“Snitches” reveal themselves as enthusiastic allies as cities, states, and countries work to enforce directives aimed at limiting direct contact between people in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide
The owner of a Tulsa bar said that more than a dozen motorists showed up at his premises without warning, but still served them a round of drinks to celebrate a birthday. Another aired a live drag queen show on Facebook as about 20 people drank inside the closed venue, ignoring the police when there was a knock on the door.
Both were arrested and received subpoenas for minor crimes, after authorities responded to notices that the pubs they were violating the order of the mayor that decreed the closure of all non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“There has to be some consequence for violating an executive order,” said Richard Meulenberg, a Tulsa police lieutenant.
And it seems that many people agree.
The informants reveal themselves as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives aimed at limiting direct contact between people in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. They call the police and municipal lines, complain to elected officials, and embarrass alleged violators on social media.
In New York City, one of the main sources of infection in the United States, authorities detained the owner of a Brooklyn speakeasy where they found a dozen people taking and gambling after someone called the police to warn.
In Chicago, a yoga studio that he believed fell into the category of essential health and wellness service was closed after the city, alerted by several residents, said it was not. Naveed Abidi, a professor at the Bikram Yoga West Loop studio, noted that he thought the business could stay open by cleaning the space, limiting class sizes, and students staying far enough away.
“If we breach the government order, we are very sorry,” said Abidi, who faces a fine of up to $ 10,000. “We are not here to cause problems, we are here to practice our postures.”
In most patients, COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus, causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But in others, especially in the elderly and people with previous pathologies, it can lead to more serious diseases, such as pneumonia, and even death.
But the virus is spreading rapidly and is beginning to collapse the health system of several cities.
Gwen Becker, a resident of Naugatuck, Connecticut, said she was “mortified” when, on the way to a golf course, she saw a crowd gathered around a food truck and at communal tables. So she filmed a video that she and her friend posted on Facebook, and which caused the mayor to shut down the field.
“I was angry and upset, and I said some expletives,” said Becker, 54. “Aren’t you going to consider that what you are doing could kill someone?”
In some places, investigators patrol the streets looking for violators.
A Denver law enforcement team had issued five citations _ including Hobby Lobby and Game Stop franchises, which it deemed essential _ and more than 600 warnings to companies and individuals as of Tuesday, the spokesperson for the city, Alton Dillard. The team also patrols neighborhoods and playgrounds.
In Newark, New Jersey, police closed 15 businesses in one night and summoned 161 people for violating the governor’s restrictions, warning that there would be more if the directives were not followed. The Maryland state police, for its part, carried out nearly 6,600 compliance checks on companies and crowds.
Chicago police came to evict a funeral Sunday after seeing a group of about 60 people, mostly older, gathered inside a church, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
In some cases, it is the residents themselves who turn against the neighbors.
In Spain, the authorities, sometimes assisted by videos and photographs published on the internet by neighbors Become “balcony police”, they have detained nearly 2,000 people and fined more than 230,000 for violating the restrictions of the confinement.
In a viral video it is heard how the person who records it criticizes a woman who had gone out to run and resists the police order to identify himself. Another shows a family of four going to the supermarket, with a motorcycle for one of the children, while half a dozen neighbors they yell at them from their windows.
In New Zealand, a police-enabled website for the public to report noncompliance fell after too many people tried to access it at once. Among the complaints: people playing rugby and frisbee, or holding impromptu “crown” parties, The Guardian reported.
Back in Tulsa, Lt. Meulenberg said the volume of calls the department receives increased substantially because residents report both businesses and neighbors, although they cannot answer all of them.
“The fact that we have to do all of this means that some people are not interested in self-protection” or in protecting others, he said. “We are not immunologists. We are not scientists. We are police. We are just trying to do our job.”