On the heels of a huge Mardi Gras celebration, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a strong message Friday to residents of New Orleans and Louisiana – don’t plan on visiting the Sunshine State.
With the Coronavirus running rampant – New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton even tested positive and was cleared Tuesday – DeSantis added the Pelican State to his executive order that already mandated any New Yorkers coming into Florida would need to self-isolate themselves for 14 days.
“All we are trying to do is keep our residents safe,” he said, pointing out that Texas also enacted a similar measure.
Louisiana, with New Orleans fresh off its annual Mardi Gras celebration in February, has more than 2,700 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, with 119 deaths and 773 patients hospitalized. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she would have canceled Mardi Gras if any “red flags” had been given by federal officials in February.
DeSantis said much like with situation where law enforcement and healthcare officials are meeting incoming planes with New York City residents aboard, Louisiana residents will be met by Florida Highway Patrol troopers and county law enforcement officers if they attempt to come into Florida amid the outbreak.
“We are going to be authorizing the use of checkpoints on the roads coming into Florida,” he said. “New Orleans has obviously got a lot of problems. It may not be quite as widespread as New York City, but I think there’s a concern in the Panhandle that this could impact them. They’re working hard to keep their (COVID-19) rates low, so we don’t want to add any problems for them.”