TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that he does not plan to issue a state-wide shelter in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. Instead, he will issue an executive order for travelers coming to Florida to undergo a mandatory 14-day self-isolation if they are traveling from states heavily affected by the virus, specifically New York and New Jersey.
"I think given our circumstances, [a shelter in place order] would not be advisable," he said during a live-streamed news conference. "...you simply cannot lock down our society indefinitely."
A statewide shelter in place, like those implemented in New York or California, would prohibit Florida residents from leaving their homes unless it is for essential business, such as grocery shopping or medical emergencies.
DeSantis argued that states like Ohio, California and New York, that have implemented shelters in place, are not successful in getting residents to comply.
"It's not clear to me that doing a massive shut down of an entire state would even work," DeSantis said. "In New York City, it's like the party never ended. You got ppl congregating all over the place. You see images from California in Orange County ... the beaches may have never been so crowded. These are people who have been ordered to shelter in place and they are not complying with those orders."
Instead, DeSantis said residents from New York are flocking to Florida to escape the state's mandatory shut down and could be bringing more cases of coronavirus with them.
CNN reported Sunday that 15,168 cases have been confirmed in New York state. That same day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an estimated 40% to 80% of residents could get the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic.
That is why DeSantis plans to make an executive order to have travelers from the New York-New Jersey area go through a mandatory self-isolation should they travel to Florida.
"That's the only way that we can be sure that that virus is not going to be reintroduced to the state of Florida and then spread," DeSantis said. "You have so many people working so hard. Many people have sacrificed to try to protect our friends and neighbors ... it would be unacceptable to continue to allow it just simply coming in from people who are fleeing a shelter in place order in those states."
In Northeast Florida, 39 cases are confirmed in Duval County with the youngest patient being 20 years old as of Monday. Seven cases are in Clay County, 16 in St. Johns County, one in Nassau County, two in Putnam County, one in Flagler County, two in Baker County and one in Bradford County, according to the Florida Department of Health. There have been two reported deaths in Duval and one in Clay County.
There are a total of 1,096 cases reported in the state of Florida.