(TMU) — Local, state, and federal governments across the United States have implemented a variety of travel restrictions associated with the CoViD-19 quarantine. However, these measures are apparently not enough for some panicked residents of a small town in Maine, who took it upon themselves to create roadblocks, so as to prevent travelers from passing through their community.
The concern was aimed at three roommates who had traveled from out of state and were suspected of possibly bringing the coronavirus with them.
According to the New York Times, a group of armed vigilantes in Vinalhaven, Maine, cut down a tree and dragged it into the middle of a road, creating a makeshift roadblock. The small island town has a population of just 1,200 in the winter, but becomes a tourist destination when the weather starts to warm up.
Local residents have become increasingly concerned about outsiders bringing the virus with them, as people continue to flee hotspots like New York City.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says that the makeshift roadblock was discovered after one of the roommates who the community believed to be infected left their residence on Friday to see why their cable service was not working. The police say that the individual was then harassed by neighbors who had gathered outside.
“While investigating the downed tree, a neighbor started yelling at him and a group of people showed up and began to gather around,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The man fled back into the house to call police, fearing that the neighbors might harm him.
According to the Times, a previous report from police suggested that “several people with guns had cut down a tree and were telling them that they need to stay quarantined.”
The statement also said that officers on the scene “learned that there is a general belief by some island residents that the Cripple Creek residents are supposed to be quarantined because they came here from another state and could have CoViD-19.”
It turns out that the vigilantes may have been overreacting, because the New Jersey natives have been living in Maine while working a construction job for over a month, and did not come directly from the hotspot as local residents had assumed—and none of them were experiencing any symptoms.
State Representative Genevieve McDonald explained in a Facebook post that “there are two guys from N.J. on Vinalhaven who have been renting a house since September while working on a construction job. They went to the mainland, and were targeted because of their license plate when they arrived back on Vinalhaven.”
The vigilantes were reportedly alarmed by seeing out of state license plates in their neighborhood.