Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is extending his 14-day isolation period for people coming from New York to another coronavirus hotspot - New Orleans.
“All we're trying to do is keep our residents here safe,” DeSantis said in his office on Friday. “If you're coming from one of the epicenters, we probably think you should follow the directions of your state and local officials, and if they're telling you to shelter in place, then do that. But don't don't come here because we're trying to protect our folks.”
DeSantis said since the isolation requirement went into effect, 3,400 people coming to the Sunshine State from New York have been screened. He said there has been a noticeable drop in the number of travelers coming into the state.
Meanwhile, DeSantis has suspended all vacation rentals in the state for the next two weeks. If someone is already in a vacation rental, they can finish their stay.
“Again, the concern is people in some of these hotspots wanting to then come here,” DeSantis said. “And now's not really the time to do that.”
Florida will also set up checkpoints along the Panhandle to scan license plates from certain areas of the country. The Florida Highway Patrol is authorized to pull over people who are arriving from COVID-19 hotspots.
“That will not apply to any of the commercial transportation, because there's a lot of key things that are being brought to Florida and other states,” DeSantis said.
To enforce social distancing, DeSantis is directing the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to enforce the requirements on the waterways.
“Many people continue to violate social distancing requirements,” DeSantis said. “You need to be in groups of 10 or less. What they're doing is they're tying all these boats together and then having large group parties.”
DeSantis said over 10,000 tests have been conducted at the federal coronavirus testing sites alone, including the TIAA Bank Field location in Jacksonville.
SNAP food assistance benefits to qualified families will increase temporarily after DeSantis directed the Department of Children and Families to submit a federal waiver.
“That'll increase the benefit from a family of four for $449 a month to $509 a month, and that will impact hundreds of thousands of Floridians in a very difficult time,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also reaffirmed his support of moratoriums on evictions.
“I think, quite frankly, the time to evict someone right now, you're probably not bringing in a lot of new tenants, just given the uncertainty of the situation. So I think that that's appropriate,” DeSantis said.
According to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, the Florida Supreme Court is suspending evictions until April 17.
Sky Lebron can be reached at email@example.com, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.