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NYC travelers to Florida must self-isolate for 3 weeks, list contacts, DeSantis says

Tampa and St. Petersburg mayors have urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a stronger order to stay-at-home.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen during a news conference Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Photo courtesy of The Florida Channel [The Florida Channel]

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TALLAHASSEE —Anyone traveling from New York City to Florida or who has traveled in the last three weeks will self isolate and report the contacts they’ve had with anyone in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

During an afternoon news conference, DeSantis’s announcement doubled down on an order he issued Monday that required anyone on a flight from the New York, New Jersey or Connecticut area to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Florida in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus.

“When the shelter in place in New York came down, people started flying and dispersing,” DeSantis said. “Those flights became the hottest ticket. It is mostly South Florida, but we saw 30-40 flights direct to Orlando.”

DeSantis said the Florida National Guard will be deployed at Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, where they will collect information from visitors coming off flights from New York City. Those people will receive advice on how to self isolate and contact numbers for county health departments.

Eventually, this practice will be expanded to other airports, DeSantis said.

Information provided by visitors will be shared with local communities “to make sure they keep an eye on folks who may be infected,” DeSantis said.

He also announced:

- No one should have any social gathering of 10 people or more.

- Everyone 65 or older with underlying medical conditions should stay at home.

- Nonessential business should have 50% of their workforce “telecommuting”.

Monday’s order marked DeSantis’ most drastic move yet, as he made it a criminal penalty for anyone on those flights to violate the quarantine order. The order applies to all people whose points of departure originate from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut. It took effect Monday.

Meanwhile, the state’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise.

Florida’s Department of Health earlier Tuesday confirmed 185 additional cases of COVID-19 and one new death, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 1,412. The death toll is now at 18.

He continued to push back against those pushing him to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, including Tampa and St. Petersburg Mayors Jane Castor and Rick Kriseman.

“You wouldn’t want to do (stay-at-home orders) on a community where the virus hasn’t spread," DeSantis said. "There are going to be upheavals on their lives and that’s not something we want to do flippantly. The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has not said to do a statewide lockdown.”

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This is a developing news story.

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