Quarantine, Social Distancing, Shelter In Place: Know Your Rights And How To Cope | Texas Public Radio

Quarantine, Social Distancing, Shelter In Place: Know Your Rights And How To Cope

Mar 24, 2020

As local and state government work to curb the proliferation of COVID-19, people across the U.S. are being told to adhere to temporary shelter-in-place and self-isolation orders, social distancing rules and in extreme cases, mandatory quarantine.

How do we balance public health safety and civil liberties? What are your legal rights in a quarantine? What are the implications for constitutional rights such as freedom of movement and travel? How would orders like these stand up in court? 

When are the different types of rules and orders deployed in a public health crisis and how are they enforced? What happens if you refuse? How do the laws that govern their use vary by state? How much power does the government have in a pandemic? 

In what ways can isolation affect an individual's psychological well-being and what can you do to mitigate the negative impact? What are some healthy ways to manage anxiety, stress and loneliness while stuck at home?


  • Lance Gable, professor of law at Wayne State University and internationally recognized expert on public health law and bioethics
  • Dr. Lynn Bufka, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, stress expert and associate executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, March 25.