August 5, 2021

COVID-19 Has Turned Paradise Into a Privacy Nightmare

When Tara Trunfio stepped off her flight from Boulder to Maui, she didn’t see the leis and grass skirts that so many visitors expect. Instead, the 23-year-old saw masked officials warning that visitors who don’t comply with the islands’ 14-day quarantine requirement would be arrested.

A Hawaiian get-away sounds magical to the millions of cooped-up Americans who want to trade in their virtual beach background for the real thing. But a trip to the beach can quickly turn into a stay in jail. That’s just what happened to Trunfio, who drew national attention this month after being arrested for allegedly violating quarantine.

For years, Americans have debated the shape their national borders should take, but the newest border controls have increasingly been built on state lines. We’re a long way off from Berlin Wall-style barricades along your local interstate, but in the COVID-19 era governors have issued quarantine orders for out-of-state residents and returning visitors. Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas have stopped out-of-state drivers (sometimes using the National Guard) to remind them of quarantine requirements and obtain a signed compliance agreement.

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