Gov. Ron DeSantis is ordering anyone flying into Florida from the New York Tri-State Area where there's a high prevalance of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for 14 days.
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DeSantis made the comments during a Monday afternoon news conference, hours after he warned that an influx of flights to New York could hamper the state’s efforts to contain the coronavirus.
“Hopefully that will be a deterrent for people if you’re simply trying to escape here to avoid the restrictions that have been put in place in your own state,” DeSantis said. “That is probably not a good idea.”
The order covers people flying in from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They're to isolate or quarantine themselves for 14 days after they arrive or the length of their visit if that's shorter than 14 days.
People employed by airlines or performing military, emergency or health response are exempt from the order.
DeSantis said he does not intend to copy other states that have issued statewide lockdowns, but said it is something he would consider if measures that Florida has taken fail to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
DeSantis spoke with with President Donald Trump about how the influx of out-of-state residents could impact Florida’s efforts, he said.
“If you look at what happened in New York, when they did the stay at home order, what did people do? Well, a lot of people fled the city and they’re going to stay with their parents, or flying,” DeSantis said. “We’re getting huge amounts of people flying in. We’re looking at how to address those flights. I talked to the president last night about that.”
Earlier Monday morning, DeSantis announced a testing partnership with the University of Florida while also admonishing some “selfish” people who he said have not taken seriously the restrictions placed by the state to encourage social distancing.
“We’re looking at different options,” DeSantis said. “We’ve done a lot of statewide mitigation measures, so you have bars and all these places closed, health clubs, and that’s applying statewide,” DeSantis said. “We’ve got 20 counties with zero infections, and I think about 26 that have two, three, five, seven (cases).
“Now obviously that can change, but in those counties, but we really want people to get tested so they can be isolated and hopefully we can hopefully prevent outbreaks in some of those areas.”
DeSantis said the most stringent measures have been taken in Broward and Dade counties, where the bulk of the state's positive cases are occurring.
“In Broward County and in South Florida, you have pretty much down to essential operations, so we’ll look at how that would apply statewide, in terms of additional measures,” DeSantis said. “But that’s why we want additional testing, so we’re doing this on good data.”
DeSantis said the additional testing that is in the process of being implemented statewide could help prevent the need for stricter regulations.
Reducing the risk of spread requires cooperation from those who are attempting to “game the system” and not adhering to the state’s guidelines, he said both during his appearance at The Villages and during his afternoon conference.
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“There’s a lot of folks who are out there doing the right thing, and I don’t want to put somebody in a position where if they can comply, then they’re going to suffer financial catastrophe, health problems, so there’s a whole chain reaction that could go to this stuff,” DeSantis said.
“For every action, there’s a reaction, so we’re going to consider what would make sense for Florida. I do think we’ll wind up doing some more stuff very soon. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have a group of people who are not going to comply and are going to put themselves first. The fewer number of those there are, the better off we’ll be.”
DeSantis pointed to younger residents who continue to congregate despite the state shutting down beaches in various parts of the state, as well as bars and other common gathering spots.
“There’s people in the Villages, and most of the people throughout the state are seniors. You don’t need any mandates. They will do what’s recommended, they will protect themselves,” DeSantis said. “I think you have another class of people who are just selfish. You shut down the bar and they go to a house party. You have no beach and they go to a sand bar, which is technically not the beach.
“So I would just say for those folks, you need to cool it and let’s get through this, because the more stuff you’re doing, the more difficult and longer this may go. And I think that if we take good action now, then we’re probably going to be better off, even in the immediate short term.”
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