Don't fear Detroit

Even in a crisis, Big Brother does not need to close us off from every possible bad choice we can make.

The Editorial Board
Fri, 03 Apr 2020 04:00:00 GMT

While his concern is understandable, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz's recent question to Gov. Mike DeWine about whether he might restrict or close off travel between Michigan and Ohio was an overreaction. Trying to do that would be taking coronavirus emergency powers too far.

On Monday, when the mayor asked his question, Detroit, a city an hour north of Toledo, had 35 dead and more than 500 police officers in quarantine because of the virus. Detroit is a coronavirus hot spot, and Mayor Kapszukiewicz should be looking out for the citizens of Toledo.

In that spirit, he said he had spoken with Governor DeWine and Mr. DeWine “said it was not something he had been planning up until now, but it’s now on his radar screen. He asked us to try to provide data in numbers of how this problem could be affecting Toledo.”

Mr. Kapszukiewicz should not bother with such data. Instead, he should help Toledo by reinforcing the orders of the governors of Ohio and Michigan by urging people to stay home. And he can also help by keeping Toledo’s government center building clean and safe.

Shutting down the Michigan-Ohio line is both legally dubious and likely a practical impossibility. Imagine Ohio State Patrol troopers trying to stop every vehicle with a Michigan plate and the idea’s absurdity is obvious.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Mr. DeWine, and Lynn Sutfin, a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesman, made the same point: If people follow both states’ stay-at-home directives, there’s no need for travel restrictions. We’re not supposed to be leaving our homes or making trips except for essentials. Someone in Toledo could have a vital, noncoronavirus-related medical appointment in Ann Arbor. Or someone in nearby Michigan might have a similar appointment in Toledo.

Beyond merely heeding the advice of experts to maintain a social distance of 6 feet and stay home as much as we can, as most people are, many are doing more than that. They’re looking out for neighbors in need of help, contributing to and volunteering at food banks, and more.

There’s no need to fear Detroit.

Regarding enforceable travel restrictions between here and there, we simply don’t need to be so closely policed. Big Brother does not have to close off every possible bad choice we can make. If we are to get through this with our dignity intact, our leaders need to trust in a free people’s common sense and respect it.
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