Florida Tells Me To Self Quarantine For 14 Days…

Filed Under: Travel

Update: See the bottom of the post for an update.

The Florida Department of Health has just issued an international travel advisory. Florida is telling anyone who has traveled internationally to self isolate for 14 days:

The Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to self-isolate for 14 days following their date of return to the United States.

As a Florida resident who is just returning to the US after having spent a few nights on a private island in Nicaragua with literally two other people, I guess that applies to me as well…

I’m also supposed to travel again internationally in about a week (to Peru), so I guess I should be canceling that as well, since I won’t have 14 days to self isolate?

I don’t want to minimize the impact of the coronavirus situation — obviously this is causing an incredible amount of trouble for people worldwide, both directly and indirectly. It’s deadly at worst, and extremely inconvenient at best.

But I also think there’s a fine line between offering practical advice that reduces the risk of coronavirus spreading, and pure paranoia that creates unnecessary panic, and in many ways only worsens the situation.

Coming from Washington State? No self quarantine needed…

Coming from Nicaragua? Yep, you should lock yourself up for 14 days…

Am I the only one who finds this advisory to be kind of ridiculous? And has any other state posted an advisory like this?

I guess we can leave it to Florida to lead the way when it comes to stuff like this. I’m starting to wonder if Winston may have been behind this policy, because he would certainly be a fan of us self quarantining for 14 days.

Update: It looks like the Florida Department of Health has already updated their policy on this. That sure is reassuring in terms of knowing we have professionals who are putting a lot of thought into decisions prior to publishing them, eh? Here’s the new policy:

The Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to follow the new CDC guidelines, summarized below:

  • Level 3: Mandatory 14-day self-isolation and practice social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.
  • Level 2 and Cruises: Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.
  • For more information regarding current CDC travel advisories related to COVID-19, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
  1. @lucy why don’t you post good advice about this crisis. All well & good to poke holes but turn your outrage into something positive for your readers

  2. I canceled a trip to the US for easter. You guys have no conttol and do wrong things to stop it.

  3. You are not merely a Florida resident , you are a Florida man, and Florida man does what Florida man want .

  4. I´m wondering what they intend to do with the millions of foreign tourists that visit Orlando. Nobody will be allowed to visit Disneyworld for 14 days?

  5. My work has a similar policy to Florida, and I work in the Seattle Area. If you travel internationally for leisure 14 day self quarantine. If you travel domestically or internationally for work, you are fine to come in.

    This makes no sense as a drive into Seattle is probably more risky than most international travel. Especially because the places I am going have fewer cases in the entire country than Seattle does in the City.

  6. Based on that link it seems like it is mandatory… any way they could control this? Could they potentially prevent you from boarding a flight if they found out that you had been abroad over the last 14 days?

    This is hysteria in its purest form.

  7. I think you are not reading it properly, Ben. I just checked the Florida website and it clearly states only if you traveled to Level 3 countries are you required to self quarantine. Level 2 requires self monitoring and precautions.

    You are making it sound like travel from any country and Florida is requiring a self quarantine —–that is just not true.

  8. I think it’s too late for self quarantine. There’s already community spread in the US. Might as well ban all flights within which is very unlikely to happen. At this point, I think the CDC should promote social distancing. That means avoiding large crowds, public gatherings etc.

  9. @ Rowyourboat — They updated it after I wrote the post… updated now to reflect that.

  10. Even their updated advisory is poorly written/edited. What do level 3 and 2 refer 2. They refer to countries with a level 3 or 2 health notice. A better edited notice would include that information.

    Wait until level notices are issued for parts of the US. Which level would the seattle area be assigned?

  11. In our home, the best moronic stories on the news start with “Florida man…”. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out!

  12. The only risk you run by not following this “order” is that if I fact you do have the Covid-19 virus. If you were to break the quarantine order and You infected others, you could be charged criminally.

    Good thing I read your blog, we were planning a trip from MIA-GCM This month, but don’t think it’s worth the quarantine risk

  13. You could have been infected on plane or in airport. Traveling has contributed greatly to the spread of COVID19. For the common good, let’s stop unnecessary travel until we know more.

  14. Forgot to add…14 DAY QUARANTINE in Israel.

    That’s going to put a real bite on business and tourism there.

  15. Florida wouldn’t surprise at all, given the abundance of elderly people there – you should be quarantined for leaving the front door!!!

    Seriously, let’s call this what it is. A media fueled fire of fear!! 6 months from now we will be knee deep in a serious recession of our own causing. But at least the liberal media will have gotten their wish of ridding of Trump! Nice job America. By the way, probably most of you have carried the flu virus at some point this year, but probably didnt know it.

  16. @TravelinWilly

    You mean like the great bite it has taken out of the economy of Northern Italy by not closing the borders and letting it spread freely?

    If 50% of your workforce becomes sick and and 10% needs hospitalization that will also crush your economy.

  17. In London for a few days. Went out on Saturday night to a club with co-workers. The place was packed. Restaurants, bars full and the streets jammed with cars. This is at midnight.

    I’m also heading back to the States tomorrow on BA. I have no idea whether I’m infected or not.

    Party on Garth.

  18. @No Name

    Not everything we comment on here has a judgment attached, like “good” or “bad” or whatever. That’s just you projecting your own judgmental self, which is fine, you do you and all that.

    My comment was merely “Wow! That’s gonna sting!”

    And we don’t stop pandemics by closing borders at all, unless it’s too late and time was squandered/wasted early on. That’s the case with Italy. And South Korea. And Iran. And the list is growing, sadly.

  19. Florida is ground zero for the cruise industry. And we all know these cruises are floating Petri dishes

  20. Gee, imagine if there were enough tests to go around… then you could test yourself after returning and make an informed decision about whether to quarantine, thereby minimizing both virus spread and economic disruption.

    But we don’t have enough tests.

  21. This is BEYOND ridiculous. The damned media needs to stop spreading this panic and hysteria and start talking about many people have RECOVERED. Getting so sick of bs like that. This gone far past ridiculous.

  22. @Ben Holz You think that’s hysteria in its purest form? Here in Australia people are stockpiling toilet paper!! There are fights (fist fights, not just arguments) breaking out in supermarkets. Shoppers are now limited to buying 1 pack per customer. TOILET PAPER!
    S**t just got real folks.

  23. For a rational and scientific analysis of how overblown and sensationalised corona is by media worldwide is see the article in Ynet.com march 8 Dr Ehud Qimron.

  24. No worries. I’ll use paper from my books. Wait, my books are all Kindle! CRAP!

    Okay, I’ll use leaves from the trees. Wait, its winter time! POOP!

    Okay okay, guess I’ll use my fingers! Wait, there is no hand sanitizer!!! Oh Lord have mercy!!!

  25. @Mr.Obvious,
    I didn’t know the liberal media was so powerful that they conned the Chinese to completely shut down a city of 10+ million people and take nation-wide measures that have completely shut down. It is amazing how you blame the media for hyping the situation up and driving everyone to hysteria, when this wouldn’t have been possible if the person in charge didn’t have a major credibility gap of his own doing.

  26. I have a relative with cancer undergoing Chemo Therapy currently and I’m not planning to visit her any time soon given that I returned from Italy a few weeks ago and even though I feel fine I don’t want to take the risk of possibly infecting someone with a compromised immune system. For most of us posting here the virus poses no big threat but old people and very ill people are dying from it and it would be reckless to ignore this fact.

  27. Ben, there’s a story in today’s guardian in the uk about a couple who caught the corona virus on a plane to Vietnam, they were completely a symptomatic but basically have been Typhoid Mary around Vietnamese and are now in quarantine.

    You could have it now and be asymptomatic or pick it up on the plane to Peru. All in all best not to travel. If not for you because you are young and healthy but for all the people you will come into contact with.

  28. you should sue the State of Florida — like that SWISS lawsuit …did it go anywhere or was it only contemplated/in blogging stage?

  29. Yep, there it is. Blame “the man” for it. His fault. I knew it wouldn’t take long. Like holding candy in front of a baby. Instead of letting the professional organizations like CDC just handle this, nope, the rest of us know everything and are experts. Like CNN, who declared a PANDEMIC today because “their” experts say so. Thumbs up!

  30. Lucky, the key word is “advise,” which means that we suggest you quarantine. They probably don’t want the blowback of mandatory Quaratine but want to be able to saw that “we told them to quarantine” if there is a major outbreak.

  31. @Snic that is incorrect. according to HHS Secretary there are 2.1M tests readily available to all states. You need to have been in contact with someone or show symptoms. We can’t just test someone on a whim.

  32. @Donna; So sorry for your relative, however if you have been back a few weeks now, you should be fine. It’s too bad you can not test and be sure but with compromised relatives, you can not be too over cautious. Good luck!

  33. Also I would assume the level 2 countries are strictly with respect to COVID-19. Not a FL resident but traveling to Germany next week and it is level 2 for terrorism (not COVID-19). Frankly I am checking my health daily since I travel a lot and guess I limit contact (retired and travel pretty much on my own) so I likely would be i. Compliance anyway.

    BTW agree this has gotten out of hand. It is very similar to flu (different Coronavirus strain) and easily treated except for very old and/or health compromised. My guess is any ready prevalent in US – people just haven’t been tested or felt very ill. IMHO you have about as good a chance getting it at local gym, restaurant or club as in most of the rest of the world.

    Not freaking out like so many

  34. @Mark S – Thanks. It’s a bit worrisome that I’m hearing 30 days may be the real time period for symptoms to emerge. Getting tested is really difficult unless you’ve been on a Cruise Ship or in China. As of last week, those returning from Italy are not being tested unless they have symptoms.

  35. You’re a travel blogger, not a epidemiologist. Let the experts handle this and stay in your lane. Calling it ridiculous only legitimizes the real fear mongering going on.

    Sure, they updated it. Not sure if you’re aware or not, but our hard working public health officials are working their asses off right now. They may miss a couple things.

  36. As a flight attendant based in Miami (hope I get you or Ford or Tiffany on one of my flights!) I guess this could impact my work schedule for sure! But on a serious note, this WILL affect my future! We lost out on a cruise last month Singapore to Hong Kong, and I’m thinking that our alternate cruise in October, Montreal to Miami, will be “dead in the water” as this situation will not get better. Yes, there is hysteria out there, but not all attributable to the media. Read up from the CDC and WHO and take it from there folks. Thanks for your amazing blog Ben! My hubby and don’t miss a posting!

  37. @Ed

    Yes that is the very basic thing every human should do to avoid the spread. Today I assume every living human is a potential Typhoid Mary, including myself.
    But hey let @Lucky go ahead to Peru and see if by small chance he does infect Peru. You can’t blame him since CDC didn’t quarantine him and Peru let him in. It’s not like FL attracts bunch of tourists foreign and domestic or is a hub for cruises.

    @Mr. Obvious
    Somethings might not be too obvious for you. A lot of times CDC (or any government agency) cannot officially acknowledge it (as a pandemic) because it would create more panic and chaos that it should be. This is when they ‘leaked’ stuff to the press or telling the media what story to run. It’s not like people hoarding too much supplies already. Officially declaring a pandemic would stress the system and the public too far too much with little benefit. (and an argument for big brother is watching you for your own good, LOL)

    No don’t trust everything the media tells you. But that doesn’t mean you trust nothing that the media tells you either. But I guess that isn’t obvious enough for you (or anyone who trusts CNN or FOX or Onion entirely).

  38. Wow @Eskimo, you are going to take a position that a major organization such as the CDC is going to withhold information based on not wanting to cause a panic? Really? You think they really give a crap about that given the situation? So according to your theology, can we expect the FAA to withhold the results of a major plane crash so the rest of the fliers dont panic? Back to the igloo with you!!!

  39. @Mr. Obvious

    And this is why both CNN and FOX have cult followers. Obvious isn’t it, LOL.

    CDC is not withholding any information, nor did I claim they did. Declaring a pandemic is just CDC putting a category into the current facts. CDC declaring it or not would not make the virus stronger or weaker, would not cure more or infect less. At current situation, it probably wound’t affect current safeguards and procedures that is currently put in place.

    What declaring would do is giving CDC and big brother more power and authority to control the situation. (Think in extreme case is Wuhan type quarantine in Seattle)

    What declaring will do is making cult followers stock up 2 years worth of supply in a doomsday bunker. Grocery prices will go up 5 times and people will be fighting over eggs. All of this would still not change the facts about the virus nor does CDC needs to quarantine Seattle (yet)

    Is it more obvious to you now?

    Can this be called a pandemic, probably weeks ago. Will CDC officially admit it, still way too soon. Did CDC indirectly send you a message, go watch CNN.

    Now back to my igloo while you see the world around you getting ready to panic even more over a dictionary word and not the actual virus.

  40. Winston just contacted the state of Florida’s health department. He is trying to get a permanent quarantine status for his Daddy’s unless he can travel with them.

  41. Take a break in the good ol’ US of A Lucky. Maybe you’ll realise just how much your home country has to offer. It’s 50 individual countries combined into one. Pleeeeeease never forget that. And while I’m at it, more domestic airport reviews please. Not just the big ones.

  42. Yes Lucky, take a break for 14 days and self-isolate. Make it a staycation. Set a good example for some of the morons commenting here who are advocating open defiance of any government directive.
    In your age group you are unlikely to be badly affected if you do come down with the virus, but those you come into contact with, such as both your elderly parents, might no be so lucky. You can be a carrier without exhibiting any symptoms.
    Don’t forget that Florida is basically a giant retirement village, with the highest proportion of folks between 60 and 100 in North America.

  43. You may have spent your time with just two people. But then you got on an international flight with 200 people in close quarters for hours.
    Please follow directive.

  44. Thank you Glenn t, the first person that sprang to mind after reading Ben’s article was his mother, who many of us concerned about for the last year! Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I saying that you aren’t taking into consideration your parents Ben. I’m just saying, your parents were the first ones that came to mind!
    Humor Winston! Take a couple of weeks off!

  45. Agree with glenn t above. The world will survive with you following guidelines, erring on the side of caution and staying home for 2 short weeks. Play with your dog, read a book, chill out and do your part to not be part of the problem.

  46. Trump is a Florida man who traveled overseas recently. Just follow his example. Of course, stay away from right-wing conventions.

  47. Sad to know this thing started to affect you and sorry for China cause such a mess to the whole world.

  48. I would not leave the US if you are in the 14 day period. Your passport has likely been added to the no fly list for international arrivals by the CDC and you likely would not be able to return . I am not kidding here.

  49. It may be worth checking out the articles in Bloomberg (‘how bad could Coronavirus Get’) and the Atlantic (‘You’re probably going to get Coronavirus).

    Both articles interview epidemiologists who predict that 20-60% of the world’s population. For those still following, that means 500k Americans will likely die, including healthy young adults with no underlying conditions. You can crunch the numbers yourself. (Also means ~100m sick, with ~10m needing hospital care. This is roughly 5-6x more demand than hospitals can handle.

    Of course, many have chosen to view this as an illness that only affects the old and very sick. I wish them all the best.

  50. I wouldn’t travel out of the country on an airplane now unless you are planning on quarantine yourself when you get back before you see your mom. Assuming she’s still recovering from her chemo, you want to make sure you have zero symptoms before you go see her. I wanted to go see a good friend this week but I decided it’s best not to because he had two bouts of chemo and he lives with his 94 year old dad who doesn’t seem to be the most healthy guy around. The point being you and Ford are young and healthy, even if you are hit with Covid19, you both will be most likely fine. However, you live in Florida, the land of retirement homes. I have to assume Covid19 will hit those retirement homes sooner or later and in someways, we should all try to be a good citizen and reduce unnecessary outings when we can do that we don’t possibly contribute the fast demise of aging Americans.

  51. To everyone who thinks self quarantine and all these guidelines/regulations in USA are stupid , just read a bit about Italy. A democratic country , but the virus has spread very quickly , whole country is now on lock down . People cannot move around , bars , nightclubs shut . It is awful.

    Your State and Federal governments are trying to help you now before it spreads , the problem in USA is you are all used to doing what you want and not listening to government advice.
    If you do not listen , it will spread and you run the risk of cities being locked down like Italy .

  52. your wings are going to be clipped soon.

    between airline disruptions, US inbound health restrictions, and soon, there will be plenty of restrictions on self-righteous US based citizens going to other countries.

    your wings will be clipped and you might just have to get a real job in Florida

  53. Wish they’d be a bit clearer on the “levels”… in Europe apparently France, Germany and Spain are currently level 2 and Italy level 3, so I guess you should avoid Florida if you have been to any of those places?

  54. Ironically, China is becoming one of the safest places on earth, partially because of the stupid everybody stay home requirement…

  55. Guys, anyone minimizing this thing has got no clue at all. It happened in China, it is happening in Italy (which has got one of the best health care system in the world, and the average life expectancy is second highest in the world). Take an advice from the red zone: whatever you’re told to do to protect yourself and your country from this, do it before it gets too serious. The more you try to convince yourself that you can get through with minimal effort and no sacrifice, the more it becomes harder to stop afterwards. It eventually reaches the point where the total lockdown of all economic activities is required. Do you want to get to that point? If there’s a little outburst in your area, just minimize all social contacts of any kind. And if you’re lucky, the outburst can be contained. It’s not about how deadly it is, it’s about how it will overload the health system until there are no more beds. And medics will get ill one by one. Just don’t minimize it, you have no idea what this virus can do.

  56. This is how it spreads- people thinking the advice doesn’t apply to them. You’ve been on planes and in airports during a time when the chance of infection is high.

  57. Help. Can I travel to Florida in April/May or not. Was looking forward to some nice relaxing Beach time, but when reading this I’m not sure anymore. I mean I have no problem at all tot travel, only can I get into the country coming from Europe?

  58. I love this blog but this post reeks of entitlement. You are entitled to jet set around the globe to use your points while our state is on the verge of an outbreak which could cost lives? You tone is smirking and scoffing throughout this post. Government recommendations don’t apply to you, right? Cause you can’t get sick or transmit this virus to others? Maybe cancel your non-essential travel like the rest of us so this thing doesn’t spread more?!? Come on, man.

  59. I agree with the ill-logic (pardon the pun) of this advisory. As you point out, one is more likely to have been in contact with a virus carrier in Washington state than the majority of countries where there have been no cases reported.

    I felt it was prudent to self-quarantine for the past two weeks upon my return from five days in Seoul even though I had limited contact with anyone there and the precautions on the street and in public buildings was extensive with temperature monitoring, bottles of Purell(TM) and basic face masks being distributed for free. Everyone wore such masks, which don’t necessarily protect the wearer from particulates inbound, but do stop the liquid carrier spray from the wearer’s nose and mouth.

    As well, the outbreak in South Korea was among a particular group of church-goers in a city hundreds of miles from Seoul so massive spread to the capital in a short time was unlikely. (Rather ironic considering the hundreds of Catholic parishioners in Florida who may be contaminated by having the ritual wafer/wine given to them by an infected priest!)

    My flights home were in J or F (JL F to ORD with only 3 of us in the cabin, two Asian men wore face masks, as did the crew), and the AA home to YYZ in one of the single seats of an E170. When arriving @ICN (off EY in F Apartment) we were all given temperature scans and anyone with a Chinese passport (or coming off a flight from China) was directed out of the main channel. Same on my transit @NRT…though nothing @ORD (even with two Chinese carriers arriving after our flight) either channeling people or asking questions on Global Entry screen as to having been in an infected ares…as there was on my Nexus kiosk entering Canada, then followup with immigration officer.

    At home felt I wanted to be prudent though. Made one grocery shopping trip out at an hour with few people around, did not attend several community meetings I had planned to, told friends I’d meet up with them in two weeks, communicated with a lot of phone, FaceTime and Skype sessions, and binge-watched a lot of TV and movies, caught up on reading newspapers and magazines, a couple of books. Was able to work remotely and ventured out of my city-centre condo a few times to pick up mail and take short fresh air walks late at night when nobody was likely to be on the streets.

    In your case, Lucky, common sense would say go on your next trip. The advisory is typical American overkill which only makes people suspicious about legitimate directives.

  60. It is amazing to read how many people here, logical, worldly travellers, are in total denial that they could have been in any way infected. “…on an island with only two other people… in one of the single seats of an E170…outbreak was hundreds of miles away from Seoul…I have a gold diamond platinum card from Air Burma so surely I cannot be infected…(as if only the poor at the rear of economy class carry the virus)…”.
    Guys: recognizing denial is a good start to decreasing the affects of panic. Follow the advise of the health authorities. There will be plenty of opportunities to fly again First on Qatar to Bali once a vaccine is available.

  61. @Jerome

    “once a vaccine is available”
    This part stings me the most.
    There is currently no FDA approved or publicly available vaccine for SARS, yes the one from 15 years ago. It would be years before any viable vaccine, if any, would be available to the public.
    HIV has been running wild for over 60 years and we still can’t cure it.

    Based on our current technology, it might never be available anytime soon.

    And you still have to deal with those dumb anti-vax people, if we even have a breakthrough.

  62. The problem is not you getting the virus, but it’s you going to an airport with a large concentration of people who may or may not have been exposed to the virus. It is completely irresponsible and reckless to participate in the spreading of the virus to other people who could be affected by it just for the sake of unnecessary travel that you could just do in the summer.

  63. Peru has seven cases confirmed. Do you really want to roll the dice in a country with a subpar healthcare system? I’d seriously rethink it.

  64. An update from what you live in USA would be great.
    Thanks from France, where quarantine is growing tougher; so much we almost have no news from the rest of the world. Sic.
    As of today (march 22), there are 15000ish confirmed (“offical numbers”) infected and 560 deaths in France.
    Several cities have implemented a curfew at night since yesterday, in addition to confinement during the day.
    Crazy time we’re living in. And we might not have seen everything yet.
    Love you all. Take care.

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