Local travelers react to Florida’s decision to lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Coronavirus Local Impact

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WWLP) – Traveling to Florida now is much more of a concern now that Florida’s governor has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions.

You wouldn’t know we were still in a pandemic down in Florida. You don’t need a mask, and bars and restaurants are back to full capacity and it has many people concerned about traveling there and those who come to Massachusetts.

“Opening the bars? I don’t think that was very wise at all.

Florida bars have been jam-packed with people ever since the state lifted all restrictions on businesses. It has flyers changing around their travel plans in high-risk states.

“I’m not going to go out of my way to go into bars like Nashville. I am going to stay in secluded hotels, but it won’t prevent me from traveling,” Paul Reynolds from Hampden, Connecticut.

Florida’s decision goes completely against what the medical community has been advising all along.

“We know this virus spreads if you’re in close contact and we know it can spread if you’re not symptomatic. Indoors there is a much higher risk than outdoors, and we know there are several instances of well documented transmission of people in bars specifically.” Daniel Skiest, an infectious disease specialist at Baystate Health told 22News.

Travelers coming back from Florida must follow the state’s COVID-19 travel order to prevent the virus from spreading. But it’s your responsibility, and it starts at the airport.

“Oh I do fill out the travel form and meet with the DPH downstairs to let them know where I’ve been and what I’ve done,” said Kimberly Nystrom from Killingsworth, Connecticut flying to Indiana.

Now, Connecticut residents coming back from a high risk state like Florida can come down to the first floor and fill out a travel form, however Massachusetts residents would have to fill it out online.

When it comes to fines, Connecticut residents can be fined $1,000 and Massachusetts residents $500 per day.

After you fill out the travel form, you must quarantine for 14 days or provide documentation of a negative test, that was administered at least 72 hours before the day you came back.

Florida is one of 40 states that is considered high-risk, that’s 80 percent of the country

The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states includes: 

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Washington

The Massachusetts travel order says travelers from high risk states who don’t quarantine would be fined.

The 22News I-Team contacted the Massachusetts Department of Health to find out how the quarantine measures are enforced, but they deferred us to the COVID command center. We’ll let you know when we hear back from them.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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