The state is deactivating a highway checkpoint at the Alabama border on Interstate 10 erected more than two months ago to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Florida.
Lifting the checkpoint coincides with the start of Phase Two of the state’s reopening process, which began Friday just after midnight.
Phase Two extended the limitations on people entering Florida after leaving the New York area but let lapse the order that added Louisiana to the restriction. The lapsed order also allowed the Florida Highway Patrol and local authorities to establish screening checkpoints under the direction of the Department of Transportation (FDOT).
While the I-10 checkpoint will be dissolved, the highway checkpoint along Interstate 95 will continue until further notice.
When he announced the order establishing highway checkpoints in late March, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the plan would limit the spread of COVID-19 along the Gulf Coast. That order came at the request of leaders in the Panhandle.
“There’s a fear that as New Orleans becomes more of a hot spot that you could have an influx of people into the Florida Panhandle from Louisiana,” DeSantis said at the time.
As of Thursday, 41,562 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Louisiana, including about 20,000 in the New Orleans area alone and 2,772 Louisianans who died. But the number of daily new cases in the state has plateaued around a few hundred after the state saw thousands of new cases some days in early April.
In Florida, 61,488 people have tested positive while 2,660 Floridians have died as newly reported cases began rising again this week.
One directive DeSantis extended ordered plane travelers from New York City tri-state area to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering Florida. A subsequent move, also continuing, orders all travelers from those states who recently entered Florida to self-isolate for 14 days and to notify anyone they had contact with in the state.
FDOT is encouraging those driving past the closing checkpoint to drive safely as crews work to dismantle it.