Virus Outbreak-Farmworkers Town

A man bicycles past a hand washing station set up outside of a popular supermarket Monday, June 8, 2020, in Immokalee, Fla., a farmworking town in rural Florida in the throes of a COVID-19 outbreak.

(The Center Square) — As of Thursday, Floridians traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut must self-quarantine for 14 days, with New York threatening fines up to $10,000 for violating the order.

The states’ Democratic governors Wednesday issued a tri-state travel advisory that requires people coming from states with a COVID-19 “positivity rate” of 10 percent or higher over seven days to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival.

At least nine states are over that threshold, including Florida, which Wednesday set another single-day record for new coronavirus cases with 5,509 reported by the state’s Department of Health (DOH) Thursday morning.

The total number of cases in Florida since the outbreak began in March topped 109,000 Wednesday with 3,281 deaths attributed to the disease.

According to the DOH, about 15.9 percent of those tested Wednesday were positive, more than 3 percent higher than the last month’s “positivity rate.” Florida’s seven-day “positivity rate” is 14.1 percent, according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The mandatory quarantine comes three months after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Glen Abbott imposed similar requirements on tri-state travelers in their states.

DeSantis’ 14-day quarantine applied to travelers from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Louisiana. He removed Louisiana from the advisory in early June, but the order remains in effect.

As new COVID-19 cases top 5,000 a day in Florida, New York reported 581 new cases Wednesday, continuing a downward trend from an April 24 peak of 10,553, and New Jersey 389 new cases, down from a May 2 peak of 3,027.

“We now have to make sure the rates continue to drop,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a briefing joined via video by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. “We also have to make sure the virus doesn’t come on a plane again.”

“We have taken our people, the three of us, these three states, to hell and back,” Murphy said. “The last thing we need to do right now is subject our folks to another round.”

Cuomo said the states collaborated on a deliberative reopening strategy driven by “science” and took a “political pounding” from President Donald Trump for doing so.

Yet, he said, they have dramatically slowed COVID-19's spread while many states that opted to “reopen politically” are seeing a coronavirus resurgence.

Under New York’s order, violators could face fines from $2,000 to $10,000. New Jersey and Connecticut orders do not spell out penalties.

Cuomo, who has exchanged barbs with Florida officials during the COVID-19 emergency, said like many New Yorkers, he knows plenty of Floridians.

“I get phone calls from people in Florida, who say ‘we want to come to New York because we’re afraid of the virus,’” he said.

DeSantis’ only comment on the quarantine came Saturday when, referring to the 6,300 New Yorkers who have died from COVID-19 in state nursing homes, he asked Cuomo, “Please do not quarantine any Floridians in the nursing homes in New York.”

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis Wednesday mocked the order.

“The only way New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Gov. Phil Murphy, Gov. Ned Lamont can keep people in their high tax states is to quarantine them and force them to stay,” Patronis tweeted.