Florida Quarantine Rule Remains in Effect

Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis extended a mandatory quarantine order for residents of the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut tri-state area. According to the order, residents of those three states must immediately quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Florida.

Here’s the nesting doll of FL Executive Orders that cover this topic.

Florida Quarantine Rule Remains in Effect

First, Executive Order 20-51, dated March 1, declares a public health emergency in the state of Florida. On March 9, Executive Order 20-52 designates a comprehensive emergency management plan.

The initial language on quarantine rules for people entering Florida from NY/NJ/CT appears in March 23rd’s Executive Order 20-80 and March 24th’s Executive Order 20-82, the latter of which states:

I hereby direct all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. This Order shall not apply to persons employed by the airlines and those performing military, emergency or health response. This Order shall take effect immediately and apply retroactively to all persons who have entered Florida after being in any area with substantial community spread within the previous 14 days. All persons isolating or quarantining under this Section shall be responsible for all costs associated with their isolation or quarantine, including transportation, lodging, food, medical care and any other expenses to sustain the person during the period of isolation or quarantine.
Florida Quarantine Rule Remains in Effect

Order 20-80 also states:

This Executive Order shall expire upon the expiration of Executive Order 20-
52, including any extensions.
[emphasis mine]

(The means of executing Order 20-82 was detailed in Executive Order 20-86 on March 27, which set up roadway checkpoints and other modes of identifying travelers from the tri-state area.)

Executive Order 20-82 was set to expire at the end of the valid term of of Order 20-52, which was 60 days after March 9. This means that the initial term that covered NY/NJ/CT quarantining upon arrival in FL was supposed to end on May 7, 2020.

So far, this makes sense. In mid-March, New York was awash in Coronavirus, while Florida was a relative safe zone.

On April 29, Executive Order 20-112 specifically extended Orders 20-80 and 20-82 (the mandatory tri-state quarantine for) until July 7. This was further strengthened by May 8th’s, Executive Order 20-114 which continued the state of emergency established in Order 20-52 for an additional 60 days.

Again, at the time this made sense. New York was still a hot spot in late April, while Florida did not have as many active COVID cases.

Fast forward to July 7, when NY/NJ/CT case prevalence was largely under control and Florida’s cases were running rampant.

Despite the vast change in circumstances, on July 7 Executive Order 20-166 extended the FL state of emergency (originally outlined in Order 20-52 and extended by Order 20-114) by an additional 60 days, until September 5, 2020.

So, since the tri-state quarantine was ordered to remain in effect until Order 20-52 expired, this means that the rule remains, even though NY is now much safer than Florida. The penalty for non-compliance is, “punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both.”

Complicating matters is a similar tri-state area quarantine mandate which applies to residents of now 19 states. Travelers from these states (AL, AR, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, KS, LA, MS, NC, NV, OK, SC, TN, TX, and UT) must quarantine for 14-days. Those violating the quarantine could face up to a $10,000 fine.

So, and we’re finally getting to the relevant part for Touring Plans readers. If you live in the NY/NJ/CT area, and are planning to visit Walt Disney World, you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days upon your arrival in Florida. Then, you’ll have to quarantine for 14 days upon your return home from Florida. So if you want to go to Disney World, you’re looking at a month of sitting around, plus your time on vacation.

I am NOT a lawyer, so forgive me if I’m misreading these orders. But, since the language above states, “I direct all persons who enter the State of Florida from an area with substantial community spread … to isolate or quarantine for 14 days,” this could mean that, while NY, NJ, and CT are singled out, it is possible the Florida quarantine rule would also apply to other areas with community spread – which is essentially the entire list of 19 states that New York is now requiring to quarantine. Meaning that, theoretically, someone coming to Walt Disney World from, say, Georgia, would also have to isolate upon arrival, though they would not currently have to isolate upon their return home.

Though enforcement is likely to be spotty, the letter of the law is indeed cumbersome. And, as always, all of this is subject to change at a moment’s notice.

With the uncertainty about quarantine requirements, has this changed your plans for a 2020 vacation to Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments.

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Filed Under: Walt Disney World (FL), coronavirus, Covid, quarantine