Why track COVID19 Policing?
Across the United States, emergency “shelter in place,” “stay at home,” “social distancing,” and quarantine orders in response to the COVID19 pandemic are being enforced through aggressive policing, steep fines, criminal charges, and harsh penalties. Officers – who have some of the highest rates of infection – are violating social distancing rules to harass, ticket, and take people into custody. Even a brief encounter with an officer or short detention in a police car can dramatically increase risk of infection, and that risk increases in a holding cell or jail where people are unable to maintain social distancing and have little or no access to soap, water, and sanitizer.
Instead of offering our communities the information and support we need to stay safe, these policing tactics place individuals and communities at increased risk of violence and infection. Rather than investing resources in community organizations and building networks of support and safety, public officials are doubling down on policing and punishment, targeting communities bearing the brunt of the pandemic: Black, Indigenous and Brown communities, migrants, and other essential workers, low and no-income, unhoused, young, and disabled people. In the midst of unprecedented economic devastation and the highest rates of unemployment in our lifetimes, cities and states are imposing exorbitant fines and offering people rewards to turn in our neighbors instead of reaching out to support them.
Communities are fighting for a world where we keep ourselves and each other safe, without surveillance, policing, or punishment. We are building networks of mutual aid, sewing masks for essential workers, and documenting and calling out aggressive and abusive policing in the midst of a pandemic. This website offers tools and resources for individuals and communities to stay safe and to mobilize for what we need – instead of more cops, stops, tickets, cuffs and cells.
Sign up to receive updates from the COVID19 Policing Project. Our team sends out analysis and resources in an email update every two weeks.
You can also view previous updates:
The Pandemic of Policing (PDF)
Laws, Orders, and Enforcement
Wondering what orders are in place where you live? What the penalties are for violations? Who is enforcing them? What exceptions exist? What organizations to contact for help?
Check this database of emergency and public health laws in place to prevent the spread of COVID19. You can filter results by state, municipality (where separate orders exist), and mandated or prohibited activity. Click on a row to see a pop up of all the information, or just scroll to the right! To find complete relevant language from the statute or order and links to the full documents, you can download the whole database.
Data updated: July 9, 2020 – 9:30pm EDT
COVID19 Public Health Orders
|wdt_ID||Jurisdiction||Municipality||Facial Covering||Maintain 6 feet distance||Gatherings||Curfew||Travel||Quarantine||Links||COVID-19 Orders/Legislation||COVID-19 Orders/Legislation||Permanent Quarantine Laws||Penalties||Enforcement||Relevant language||Exemptions|
|1||Federal||Public Health and Welfare Act||The Surgeon General, with the approval of the Secretary, is authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in his judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the Stat||For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘‘State’’ includes, in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia. (2) For purposes of this subsection, the term "qualifying stage’’, with respect to a communicable disease, means that such dise|
|2||Alabama||recommended for individuals; mandatory for employees||mandatory||permitted with social distancing||Recommended to minimize||Mandatory 14-day quarantine after COVID-19 diagnosis||https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/06/2020-06-30-Safer-at-Home-Order.pdf||ORDER OF THE STATE HEALTH OFFICER SUSPENDING CERTAIN PUBLIC GATHERINGS DUE TO RISK OF INFECTION BY COVID-19||ORDER OF THE STATE HEALTH OFFICER SUSPENDING CERTAIN PUBLIC GATHERINGS DUE TO RISK OF INFECTION BY COVID-19||Misdemeanor: fine of $50 to $500. Such punishment applies to individuals who violate quarantine orders, those required to provide notification of notifiable diseases who willfully neglect to do so, anyone who knowingly transports a person or thing in viol||Effective immediately, any person who has tested positive for COVID-19—other than institutionalized persons—shall be quarantined to their place of residence for a period of 14 days, or other period of time as directed by the State Health Officer, or his d|
|3||Alabama||Ala. Code § 22.12.1 to 22.12.29; § 22.11A.7||§ 22.12.1-22.12.29: Violation of a health or quarantine law: misdemeanor. Fine of $50 to $500 for individuals who violate quarantine orders, those required to provide notification of notifiable diseases who willfully neglect to do so, anyone who knowingly||§ 22.11A.7: Police Power & Limitations. An officer or guard carrying out a quarantine may arrest without warrant anyone who attempts to violate quarantine regulations and move them to the designated detention area or in front of an officer with jurisdicti||§ 22.12.1 to 22.12.29: Any person who makes affidavit before a quarantine officer or guard, engaged in enforcing quarantine for the protection of a place which said person wishes to enter, and who furnishes such other evidence as may be prescribed by the|
|4||Alabama||Birmingham (Jefferson County)||mandatory||mandatory||permitted with social distancing||Recommended to minimize||Mandatory 14-day quarantine after COVID-19 diagnosis||https://www.jcdh.org/SitePages/Misc/PdfViewer?AdminUploadId=804||Order of the Jefferson County Health Officer Requiring the Wearing of Face Coverings in Public Places||Order of the Jefferson County Health Officer Requiring the Wearing of Face Coverings in Public Places||Fine of up to $500.00 and/or up to thirty (30) days in the municipal jail.||Jefferson County's face covering order applies to Birmingham, Alabama. Face masks must be worn in indoor spaces of business or venues available to the public, public transportation including taxi and ride-shares, and outdoor public areas open to the publi||Exceptions to the face mask order: A face mask shall not be required for children 2 years old and under, people eating or drinking, medical examinations or procedures, when necessary to provide hair care, to persons who the mask poses a greater mental of|
|5||Alabama||Montgomery||mandatory||mandatory||permitted with social distancing||Recommended to minimize||Mandatory 14-day quarantine after COVID-19 diagnosis||https://www.montgomeryal.gov/home/showdocument?id=13205||Council adopts ordinance requiring masks or face coverings in public in Montgomery.||Council adopts ordinance requiring masks or face coverings in public in Montgomery.||Fine of up to $500.00 and/or up to one hundred eighty (180) days in the municipal jail.||Face coverings, masks or shields shall be worn at all times over the nostrils and mouth by persons over the age of 6 and who can medically tolerate doing so when public places consisting of gatherings or more than 10 persons. The requirement to wear a fac||Face coverings or masks are not required during individual outdoor exercise but must be worn when interacting with groups of other people. Children 6 and under are not required to wear a mask. Patients in examination rooms of medical or dental offices or|
|6||Alaska||recommended||recommended||Mandatory after out-of-state travel; COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms, or exposure||https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/||Alaska Health Mandates||Alaska Health Mandates||At this time, Alaska does not mandate the general use of masks, limit group size, or business operation, but does encourage all Alaskans to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19. In-state travel is allowed for all purposes, however local communiti||No one traveling to or from any community for Critical Infrastructure/Essential Services reasons or Critical Personal Needs travel may be subject to any automatic quarantine or isolation on arrival, except as allowed under Alaska Statutes or Health Mandat|
|7||Alaska||Alaska Stat. § 26.23.020; § 18.15.385; § 9.50.250||§ 18.15.385: Anyone who knowingly violates a regulation pertaining to quarantine or isolation is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. Anyone who intentionally violates such a regulation is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.||§ 9.50.250: Police Power & Limitations. The department must allow isolation in the personal home if it would not jeopardize public health. If individuals do not consent to quarantine or isolation, a superior court order must be granted. The department sh||§ 26.23.020: Authority. The governor can declare a disaster emergency, including in the event of a disease outbreak. He or she can control entry and exit of an area and movement of persons or occupancy of premises within the area. The Department of Health|
|8||Alaska||Anchorage||mandatory||mandatory||10+ permitted||No restrictions||Mandatory after out-of-state travel; COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms, or exposure||https://www.muni.org/departments/mayor/pressreleases/documents/eo-13%20signed.pdf||Requirement for Masks or Cloth Face Covers EO-13||Requirement for Masks or Cloth Face Covers EO-13||All individuals must wear masks or cloth face coverings over their noses and mouths when they are indoors in public settings or communal spaces outside the home. Mask order in place until July 31, unless modified. Individuals arriving in Anchorage within||The mask order does not apply to the following categories of people or activities: any child under the age of 2 years; any child under the age of 12 years unless a parent or caregiver supervises the use of face coverings by the child; Any child in a child|
|9||Arizona||recommended||recommended||50 people max||No restrictions||Mandatory after COVID-19 diagnosis, symptoms, or exposure||https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/eo_2020-43.pdf||Executive Order 2020-43||Executive Order 2020-43||The governor issued an Enhanced Surveillance Advisory on May 21 that authorizes the Arizona Department of Health Services and local health authority to access confidential patient information and requires laboratories to report positive COVID-19 test resu|
|10||Arizona||Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36.788-789; § 36.630, 737; § 36.624, 732||§ 36.630, 737: Penalties. Knowingly or intentionally exposing others to infection or attempting to leave quarantine or isolation is a class 2 misdemeanor. Obstructing an investigation, making a false report, or knowingly assisting someone else in violatin||§ 36.624, 732: Police Power and Limitations. No treatment shall be provided against the will of an individual provided they cooperate with quarantine and sanitation orders. If an individual under quarantine is shown to no longer pose a public health risk,||Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36.788-789: Authority. The governor, along with the state director of health services, has primary authority in a state of emergency involving possible infectious disease. If investigation reveals a suspicion of a highly contagious dise|
|Jurisdiction||Municipality||Facial Covering||Maintain 6 feet distance||Gatherings||Curfew||Travel||Quarantine|
Maintain 6 feet distance:
Permanent Quarantine Laws:
Stops, Fines & Arrests
We are building a comprehensive and secure searchable database of enforcement actions based on news reports, self-reports and reports from Cop Watch, legal, and community organizations, and Freedom of Information Requests which will be available in the coming month.
In the meantime, check out the database below for a compilation of news reports about enforcement actions. This database is mostly based on media reports and does not represent a complete collection of enforcement actions to date. By tracking incidents and emerging patterns of policing under COVID-19, we hope to provide useful information while recognizing that media reports often misrepresent the complex identities and lived realities of our communities. To report a stop, ticket, or arrest, please use the REPORT button, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate in the subject line whether you need immediate support.
You can filter results in the enforcement tracker by date, age, race, gender, state, city, and type of enforcement – just click on a row to see a pop up of all the information in that row or scroll to the right to find the link to the original news story. If you would like to download the ENTIRE database, reset/clear all filters and “Show ‘ALL’ entries” (at the top left of the table). Then click the Excel, CSV, or PDF button to export.
Data updated: July 9, 2020 9:31pm EDT
|wdt_ID||Date||Age||Race||Gender||First Nation/ State/Territory||Municipality||Enforcement Action by Police or other Law Enforcement||Description||Media Link|
|1||06/24/2020||white||man||Oregon||Sweet Home||arrested||Man was arrested after appearing in traffic court and refusing to wear a mask when asked, claiming he suffered from respiratory issues. Jailed, then told to come back on July 22 with a doctor's note re: mask wearing or risk being jailed again.||https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/coronavirus/article243825197.html ; https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2020/06/26/oregon-coronavirus-mask-requirement-covid-19/3259320001/|
|2||06/13/2020||63||Black||man||Texas||Austin||arrested||Police arrested a man at a Walgreens after he allegedly spit on a customer and chased the store's manager after he was asked to respect social distancing. He now faces charges of making a terroristic threat and failure to identify.||https://www.kxan.com/news/crime/apd-man-arrested-spit-on-customer-chased-manager-at-walgreens-when-asked-to-social-distance/|
|3||06/13/2020||51||white||man||Connecticut||Naugatuck||arrested||Police arrested a man accused of making a shooting threat because he was upset about waiting in line due to COVID-19 protocols. He was charged with second-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace.||https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/man-frustrated-with-covid-19-protocols-makes-threatening-comments-at-walmart-police/2288519/|
|4||06/09/2020||29||man||Massachusetts||Plymouth||arrested||Man was arrested after he fled from a stolen car. The man allegedly refused to give his name, spit on the trooper, and said he had COVID-19.||https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/man-claiming-to-have-covid-19-spits-on-trooper-defecates-in-cruiser-police-say/2140698/|
|5||06/08/2020||56||man||Delaware||Rehoboth Beach||cited||Police issued a citation to a man for not wearing a mask. They eventually gave the man a mask to wear.||https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/06/central-pa-man-cited-for-not-wearing-mask-on-rehoboth-beach-boardwalk.html|
|6||05/29/2020||woman||Georgia||Thomson||arrested||Woman arrested at traffic stop for driving with a suspended license. She said she had coronavirus to avoid going to jail and was later arrested and charged with giving false statements.||https://www.wjbf.com/csra-news/local-woman-arrested-after-allegedly-lying-about-testing-positive-for-covid-19/|
|7||05/26/2020||21||Black||man||Illinois||Chicago||arrested||Police arrested two people while dispersing large gathering in violation of social distancing order. Both are facing weapons charge.||https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/men-face-gun-charges-after-2-cpd-officers-injured-breaking-up-englewood-gathering/2277783/|
|8||05/26/2020||42||Black||man||Illinois||Chicago||arrested||Police arrested two people while dispersing large gathering in violation of social distancing order. Both are facing weapons charge.||https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/men-face-gun-charges-after-2-cpd-officers-injured-breaking-up-englewood-gathering/2277783/|
|9||05/25/2020||man||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||arrested||While police were breaking up a group of 200 people, one man was arrested for disorderly conduct after he refused to leave and allegeedly put his hands on an officer.||https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2020/05/25/philadelphia-police-bust-wild-memorial-day-party-of-up-to-250-people-in-vacant-brewerytown-lot/|
|10||05/25/2020||man||Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||arrested||While police were breaking up a group of 200 people, one man was arrested after police found an illegal gun in his car. Police made the discovery after the man left the gathering and got into a minor car accident.||https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2020/05/25/philadelphia-police-bust-wild-memorial-day-party-of-up-to-250-people-in-vacant-brewerytown-lot/|
|Date||Age||Race||Gender||First Nation/ State/Territory||Municipality||Enforcement Action by Police or other Law Enforcement|
First Nation/ State/Territory:
Enforcement Action by Police or other Law Enforcement:
Resources on criminalization and COVID19
- Know Your Rights During COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- Cop Watch During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Demands to End Broken Windows Policing During COVID-19
- Policing in a Time of Pandemic: Recommendations for Law Enforcement
- An Abolitionist Platform Toward Healthy Communities Now and Beyond COVID-19
- Movement for Black Lives COVID19 Platform
- COVID Racial Data Tracker
- Mutual Aid Hub
- American Public Health Association FAQ on COVID19 and Policing
- More COVID19 resources