ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — On the day an executive order affecting New York-area travelers to Florida was set to go into effect, there was no guidance on how to implement it.
On Tuesday, 10Investigates revealed how law enforcement agencies were left in the dark about how to handle the order. Then, late Tuesday night, some guidance arrived -- although it was directed mostly at travelers, not the people expected to enforce the policy.
The Florida Departement of Transportation, working with the Florida Department of Health, late Tuesday said people flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are required to isolate for 14 days or during the length of their visit, whichever is shorter, to help limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Travelers must also be prepared for additional monitoring by the Department of Health. People from the affected areas, upon arriving in Florida, should expect to fill out a form with their travel history and contact information.
"Failure to complete the form and failure to follow any isolation or quarantine order from DOH are a violation of Florida law," a news release states.
A traveler card also will be provided, which contains contact information and additional guidance if the person develops coronavirus symptoms.
FDOT said it is asking each public airport to provide data about scheduled New York region flights to allow the Department of Health staff and local law enforcement to respond to each flights' arrival.
The news release did not detail the extent of coordination between the governor's office, state departments and local governments. It was not immediately clear what answers had been given to law enforcement agencies by Tuesday night.
The previous story is below.
10Investigates found local law enforcement agencies are still in the dark about how to enforce Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order requiring travelers flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to get screened for COVID-19 and self-quarantine for two weeks.
DeSantis signed the executive order Monday, and it was supposed to start Tuesday.
The order says the Florida Department of Health is supposed to coordinate with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, each airport, local governments, and law enforcement agencies to enforce the order.
But, the Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies that got back to 10Investigates tell us they’ve received zero communication from the state on how to enforce these quarantines.
Keep in mind, any person who violates the order to quarantine could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office even reached out to the Florida Department of Health asking for a list of travelers who should self-quarantine, but a spokesperson tells 10Investigates deputies haven’t gotten a response.
Even if they get that list, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office said it “would not be ‘enforcing’ these residents staying home,” but would be able to “take the necessary precautions when answering” calls for service at their homes.
The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport set up a booth in the terminal, where travelers from the affected states have to fill out forms and do health screenings.
Tampa International Airport, which has about 30 flights a day coming from the New York/New Jersey area, said the health department is doing screenings there.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport told 10Investigates it's still waiting on direction from the state.
Neither the Florida Department of Health nor the Governor’s Office has answered any of our questions over the past two days about how this executive order is supposed to be enforced.
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