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No screening, no enforcement of quarantine at Orlando International Airport, passengers say

Gov. DeSantis expands executive order to 3-week quarantine for NY, NJ, CT passengers

ORLANDO, Fla. – One day after Florida’s governor issued an executive order stating that passengers who fly from New York to the Sunshine State amid the coronavirus pandemic must undergo a mandatory quarantine, there appeared to be a lack of enforcement.

Most of Tuesday -- from morning into early afternoon -- passengers arriving from New York to Orlando International Airport gates just walked off the plane without any screening.

Passengers arriving from New York’s LaGuardia Airport on a Frontier flight Tuesday said an airline representative met the flight, announced the governor had ordered a mandatory quarantine for all passengers, handed passengers a four-page packet from the Florida Department of Health asking for contact information and then allowed passengers to walk off the plane and out of the airport.

[PREVIOUS: Travelers flying from New York to Florida must quarantine, Gov. DeSantis says |Here’s what Orlando airport is doing after Florida governor issues New York travel order]

"They said that they're going to be testing us, asking us questions if we have a fever, and then mandatory 14-days self-quarantine," one passenger said. "Somebody's going to be meeting us out there."

But no one met the passengers and no one took their FDOH packets.

“They were supposed to ask us questions about that: Where are we staying? But they didn’t,” another passenger said.

DeSantis’ executive order, signed Monday, states, in part: “The Florida Department of Health shall take any steps necessary to ensure the screening and appropriate isolation and quarantine of individuals covered by this order.”

No FDOH official, police officer or National Guard member was anywhere to be seen at OIA Tuesday morning and early afternoon.

"No health department came on my plane, no health department when I came off the plane," another passenger said.

One passenger said he had no plans to quarantine, especially because the health department did not have or take his contact information.

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

Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said by mid-afternoon Tuesday, the airport had begun funneling planes arriving from the tri-state area into the international arrivals area, where passengers were being screened.

Kent Donahue, with the Florida Department of Health, sent a statement to News 6 Tuesday evening.

“DOH is working closely with our partner state and federal agencies to implement this executive order, including the Florida National Guard. All major airports are currently covered and the state will continue working to expand coverage across Florida,” the statement read. “The state will also share information with local governments to help coordinate a more effective response, and has equipped personnel currently at the airports with the information regarding symptoms and monitoring that will be conveyed to anyone who has been on a flight from the specified locations.”

On Tuesday afternoon, DeSantis announced he was expanding the order to a three-week quarantine and was requiring all passengers arriving from NY, NJ and CT to provide information on anyone they come in contact with in Florida over the next three weeks.

DeSantis did not say how he planned to implement the expanded order.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.


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