 129 and NC-28—the two roads into Graham County—would have to show a county address or, for nonresidents, proof of property ownership in order to enter. Anyone seeking to enter for business purposes would have to apply for a permit. Checkpoints with orange cones and barricades soon went up, and sheriff’s deputies camped out under tents around the clock.

Is this even legal? Can counties just block off federal and state highways whenever they want to? And what if I’m in Chilhowee and I need to get to Cowee? That’s a helluva detour if I can’t take Highway 28 through Graham County:

I sympathize with the problems faced by small, rural counties with no hospitals and sparse health care in general. But surely this isn’t the solution. As long as residents are free to come and go, you’re eventually going to get some cases of COVID-19. And once you’ve got a few, it’s only a matter of time until you have a lot. In the 21st century, it’s just not possible to wall yourself off from the world.

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