Louisiana travelers face recommended restrictions in Florida, despite drop in COVID-19 cases

Short term rental owners asked not to rent to those from high-risk areas.
Short term rental owners asked not to rent to those from high-risk areas.(FOX 8)
Updated: May. 22, 2020 at 6:43 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Those headed to Florida beaches should be prepared to stop at the state line.

Due to the Florida Governor’s executive order, travelers from Lousiana and other high-risk areas will be asked to quarantine upon arrival, despite Louisiana’s drop-in COVID-19 cases.

Georgianna Dupont said she headed to Florida from Metairie over the weekend, but was stopped outside the state line.

“It was a little disheartening when we got to the border,” Dupont said, “I was not feeling good about the situation. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.”

She was asked to fill out personal information, and agree to quarantine for 14 days.

“I have not seen anybody enforcing. I mean, I’m at a hotel,” Dupont said, “So I am venturing out, but I mean I’m smart about it. I’m social distancing, I’m wearing my mask,” Dupont said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also discouraged vacation rental owners from booking with those from high-risk areas.

"I haven't been in touch with him about this, and you know, you saw some of this in other states too and even Texas was looking at doing that. Ultimately, you can still go to Texas," Louisiana Representative and U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise said.

Scalise says keeping Louisianans out would be difficult to enforce.

“This idea that you can just say if you’re from Louisiana you can’t come to Florida, that’s not realistic and that’s not something that’s ultimately going to be upheld,” Scalise said.

While DeSantis lists Louisiana as one of the four areas of high risk, Dr. Joseph Kanter with the State Health Department says the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped significantly.

“Incidents and new cases is flat or going down, hospitalizations and COVID-like illnesses as well. So we feel like we’re in a good spot. We feel like the state as a whole, really the New Orleans region, in particular, was highly effective at flattening the curve,” Kanter said.

Kanter says it's hard to say whether Louisiana is still considered high risk.

“It’s hard to define high risk. I think that our trajectory is encouraging, but there still is a lot of COVID out there, as there is in a number of states. It’s difficult to compare those from one another,” Kanter said.

Those headed to Florida beaches say they will practice social distancing.

"I think the concern is not standing on the beach when you're within your family and 10, 20, 30 feet from anyone else. That in and of itself is a relatively safe activity. The problem is what you had to do to get there," said Kanter, "We're not out of the woods, but we're in a much better place than we were three or four weeks ago."

Some vacation rental owners say they’re canceling reservations from Louisiana, while others say they will wait, as Louisiana customers make up a large part of their business.

RELATED: All Florida panhandle counties can reopen vacation rentals

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