Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is requiring travelers from Louisiana to self-isolate for 14 days and said the Florida Highway Patrol will install checkpoints on major roads to screen travelers from that area, he announced on Friday.
DeSantis is imposing restrictions on travelers fleeing to Florida from Louisiana — particularly New Orleans, which is emerging as one of the hotspots of the coronavirus outbreak.
“New Orleans is having a lot of problems — they may not be quite as widespread as New York City. There was a concern from the Panhandle that this could impact them,” DeSantis said during a press conference on Friday.
“They are working hard to keep their rates low and we don’t want to add any problems to them,” he added.
The Florida Highway Patrol will install checkpoints on the major roads along the Alabama-Florida state line and screen drivers from Louisiana, with the exception of those driving commercial vehicles.
“There’ll probably be a diversion for folks with certain license plates,” DeSantis said.
Others will be required to tell authorities where they are staying in Florida and told to self-isolate for 14 days. A violation of that order could result in criminal penalties.
“All we’re trying to do is keep our residents here safe,” DeSantis said. “If they’re telling you to shelter in place, then do that. But don’t come here, because we’re trying to protect our folks.”
DeSantis issued a similar order this week, requiring travelers fleeing the New York Tri-State area to self-isolate for 14 days.
“There’s over 190 direct flights from the New York City area to the state of Florida, and I would reckon given the outbreak there, that every single flight has somebody on it who is positive for COVID-19,” DeSantis said on Monday.
“And so as we are working to stop it in the state of Florida, you’re consistently having people come in from one of the top hot spots in the entire world,” he continued.
“We don’t have people coming from Wuhan, we don’t have people coming from Milan, yet you have a flood of people still coming from New York City,” he added.
DeSantis also announced the suspension of new vacation rentals as an effort to discourage potentially infected travelers from entering the Sunshine State state for refuge.
Florida currently has over 3,100 confirmed cases of the virus.