AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – With New York being the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, Nassau County leaders are proposing an order to have all travelers driving and flying on private planes from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive.
Since the stay-at-home orders have been issued in those three states, where about half of the nation’s COVID-19 cases are, residents have been getting out. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said hundreds, if not thousands, flew to Florida. That’s why he issued an executive order mandating those who fly to airports in Florida from those three states self-quarantine for 14 days. But that order does not apply to people driving to Florida.
Nassau County officials are seeing cars with those state license plates in growing numbers, and checking into hotels on Amelia Island, such as the Omni, which will actually be closing Sunday. To deal with the influx, the Nassau County Board of Commissioners want to issue an order similar to the governor’s for those who are driving from those three states, as commissioners fear that some are taking to cars and private planes to skirt DeSantis’ order.
Locals, like Carolyn and Michael Lewis, think the order is necessary.
“We have quite a bit of snowbirds, and a lot of them do own property down here part-time," Carolyn Lewis said. “I think its an absolutely wonderful idea, it keeps our vulnerable community at less risk and its just a good civic duty for those people to do it.”
According to Nassau County Attorney Mike Mullin, the order would require those travelers to inform hotels or lodging areas that they are coming and will have to self-quarantine. They would also have to give their names to the health department.
“I think that they owe it to the people that live here, that when they come to self-quarantine on their own without really being told," Michael Lewis said.
According to officials with the convention and visitors bureau, as of Thursday, there have not been any new guests from the New York tri-state area that have checked into the area hotels.
Mullin said he plans to sign the order Friday and it would go into effect immediately.