Florida governor: New York travelers must self-isolate under executive order, persons 65 years or older told to stay home

Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to issue new executive order Wednesday

A passenger removes her goggles and face mask used to fend off coronavirus at the request of a TSA agent as she goes through a security checkpoint, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at JFK airport in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will issue an executive order Wednesday mandating anyone traveling from New York to self-isolate and must notify the state of any contacts they’ve had, as well as recommending persons 65-years or older to stay home to reduce their risk of exposure to the coronavirus in Florida, which now has more than 1,400 cases statewide.

The executive order will apply to anyone who has traveled from New York to Florida in the last three weeks. Those individuals will also have to report anyone they have may have had contact within Florida to the state during their stay so those contacts can be informed of possible exposure.

Orlando International Airport leaders are currently coordinating with state health officials and the National Guard to finalize actions necessary to enforce the order, according to a news release. Any traveler who violates the order to self-isolate for 14-days could face a misdemeanor charge.

Additionally, the governor said he plans to start enforcing social distancing and not permitting gatherings of 10 or more including in private homes.

“I think most folks understand they need to do this and be compliant but there is teeth in this to hold people accountable if they don’t,” the governor said in a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

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The governor did not say how either mandate would be enforced.

DeSantis said Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees plans to issue a health advisory soon for individuals over 65 years old encouraging them to stay home for the next 14 days.

Last week, DeSantis issued several other executive orders closing bars and nightclubs across the state and then ordering restaurants to close their dine-in operations and move to take-out only, including alcohol sales. All gyms and fitness centers were ordered to close, too.

The governor said he is taking these smaller steps instead of issuing a state-wide stay-at-home order like other states, including New York have done. Some Florida cities and counties have issued stay-at-home orders for residents, including hardest-hit areas in Miami-Dade County and Alachua County, and most recently the city of Tampa, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

DeSantis has also asked President Donald Trump to declare Florida a disaster area.

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