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The Coronavirus Reality

WOULD YOU SNITCH OR PUBLICLY SHAME YOUR NEIGHBOR IF THEY REFUSE TO FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING RULES?

Some complain about joggers panting on passers-by. Others wonder what to do when they overhear drunken partygoers rejecting quarantine measures. Still more question whether people they see in the street are really on “essential” business.

Local social media networks, long places for recipe swaps and restaurant tips, are rapidly becoming sites where neighbors police neighbors during the global coronavirus pandemic.

And as users test the line between civic duty and intrusive surveillance — often trying to shame their peers into obeying social distancing rules — experts worry that a practice once frowned upon is becoming normalized.

“It distresses me greatly to see a few uncaring louts who scoff at the safety rules that are meant for all of us to get through this awful situation,” said one user on a listserv for a wealthy suburb of the capital Washington, which has seen a slew of complaints about people ignoring distancing guidelines.

“I have a suggestion – if you see such behaviors as mentioned above – why not take photos/videos of the offenders? This could discourage their dangerous behaviors,” said another.