By Peter D'Oench


Update: On Tuesday afternoon, the White House called for a 14-day quarantine for everyone leaving the NY area.

Earlier story follows:

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Department of Health is now in charge of informing passengers on all airline flights that arrive from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut that they must self-isolate for two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a big challenge and there will be penalties for those who do not follow the mandate.

“It’s not a problem. You got to do it, you got to do it,” said “David,” who arrived Tuesday from New York.

Under an emergency order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, David will now go into self-isolation for 14 days as will all incoming passengers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

When asked if that would be hard for him, David told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “No, not really. I’m going to stay home for two weeks like they told us to. I’ll do it because I have to do it.”

Gretel Spaulding feels the same way after flying from New York to Fort Lauderdale.

“I feel good about it. I mean it’s for protection. You have to do it, you have to do it,” she said.

Those passengers in isolation are responsible for their own food and lodging. Miami-Dade police said they would help enforce the quarantine if asked by the state’s health department.

On Monday, DeSantis said the number of coronavirus cases in New York tripled in the last three days and the state has half of the country’s COVID-19 cases. He also pointed out that a JetBlue passenger who had tested positive took a flew from New York to Palm Beach.

Now the state’s health department is giving passengers a form to fill out and turn in with their personal and travel information.

“Travelers from New York should know that it is part of the arrival process now into the State of Florida and be aware of that and if law enforcement gets involved there are going to be consequences on this,” said Greg Chin with the Miami-Dade Aviation Department.

On Tuesday, Miami International Airport had 22 incoming daily flights from the tri-state area, Fort Lauderdale had 37 incoming daily flights from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“Right now we are distributing forms. We are working with the National Guard, the Broward Sheriff’s Office teaming up with the Broward Aviation Department, all this to facilitate this,” said Greg Meyer with the Broward Aviation Department. “Passengers are going to be screened and spoken with and asked if they can fill out a form from the state Health Department saying they will be in self-quarantine for 14 days.”

“Under the new procedure, passengers fill out forms with their information and purpose of travel and turn it in the health department,” said Spaulding. “It was easy. They did not have to test me.”

DeSantis admits there is not much the state can do about people driving into the state but airport travelers disobeying the order could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said, “It is a huge responsibility and I think what the public needs to know is that at the Sheriff’s Office we are the primary law enforcement agency down there partnering up at the airport. This particular order places the burden on the Health Department. If they should call for help we support any other law enforcement organization.”

Attorney David Weinstein objects to the governor’s order, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution.

“It discriminates against a certain class of individuals who live outside the State of Florida without giving them due process that they deserve under the federal Constitution,” he said.

DeSantis has been able to sidestep that objection because of his executive powers under the state of emergency.

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Peter D'Oench

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