Gov. DeSantis orders New York travelers to quarantine

desanits domestic travel
Violating the order would constitute a criminal offense.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Monday for travelers flying in from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to stop the spread of the virus from one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots.

Anyone traveling from the states will have to do a mandatory self-isolation for 14 days or the duration of their stay, the Governor said in a televised press conference. Violating the order would constitute a criminal offense.

“That’s the only way we can be sure that that virus is not going to be reintroduced in the state of Florida and then spread,””DeSantis said.

During the press conference, he mentioned New York and New Jersey as restricted traveler regions. But the executive order, which went into effect Tuesday morning, also included Connecticut to round out the tri-state area.

“It is actually a criminal offense if you violate the quarantine orders, so people can be held accountable here in the State of Florida if they buck the law,” DeSantis said.

Asked about the order at a news conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “I understand it. We are the epicenter.” But he said he has mixed feelings about travel restrictions in general. “I’m not sure it’s the most enlightened approach.”

He noted that many Floridians have “deep, deep” ties to New York, saying, “I’m sure a lot of people in Florida are going to be put off by it.”

Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach in particular have a close relationship with New York City, earning South Florida the nickname “The Sixth Borough” to complement Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Many residents are transplants from that area — New York Yankee baseball games are even broadcast on local radio. This is the time of year many transplants’ families visit.

The move will be DeSantis’s latest step to combat the COVID-19 disease as the outbreak grows as he defends his decision not to order Floridians shelter in place.

DeSantis compared the shelter-in-place order issued in New York to squeezing a water balloon:

“The minute you squeeze in one area, the water goes to the other part of the balloon.”

Over 190 direct flights still travel from the New York area to Florida daily.

“You have so many people working so hard, many people have sacrificed to try to protect our friends and neighbors, and I just think it would be unacceptable to continue to allow it — just simply coming in for people who are fleeing a shelter-in-place order in those states.”

Law enforcement will likely meet people on planes before they disembark and ask travelers screening questions and take their temperatures. People traveling would need to self-isolate, even away from family.

However, the order will not isolate people who take a road trip down from New York. DeSantis called the possibility not practical.

Earlier this month, a JetBlue passenger who was awaiting COVID-19 test results who flew to Orlando returned positive.

As of Monday evening, more than 1,200 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Florida and 17 have died, an increase of three since Sunday.

State officials did not immediately return calls Monday evening seeking information on how many of those diagnosed in Florida recently arrived or returned from New York or had contact with someone who did.

DeSantis also said Monday he wants to avoid imposing a statewide lockdown like California, New York and other states have done, saying he still believes targeting the counties hardest hit by the virus for the most extreme measures is preferable.


Reporting from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Sonja Fitch

    March 23, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Desantis shut down Florida. Idiot!!!!!

  • Larry Gillis

    March 23, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Mandatory self-incarceration for 14 days, just because you’re from New York or New Jersey?
    And, if you don’t, it is a CRIMINAL offense?

    This is America, Governor, not some third-world, tin-pot-dictator republic.

    Larry Gillis, Libertarian

  • Leo Dean

    March 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    So it’s ok to allow spring breakers on the beaches of Florida, who all come home with Corona, but folks from ny/nj have to be screened? Gov.Desantis you are an embarrassment. Shame on you!

  • Michelle

    March 23, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Okay so I am traveling to see a friend on Friday and coming home on Sunday. How would I isolate for 2 weeks if my trip is only for 2 days?

    • Shakin Meihead

      March 26, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      For the love of God, STAY HOME!

  • ConcernedHotelier

    March 23, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    Where will they quarantine? Local hotels that are still open? So hotel staff can risk catching and spreading the virus to the local community? I work in a hotel and keep seeing people from hot spots coming into the state.

    • Rebecca Pritchard

      March 26, 2020 at 5:49 am

      I’m sorry honey. He’s an idiot. Please keep protesting. Keep letting your voice be heard. He’s not doing the right thing for those of us that live here. He’s not doing the right thing for the DOCTORS and NURSES of our hospitals. This is a ludicrous decision, and I’ve told so on here. Pray for better decisions. Because the ones he’s making now are not right. Praying for you.

  • ileanne martinez

    March 24, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    shut us down you idiot…..NY everywhere else…..will not vote for you again

  • John

    March 24, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    Thank you Governor DeSantis for exposing us Floridians to a higher possibility and risk of contracting COVID19. NY has over 50% of known cases in the U.S. Do you really think that these people fleeing to FL are going to self quarantine for two weeks? You stated yourself that “I would reckon, given the outbreak there, that every single flight has somebody on it who is positive for COVID-19”, yet you allow them to enter our state. Thank you. Maybe try banning all passengers from NY, NJ & CT. Not only by where the flights come from but what is on there drivers license. Because of you incorrect decision you WILL see the the infected numbers rise dramatically in our state.

  • Rebecca Pritchard

    March 26, 2020 at 5:41 am

    This is ludicrous decision. For those of us that live here, you are putting are lives in danger. I’m wondering how much longer I’m going to have to stay at home, shelter in place, being that I have a pre condition of dying if I get infected. I was born and raised here, 60 years now. How much longer do I have to stay home without the things I need? Without going to Dr. appts? Without seeing my daughter and grandkids? HOW LONG? You’re making it much longer, I know that.

    Please STOP THIS NONSENSE. I’M BEGGING YOU!! This is not fair to us that will die if we catch the virus, it is not fair for us that are sheltering in place. Because this is going to make it do much longer. Don’t go by the numbers of cases right now, because the labs are so far behind, no one knows the REAL NUMBER OF CASES IN FLORIDA TODAY. I voted, I will not vote again for you. PLEASE ISSUE A SHELTER IN PLACE FOR THE STATE OR AT LEAST FOR THE MOST POPULUS COUNTIES.Your doing nothing. This self quarantine for 2 weeks for these people on these flights is A JOKE. I know someone who flew in, they’re going house shopping, already have appointments with realtors, do you really think they’re going to self quarantine for 2 weeks, when they’re only going to be here for a week. YOU’RE CRAZY. Maybe like I said YOU SHOULD ASK THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES, ASK THE DOCTORS AND NURSES OF THIS STATE, ASK THE DOCTORS AND NURSES OF OUR HOSPITALS. What they want.

Comments are closed.


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