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Passenger screenings begin at RSW

By Staff | Mar 26, 2020

Passengers aboard flights from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were met Thursday by trained Florida Department of Health personnel as part of a mandated COVID-19 mitigation effort.

The action comes in the wake of an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this week. That order requires those who traveled from the Tri-State area to Florida to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering Florida.

The order states that those coming from as area with “substantial community spread,” to “isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida, or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter.”

The order took effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The order further states that “Florida Department of Health shall take any steps necessary to ensure the screening and appropriate isolation and quarantine of individuals covered by this order.”

That began happening locally on Thursday, Southwest Florida International Airport Lee County Port Authority Department Director Victoria Moreland said, adding the executive order is being executed by the Florida Department of Health and is not an action the airport has undertaken.

“It is done by trained personnel. The DOH started meeting RSW inbound passengers on flights from airports in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut this morning at 8:15,” Moreland said.

She said RSW has flights from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut operated by six different airlines.

Those flights are down.

“Cancellations are across the board in the past two weeks. Some due to the tower closing in MDW (Chicago Midway Airport) for a period of time, others due to weather,” Moreland said. “The bulk are airlines consolidating flights due to demand.”

She said the airport has increased cleaning and disinfecting of all high-touch, high-traffic areas. The long-term shuttle buses are also receiving extra cleaning while being limited to six riders at a time.

“The food, beverage and retail concession applied extra cleaning. Many of these are closed, not because of the local order to close establishments. Grab and Go is available to travelers,” Moreland said.