- Rhode Island State Police are pulling over those with New York license plates "due to New York's high rate of the COVID-19 cases" a trooper told Insider.
- Rhode Island authorities will advise the New Yorkers to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Police will then refer the drivers to the National Guard, which is tracking New Yorkers in the state.
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State Police in Rhode Island are pulling over cars with New York registrations traveling on I-95 and advising them to self-quarantine. New York has more than 30,000 cases of coronavirus and is an epicenter of the outbreak.
"We're stopping vehicles with NY registrations in an effort to get ahead of the medical pandemic going on, due to New York's high rate of the COVID-19 cases," Trooper Felice, who declined to give his first name, told Insider on Friday. "They're being advised that if they're residing in Rhode Island, like going to a beach house or something like that, they are required to do a 14-day quarantine. If they're just passing through the state, they're OK."
The move comes after an executive order from Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. In addition to the interstate stops, Raimondo pledged to put officers at bus stops and train stations to identify New Yorkers and issue self-quarantine orders.
"We're stopping vehicles going into the state and telling them to go to the National Guard for more information," Felice said. "As far as the actual tracking of people coming into the state, that's being conducted by the National Guard."
The country's smallest state is a vacation destination for many in New York and elsewhere. It's known for it's sandy — and rocky — shorelines. Newport, RI, is famed for sailing and it's Gilded Age mansions, The Breakers.
As of Friday, there were 203 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Rhode Island.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island took issue with the governor's move to allow state police to stop New York vehicles.
Its executive director, Steven Brown, said in a statement that the group recognizes that strong measures are needed to address the public health crisis, but called the measure "a blunderbuss approach" that can't be justified.
"While the Governor may have the power to suspend some state laws and regulations to address this medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution," executive director Steven Brown said. "Under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate simply does not, and cannot, constitute 'probable cause' to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be."
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