Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed 'reckless' New Yorkers for the coronavirus outbreak in his own state in a press conference on the spread of the pandemic

FILE- In this March 5, 2019 file photo. Florida Gov. Ron Desantis gives his state of the state address on the first day of legislative session, in Tallahassee, Fla. DeSantis is going to Israel with a large contingent of business leaders. That's not surprising, especially as the GOP woos Jewish voters ahead of an important election year. But holding a meeting with the state's three independently elected Cabinet members while he's there has raised concerns about violating the state's open-meeting laws. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

  • In a Wednesday news briefing, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis scolded air travelers leaving New York, which is under a shelter-in-place order, and bringing the coronavirus to his state.
  • DeSantis has yet to issue a similar order in Florida, and has famously kept beaches open for spring breakers.
  • In the press conference, DeSantis said the National Guard will be stationed in major Florida airports and will ask passengers of flights coming from the New York area to self-isolate upon arrival.
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called for closures of gyms and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery, but he has yet to issue a shelter-in-place order - and is now blaming New York for the state's coronavirus outbreak.

DeSantis spent a substantial portion of the 33-minute news briefing on Wednesday slamming New Yorkers for getting on flights out of the city even though the state is under a shelter-in-place order. "You're having people be reckless and cause problems for other communities," he said.Advertisement

"I think people have realized that the epicenter of this thing has shifted," DeSantis said of the virus. "Now the epicenter worldwide really is New York City. We're really rooting for New York to get through it," he continued. "But what's happened is - and it's a problem for Florida - once the shelter in place was issued, people started fleeing the city."

"That makes it much harder to get a grip on this stuff," he said. "Don't defy the directives of your state."

As DeSantis has yet to issue a shelter-in-place order, some Florida counties and cities are taking it upon themselves to issue lockdowns. Miami and Fort Lauderdale, two major spring break destinations in Florida's most-impacted counties, coordinated their city shutdowns to avoid flooding other cities with tourists.

"Tens of thousands have defied [state directives in New York] and so we're ending up in a situation where we're having to pick up some of those pieces," DeSantis said in the conference.

After an uptick in flights to major Florida airports, DeSantis said he "issued an executive order requiring everybody arriving from the New York City area to self-quarantine for 14 days." To enforce the order, he said, "We have National Guard and some other health folks at the airports." All passengers must provide the location of "where they will be self-isolating," and if not, "they could face adverse consequences." DeSantis provided little additional information.Advertisement

Earlier in the week, DeSantis explained his refusal to implement a statewide shelter-in-place order, saying, "This is not a virus that is impacting every corner of the state." He has received criticism from many, including from leading presidential candidate Joe Biden, about his minimal containment efforts.

"People in New York are riding the subway, and then flying away from the hot zone. I mean - really?" DeSantis said near the end of his Wednesday press conference. "How does that make sense if we are trying to contain things?"

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