President Donald Trump is preparing a plan to mobilize the National Guard to help enforce a two-week quarantine of the public if other efforts to contain the coronavirus fail, Paul Bedard reported in the Washington Examiner on Friday.
The order would require everyone to “stay at home,” Bedard reported.
The effort wouldn’t be announced until early next week, if needed, and would urge all businesses, except grocery stores and pharmacies, be closed.
In some areas, the National Guard has already been called out to enforce “stay in place” orders, a model of what Trump is considering, Bedard wrote.
According to Bedard, officials have said that the administration has been briefing Congress, states and industry leaders about a potential shutdown after the president taps the Stafford Act, which authorizes he president to declare a major disaster or emergency in response to an incident of threat that overwhelms the response capability of state or local governments. Some say it allows a national quarantine.
Bedard reported the goal of calling out the National Guard is to have Guardsmen dispatched before any call for a national quarantine.
For its part, the National Guard has disputed what it called “rumors” that it would be used to quarantine Americans.
In a Friday tweet, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, declared the murmurs “unfounded.”
“I hear unfounded rumors about #NationalGuard troops supporting a nationwide quarantine,” Lengyel tweeted. “Let me be clear: There has been no such discussion.”
In a statement earlier this week, the Guard said troops in New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Michigan are supporting relief efforts.
Their mission: disinfecting public spaces, distributing food, assisting with transportation and logistical support of health officials, and collecting and delivering samples.