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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issues order for New York-area travelers to self-isolate

Gov. Ron DeSantis is requiring people flying from the NYC-area -- a COVID-19 hotspot -- to self-isolate for 14 days.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Despite growing calls for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide stay-at-home order to limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, he said that would "not be advisable."

But what the state can do now, DeSantis said, is to require people on domestic flights flying in from the New York City region -- a coronavirus hotspot -- to self-isolate for 14 days.

He issued the executive order Monday.

"That's the only way we can be sure that [the virus won't] be re-introduced in the state of Florida," DeSantis said.

The governor's new order focuses on anyone flying from Connecticut, New York, or New Jersey after 12:01 a.m. on March 24. All passengers must isolate for 14 days, and the Florida Department of Health will oversee screenings.

Anyone who violates the order could face 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

"I think it's a great precaution. You know you have to do something. You have to be proactive otherwise it will be overwhelming to the city," Jocelyn Stevens said.

Stevens is one of the last to fly into Tampa International Airport from LaGuardia Airport without having to quarantine. She thinks restrictions could go a step further and people should shelter-in-place.

"Things are being put in place, but people are people they're not always obeying if they're told to stay at home and they're still wandering the streets and socializing. I think there is a possibility that things can expand here like it did in New York," Stevens said.

States across the country, including Michigan and New York, have issued stay-at-home orders in recent days in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. All have allowed certain workers, such as medical personnel and grocery store employees, to continue working.

DeSantis said "it's not clear to me" such an order would "even work."

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"I think given our circumstances, [a statewide stay-at-home order] would not be advisable," DeSantis said. "It would be a very blunt instrument. When you're ordering people to shelter in place, you are consigning a number -- probably hundreds of thousands of Floridians to lose their jobs, you're throwing their lives into potential disarray."

"And if that were something that were necessary statewide because the health comes first, that would be one thing, but if you look at Florida's situation right now, this is not a virus that's impacting every corner of the state. We have 20 counties that have zero cases at all, and we have about 25 counties that really only have a few cases."

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