‘Escape communities’ are the newest hideaways from the pandemic

These getaways are like yoga retreats for the Bad Times. But they might not be so safe after all.


March 30, 2020

If you’re self-isolating inside a studio apartment and yearning for a getaway, some enterprising entrepreneurs may have a solution for you.

The Information calls them “escape communities” — small-group gatherings in remote locales where people can pay to ride out the pandemic in comfort and style.

Think of it like a yoga retreat for the Bad Times — a gentler (and crunchier) spin on the booming doomsday economy.

It sounds relaxing, but the journey could be harrowing. Reports of coronavirus vigilantes — AKA neighbors who want to keep folks quarantined — are enough to make us think twice about skipping town.

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You’ll face a few hurdles if you go for it

First of all: You’ll have to pay big bucks to get access. Harbor, “a luxury 2-month retreat” in Southern California, lists accommodations that start at $3k per month. 

Residents will be screened for COVID-19 before being admitted, and they’ll have “zero interactions with the external world.”

Speaking of being admitted: Yes, you have to apply to join the club.

Are these elite clubs actually safe?

Health experts told The Information that it would be very easy for a single infected individual to spread the disease to others in a small community.

The disease might not be the only thing to worry about, either. 

Well-heeled jet-setters still actually need to get to their sanctuaries. Traveling there could violate a state’s shelter-in-place order… and the arrival of wealthy out-of-towners seems VERY likely to piss off the locals.

Take your getaway and get the hell away

That’s what many small-town residents have told the Johnny-come-latelies who try to decamp to their 2nd homes for a few months. An influx of new cases could quickly overwhelm a small town’s healthcare system.

Those fears have given rise to an unusual new phenomenon: coronavirus vigilantism. Nah, that doesn’t sound like it’s straight outta The Purge at all.

In the island town of Vinalhaven, Maine (winter population: 1.2k), residents allegedly cut down a tree in an attempt to forcibly quarantine roommates from New Jersey who had been renting a home in the area. 

The roommates had been in town for months, working on a construction job. The homeowner apparently used a drone to monitor the angry neighbors until the cops arrived.

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