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

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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

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, March 25.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.