Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced over the weekend the addition of a checkpoint on I-95 South at the Florida-Georgia border to screen travelers from coronavirus hotspots as part of a broader effort to slow the spread of the virus in the Sunshine State.
DeSantis’s order requires motorists traveling from areas “with substantial community spread,” including Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, to self-isolate for 14 days. They should also “be prepared for additional monitoring by DOH to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” per the order.
“Upon entry in Florida, each arriving traveler or responsible family member (if traveling as a family) will be required to complete a traveler form,” the Florida Department of Transportation announced on Sunday.
“The form requires key information, including each traveler’s contact information and trip details. Failure to complete the form and failure to follow any isolation or quarantine order from DOH are a violation of Florida law,” it warned:
The I-95 checkpoint slowed traffic on the Florida-Georgia border on Sunday, which temporarily shut down for roughly four hours due to traffic-related issues. It reopened the same day with a different traffic cone pattern aimed to smooth the flow of traffic:
The news comes as DeSantis announced another checkpoint along the Florida-Alabama border, screening travelers from Louisiana — another emerging virus hotspot.
“Initially, I was concerned about doing this because I don’t want there to be a backup,” DeSantis said of the checkpoints on Saturday.
“But they’re doing it in a great way where the trucks are going through. We’re not worried about that. We’re just worried about the people fleeing some of those areas,” he added.
Additionally, several airports across the Sunshine State are screening individuals flying in from virus hotspots.
DeSantis, who has faced a flurry of criticism for refraining from issuing a sweeping statewide stay-at-home order, announced on Monday that he will sign a “Safer at Home” order applying to residents in counties in Southeast Florida.
“The safer at home is the right move for southeast Florida, this is the time to do the right thing and listen to all your local officials,” DeSantis said during a press conference at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Monday.
“We do this until the middle of May and then we’ll see where we’re at,” he explained.
The vast majority of the state’s 5,473 confirmed coronavirus cases, 60 percent, are in the southern portion of the state. The “Safer at Home” order extends to four counties — Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach.
Local cases in Miami-Dade County currently stand at 1,632. Broward County has more than 1,100 cases.
“It gets all four counties operating under the same sheet of music,” DeSantis said.
“We want to win the fight against COVID-19,” he added. “We’re going guns blazing, doing all that we can, to slow the spread of COVID-19.”