Gov. DeSan­tis’ com­plaints said to have spurred Trump’s scrapped New York ‘quar­an­tine’ idea.

Orlando Sentinel - - Front Page - By Steven Le­mon­gello Sle­mon­gello@ or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

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.

On 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 self­iso­la­tion 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.”

The ex­pla­na­tions ap­par­ently 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 spokes­woman He­len Ferre said Sun­day, “the Gov­er­nor was not com­plain­ing, he was stat­ing a fact that in­di­vid­u­als who are ar­riv­ing from ar­eas of high com­mu­nity spread should self-quar­an­tine for 14 days as they un­know­ingly may be spread­ing the virus. … It is un­fair that peo­ple who are flee­ing from hot zones bring the in­fec­tion with them and seed our com­mu­ni­ties with new in­fec­tions we are try­ing to stamp out.”

Ferre added that DeSan­tis and Trump speak al­most daily and Trump “men­tioned that he liked the Gov­er­nor’s idea of man­dat­ing self-quar­an­tine and men­tioned the pos­si­bil­ity of do­ing some­thing sim­i­lar around New York City.”

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-ath­ome 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 statewide 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.

ALEX BRAN­DON/AP

Gov. Ron DeSan­tis, R-Fla., greets Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as he steps off Air Force One upon ar­rival at the Or­lando San­ford In­ter­na­tional Air­port, March 9, in Or­lando.

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