After the Trump Administration previously closed the borders for the other side of the Atlantic, it has now bilaterally agreed to close the borders to Mexico and Canada also. States have begun to adopt their own measures while parts of the population begin to take their own precautions as well.
State Governments Respond to Coronavirus
Following the lead of New York state and California, Illinois also imposed a large-scale lockdown to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. The measure took effect Saturday, March 22 and is supposed to last until April 7, Governor J.B. Pritzker stated in his press conference. As in Europe, people will be allowed to continue shopping, visit a doctor, or stroll as long as they take the necessary and well-known precautions. Many people will also continue to go to work, even though all non-essential businesses are now shuttered.
Previously, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom and New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo tightened restrictions in their states. Accordingly, all shops that are not of fundamental importance for everyday life had to close, while grocery stores and pharmacies remain excluded. These three states are locking down more than 70 million individuals combined.
Closing Mexican and Canadian Borders
The decision to close the borders to Mexico and Canada for passenger traffic affects all non-vital trips. However, not affected are the transport of goods and vital trade, as the government has repeatedly asserted. The regulation is set to remain in force for thirty days and is set to be reviewed then. While an agreement with Canada had already been announced on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Pompeo announced the decision regarding Mexico on Friday, March 20.
The United States previously imposed an entry ban for foreigners from the Schengen countries, Great Britain and Ireland – a decision the European Union criticized harshly. Foreigners who come from Iran and China have also been denied entry for an even more extended period.
Trump: Federal Lockdown Not Being Considered
President Donald Trump said at a press conference at the White House on Friday that no country-wide lockdown is currently being considered. “I do not think we will ever think that is necessary,” Trump said. There were “hotspots” such as California and New York; however, many other US regions did not have “the same problem.” Trump referred to rural areas, where the population per square foot is significantly lower than in the metropolitan regions. Infecting many people rapidly is thus significantly more difficult. However, the latter does not solve the problem for the “hotspots,” and it will be seen whether Trump can indeed find a way around a nationwide lockdown – a decision that would de facto end the constitutional right of liberty as people know it.
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
People are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. They have begun to buy amounts of weapons and ammunition in figures that are so high they are unusual even for the US. Arms dealers have seen a significant increase in sales, which is said to be directly related to the continuous spread in Covid-19 and the potential measures the government could take moving forward.
From the end of February to the middle of March, sales have more than quadrupled. Unlike in Europe, many people hoard not only items such as toilet paper and basic food but also ammunition to an unprecedented extent. The NSSF, the trade association of the firearms industry, said that arms and ammunition sales were increasing, with growth especially among first-time customers, and only a few days ago, an NSSF statement said that Americans were lining up at local gun stores to stock up on weapons and ammunition.
Meanwhile, more states are likely to follow suit with similar measures to those taken by California, New York and Illinois. However, the reaction by the people so far, indicates that the more restrictive the government’s imposition on Constitutional rights the more dramatic the potential counter-reaction could become.