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Florida still checking travelers from former coronavirus hot spots

More than 40,000 forms collected from people from areas with high infection rates in March

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – You may remember seeing long lines of cars stretching for miles on Interstate 95 after Florida put up a checkpoint at the Georgia border in late March. Three months later, it’s a smooth ride. Driving through the area Thursday there was no indication that any motorists were required to stop.

Since the checkpoint was established, 40,700 Department of Health traveler forms have been collected from motorists at the I-95 checkpoint, the Florida Department of Transportation told News4Jax on Wednesday.

Those self-isolation forms are given to those who are from areas identified at that time as having substantial community spread, including Louisiana, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Under a Gov. Ron DeSantis executive order that remains in effect, visitors from those states are required to isolate for a period of 14 days upon entry to Florida.

Starting Thursday, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut turned the tables on Florida and other states where coronavirus cases are at record levels, yet visitors to Florida from those states must still fill out contact information and trip details, including the address where they will be staying and length of stay.

The Florida Department of Transportation said the Florida Highway Patrol continues to staff the checkpoint 24 hours a day, observing traffic conditions and making any adjustments needed to improve traffic flow. This despite the fact that Florida now has a higher rate of new COVID-19 cases than any of the states covered by the March executive order.

The form says travelers are found violating self-quarantine could face 60 days in prison, a $500 fine or both.

The forms are collected at highway checkpoints and at airports from those coming in from places identified as early COVID-19 hotspots.

“Travelers should be prepared for additional monitoring by DOH to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Executive Order 20-86 does not apply to persons performing military, emergency, health or infrastructure response, or persons involved in any commercial activity, including individuals that live in Georgia and commute to work in Florida,” FDOT wrote in a memo at the time.

Motorists approaching the checkpoint should slow down and will be directed by law enforcement to enter the weigh station.

The checkpoint on Interstate-10 near the Florida/Alabama line was deactivated earlier this month. FDOT said nearly 28,000 traveler forms had been collected there by the Department of health.

FDOT gave no indication on how long the checkpoint on I-95 will remain active.


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