In what might be one of the most over-the-top and draconian responses to coronavirus yet seen in Montana, Valley County is mandating that people wear government-issued pink arm bands in under to purchase products inside of stores. The measure, enforced by the Valley County Health Department, insists that store-owners keep customers out unless they have the pink arm-bands, which denote the customer has been in the area more than 14 days and submitted to quarantine protocol.
According to the flier produced by the Valley County Health Department, out-of-towners who lack the government-issued armbands will be prohibited from stores and residents are notified to call law enforcement if they do not comply.
The health department even issued a script to warn customers to flee, saying, “You are violating our Governor’s and Valley County’s Health Officer’s orders. I am happy to shop for you with curbside delivery. I will get the items for you and bring them to your car. If you don’t cooperate, you will force me to call law enforcement.”
The Valley County health officer’s dubiously unconstitutional order can be seen below.
You can see the order yourself on the Valley County Health Department Facebook page here.
Brian Burleson asked in the comments section of their Facebook page, “How do we know if they’re from out of town in the first place. Will they be wearing a large scarlet “O” on their chest?” It appears the answer is that out-of-town workers are mandated to stop at the health department, where they will ostensibly receive the arm bands.
Another commenter left the following photo, saying, “I think they have tried this once already…”
China utilizes wristbands to track coronavirus patients. It has GPS monitoring and is used to make sure that patients comply with quarantine mandates. For many Montanans, it’s strange to see similar measures to prevent out-of-area essential workers from being able to purchase their supplies at local retailers.
Update: In response to our reporting, the Valley County Commissioners offered the following apology and “retraction” of the health department’s flier.