Florida coronavirus: More travelers asked to quarantine, SNAP benefits increasing


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – More travelers coming in to the State of Florida will soon be asked to self-quarantine to help slow the spread of coronavirus in the Sunshine State.

Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed executive orders requiring travelers coming in from the New York City area to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in Florida. He says 3,400 travelers have been screened since that executive order.

During a news conference Friday, the governor announced he will sign a new executive order requiring travelers from the New Orleans area of Louisiana to do the same thing.

“There’s a fear that as New Orleans becomes more of a hotspot that you could have an influx of people coming into the Panhandle from Louisiana,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to be authorizing the use of checkpoints on roads coming in to Florida.”

The governor also announced Friday he’s suspending vacation rentals throughout the state.

“The concern is people in some of these hotspots now wanting to come here. Now’s not really the time to do that,” he said.

New vacation rentals will be suspended for two weeks. Anyone in a vacation rental now is asked to finish up and go home.

Gov. DeSantis also addressed supplies, specifically testing swabs. He says he will send 1,000 swabs each to several hard-hit counties, including Hillsborough.

“Hillsborough is, I think behind Palm Beach (County) – they’ve had a decent amount but I think we want to help them have even more testing,” he said.

Families who receive SNAP benefits can also expect to see more money soon, according to the governor. DeSantis says he’s directing the Department of Children and Families to submit a federal waiver to temporarily increase the benefit amounts to the maximum monthly allotment.

Instead of getting $449 a month, a family of four will receive $509 a month.

“That will impact hundreds of thousands of families in Florida during a very difficult time,” DeSantis said.

Coronavirus cases statewide hit 2,900 on Friday, according to the state health department. There have been 35 deaths.

Gov. DeSantis is still holding off on calling for a statewide “stay-at-home” order, questioning how effective the orders have been in other states like New York and California. Local leaders in Pinellas County and Hillsborough County have instead chosen to put county-wide orders in place.

News Channel 8 will show the governor’s press briefing on air and online at 2:30 p.m. ET. You can watch on WFLA.com or the WFLA Facebook page.


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