(Reuters) - Many New Yorkers say they are miffed at being treated as the poster children of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, unwelcome in some states even if they are symptom-free.
This week, Rhode Island, Florida and West Virginia appeared to roll up the welcome mats to residents of the Empire State.
Rhode Island went as far as to post state troopers at its border to stop cars with New York license plates, requiring occupants to go into quarantine if they intend to stay.
“How is this fair?” said Michelle Chu, 44, a graphics producer who lives Manhattan. “I mean, this thing is already everywhere.”
There are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus spread throughout the 50 U.S. states, but New York is among the hardest hit, with 44,000.
Chu said she does not feel her zip code should make her feel like a pariah.
“I know people are worried, but this should be based on whether you’re sick or not,” she said. “For all we know, everyone’s already exposed. I don’t see how this helps.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this week issued an executive order that requires New Yorkers and other passengers arriving at Florida’s airports from New York to self-isolate for two weeks. It was unclear how long the order would be in place.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said on Friday some people were coming to his state “to get away from a real big-time issue where they’re at.”
He said it was essential that anyone coming to his state, “especially those from New York,” go into quarantine for 14 days. It was not immediately clear how that was going to work, however.
The strictest order came on Thursday, with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo requiring anyone from New York who intends to stay in her state to self-quarantine for 14 days, even those who are feeling fine. Motorists who say they are just passing through are allowed to proceed.
“I understand this is an extreme measure,” Raimondo said at a news conference, describing New York as a “hot zone,” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rhode Island state police and the National Guard were also screening people who arrive at the T.F. Green International Airport in Warwick, asking them to provide information about their travel plans.
Larry Sullivan, a resident of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said the crackdown did not make him feel any safer.
“I saw all the troopers out this morning on I-95,” said Sullivan, a 55-year-old computer security specialist. “I’m in Connecticut today, but what if I was in New York? They wouldn’t stop me. Am I less dangerous?”
Betsy Ashton, 75, who lives in New York’s Queens borough, said the blanket approach that some states taking was not fair.
“It’s insulting to say that we - just because we happen to live here - are likely to be carriers.” she said. “We are not contaminated.”
Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; additional reporting by Peter Szekely and Nathan Layne; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall