March 26, 2020
A new edict issued this week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requires all persons arriving to the state onboard commercial airline flights from the New York tri-state area, including New Jersey and Connecticut, to self-quarantine for up to 14 days to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The executive order does not currently apply to Part 121 flight crews, or Part 91 and 135 flight crews or passengers arriving to general aviation (GA) airports.
Effective March 24, Florida Executive Order 20-80 also calls for airline travelers to submit their contact information and recent travel histories to Florida Department of Health personnel upon arrival to commercial airports. Those travelers will then be issued cards with contact information and guidance from health officials should they later exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
The order is among the strictest quarantine procedures for travelers yet enacted at the state level. While the program’s current phase applies only to persons traveling onboard direct Part 121 commercial flights from the New York tri-state area, it is expected to expand in the near future to airline passengers from that region arriving to Florida through connecting hubs.
“While there’s no current plan to similarly monitor GA passengers or crews, the possibility does exist in the future,” said NBAA Southeast Regional Representative Gregory Voos. “Business aviation operators flying to Florida should continue to monitor the situation and prepare for possible changes to this procedure.”
The Florida Department of Transportation notes that members of the Florida National Guard will be positioned at affected commercial airports to assist state health department officials with implementation of the quarantine guidelines. Failure to abide by the order is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.