Social Distancing Between States: RI Arrests Massachusetts Golfers


Welcome to the world of social distancing.  As a person-to-person strategy to slow a contagion, it’s absolutely reasonable, but it’s starting to sound like an ominous act by government to tear us apart.

Meet three golfers trying to walk the line between their state of Massachusetts, which closed golf courses, and the neighboring state of Rhode Island, which closed the state to outsiders who can’t quarantine for 14 days:

An Attleboro man and his two golfing partners are being charged with playing a round in Rhode Island in violation of a ban on people coming into the state for nonwork-related reasons. …

They were apprehended at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant, where police say the men changed cars to drive to the course in a vehicle with Rhode Island license plates.

Taunton and Attleboro, where the men are from, are part of the regular lives of Rhode Islanders.  The quarantine restrictions don’t apply to Rhode Islanders who travel across the border or to people heading in either direction for work.  In this case, the three of them came to Rhode Island to give a local business some money and to walk around a giant outdoor lawn for a few hours.

Perhaps in our current environment this outcome is a matter for reasonable debate (although some would surely say no debate is allowed and I’m wrong), but this seems to me to be an indication that we’re beyond the reasonable line.

  • bagida’wewinini

    “Perhaps in our current environment this outcome is a matter for reasonable debate (although some would surely say no debate is allowed and I’m wrong), but this seems to me to be an indication that we’re beyond the reasonable line.”

    I agree with you that there is and should be room for debate. These three men were aware of the requirement to quarantine after entry into our State and they chose to not only ignore it but to use deception to achieve their purpose. They did that not to check on relatives or pick up needed supplies, but to play golf for leisure ;putting themselves and others at risk. Their actions may not have gotten anyone sick or may indeed spread the virus to those who also ignored warnings to play a game. The owners of the golf course made their money but have placed their employees and clients at risk and if the numbers of infected needing hospitalization increases to the breaking point they have also put all of us at increased risk.
    As for your call for reasonableness I would draw attention to the picture you chose to accompany this article. It shows two hands grasping the metal bars of a jail cell. A golf glove is on one of the hands. Is this a reasonable representation of what occurred?

    “The men were released at the scene and face a summons to appear in court May 14, according to a release from Police Chief Elwood Johnson”
    -The Sun Chronicle

    • John Tetreault

      Because of course if they were coming into Rhode Island to work, the virus is intelligent and says “oh you’re here for work, so I won’t infect anyone”. Now do you see how arbitrary and tyrannical her ban is?

      • bagida’wewinini

        I would agree that some measures implemented during this crisis will be changed or reversed. In time we will have time to reflect on the decisions made now and begin to learn from the good and bad.
        Most of the people I have met who are working are protecting themselves and are appreciative of those who are taking that concern seriously. Some have complaints that have to do with the lack of protective gear and lack of concern by employers but many feel as though they are reasonably protected in their workplace. Lets hope they are.
        The Governor is in unchartered waters now and not all her decisions are going to be correct. This ban may be one but I believe it is well intentioned as identifying sources of infection is part of the plan to reduce the spread of illness.
        The slow and unprepared response of the federal government has left the state’s governors in the position of making many of these kind of critical decisions without guidance. There will be time for all of us to evaluate her actions now but so far I think she is doing alright. Hoping you and yours are alright and good luck