Understanding Government Actions During COVID-19
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed January 19, 2023
State and federal governments are taking significant safety and economic measures to combat the effects of COVID-19. These measures affect our lives and our freedom. That is why it's important to understand what it all means and what your rights are. In this section, we explain key terms and laws and answer your questions about government action during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus Legal Terms
Shelter in place. State of emergency. Martial Law. What do these terms mean and how do they affect you?
- Shelter in Place Laws
- What Does a State of Emergency Mean?
- What Is Martial Law?
- What Is the Defense Production Act?
Quarantine: Is It Legal? What Are Your Rights?
- What Are the U.S. Government's Quarantine Powers?
- Can You Be Forced to Self Quarantine?
- Your Legal Rights During a Quarantine
- The Stafford Act: Can it Be Used for Quarantine?
- What Are the Legal Consequences of Violating a Shelter-in-Place Order, Quarantine, or Curfew?
What Can the Government Legally Do During a Pandemic?
- Can the President Mandate Masks?
- State Mask Laws: A Summary
- Can the Government Prohibit Social Gatherings During COVID-19?
- Masks Laws: From Illegal to Wear to Illegal Not to Wear
- Can the President Order States to Resume Business?
- The Defense Production Act and COVID-19
- Martial Law During Peacetime
- Can a City Refuse a State Order to House Coronavirus Patients?
- Can a Country Ban or Evict Visitors During a Pandemic?
- Is Travel Within the US Restricted Due to COVID-19?
- Can a Governor Order Visitors From Another State to Be Quarantined?
- What Will Be the Effects of the Executive Order Suspending Immigration?
- Can the Government Force Schools to Reopen?
Vaccine Laws and Information
- Who Decides Which People Get the Vaccine First?
- How Is a COVID-19 Vaccine Approved?
- Can You Sue If You're Hurt in a COVID-19 Vaccine Trial?
- Can Your Employer Require You to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Next Steps: Schedule a Virtual Consultation
If you believe your rights have been violated, contact a qualified constitutional law attorney near you.
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