Florida’s safer-at-home order does not prevent snowbirds from leaving, but can they get home?

Florida's safer-at-home order does not prevent snowbirds from leaving, but can they get home?

Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. USA TODAY The turning of calendar pages to April is usually the sign for snowbirds to leave Florida in droves for the north. Unfortunately, the arrival of COVID-19 was missing from everyone’s version, leaving many still here not only wondering what Gov. Ron DeSantis’ safer-at-home means for them but whether they can drive back with other states adopting similar measures. Before we get to that, let’s just get one important point out of the way. While the governor’s order does not prevent them from leaving, health officials are still advising Americans to avoid all nonessential travel. Translation: Don’t do it. How did coronavirus infect Florida?: Travelers visited 46 states, 75 foreign destinations before diagnosis To be clear, there are no restrictions on drivers passing through states. Some cities though have placed greater restrictions on nonessential travel so it’s important to check before planning a stop. In an attempt to answer the question, we looked at a few different routes from Florida to examine what a snowbird might face. For a trip to be viable, it depends on these essential elements: food, gas, rest stops, lodging and time to drive. Forty-two states have enacted statewide safer-at-home orders as of April 7. Connie McCormack, whose home is in Rhode Island, is one of those snowbirds facing this dilemma. While she’s resigned to staying in Florida until at least the end of April, she said she has important upcoming medical appointments and would feel safer there and closer to doctors who know her. And when she arrives home, she knows she’ll have to self-quarantine for 14 days. “Hopefully we are able to find motels along the way,” she said. “We are pretty elderly and […]

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