ORLANDO, Fla. — President Trump’s scrapped plan to “quarantine” New York, New Jersey and Connecticut because of the coronavirus was in response to Gov. DeSantis’ complaints about New Yorkers coming to Florida, according to the Washington Post.
DeSantis has been making the New York City area, currently the center of the outbreak in the U.S. with more than 53,000 cases in New York and 11,000 in New Jersey, the major target of his policies for the last week.
Last Monday, he cited New York residents fleeing the city following that state’s stay-at-home order as a reason not to issue a similar order in Florida.
The same day, he announced anyone flying in from the New York City area would be asked to self-isolate for 14 days, followed by an order on Tuesday extending self-isolation to anyone who had been in the New York area in the last three weeks.
On Saturday, he called for cars with New York license plates to be stopped on I-95 at the Florida border.
According to two White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Post reported, following DeSantis’ complaints Trump began to float a “quarantine” idea, saying at a press conference, “We’ll be announcing that, one way or the other, fairly soon.”
On Twitter, he also wrote, “I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing ‘hot spots’, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.”
But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Trump never mentioned quarantines in conversations with him, adding, “I don’t even know what that means.”
According to the Post, “Administration aides spent time Saturday explaining to Trump the quarantine would be impossible to enforce and could cause more problems, the officials said.”
Whatever was said, it worked. Trump tweeted Saturday that he asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a strong travel advisory for the area instead.
“A quarantine will not be necessary,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you!”
DeSantis also announced Saturday that cars with Louisiana plates would also be stopped at the Florida border.
The New Orleans area has seen large numbers of COVID-19 cases following the Mardi Gras season, but the total number of cases in the state as of Sunday, more than 3,300, is less than the number of cases in Florida, at more than 4,000.
DeSantis has also been criticized for blaming New York for Florida’s cases, even as less than 900 of the more than 4,000 cases were confirmed to be travel-related.
DeSantis has also been getting heat for not issuing a mandatory stay-at-home order statewide, creating patchwork situations such as Orange and Osceola counties issuing a stay-at-home order while Seminole and Lake have not.
Seminole instead issued an order to limit capacity in grocery stores and break up large gatherings of more than 10 people.
DeSantis has also refused to order beaches closed statewide, even as hordes of spring breakers visited the state in the middle of March.
On Saturday, a picture by Clay Archer of Jacksonville Beach went viral on social media. Travis Akers, a spokesman for Democratic congressional candidate Donna Deegan, said the photo showed beachgoers crammed along the border between Duval and St. Johns County.
“You can see exactly where Duval County ends and St. [Johns] County begins,” Akers wrote. “All beaches in Duval are closed, while St. [Johns] only blocked parking at the beach. Gov. DeSantis needs to order a state-wide closure of all Florida beaches.”
The St. Johns County beaches were finally closed as of 6 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Florida Times-Union.
©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)
Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.