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Florida leaders oppose talks of US travel restrictions by Biden administration

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

The Biden administration is worried a new variant of the coronavirus will spread, and there are talks of travel restrictions floating around.

Florida leaders are worried, if travel is restricted due to these concerns, it could stop the progress of administering vaccines.

Florida airports such as Southwest Florida International Airport are busy in part because Gov. Ron DeSantis has maintained his, “We’re open,” policy.

“I think DeSantis is doing a pretty decent job,” Rich Polombo said. “So I support his efforts and trying to keep the state open and doing what he can to help facilitate people that, like coming to Florida enjoying the weather.”

But as the UK variant spreads across Florida — 343 recorded cases — the Biden administration wants to stop it at its source.

It’s not known at this time what domestic travel restrictions in the U.S., including Florida, would look like if talks became more substantial. But one idea is requiring testing before any domestic travel.

Federal officials say any travel restrictions would be made in partnership with local and state governments.

“We’ve had to stand by Floridians throughout time and again, and we will do so going forward,” said DeSantis during his visit to Charlotte County. “We will not back down, and if anyone tries to harm Floridians or target us, we will … respond very swiftly.”

“I hope they don’t do anything like that,” Don Shaver said. “I think that would be unfair to Florida.”

The governor was clear during his visit to Southwest Florida Thursday, there will be no approval from Florida of any potential for a proposed travel restriction from the federal government in the near future.

“We will oppose it 100%,” DeSantis said. “It would not be based in science. It would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida.”

We looked at the potential for travel restrictions to impact spring break plans for those traveling to Southwest Florida.

“I think it would be unconstitutional,” DeSantis said. “It would be unwise, and it would be unjust.”

While there are less than 1,000 COVID-19 variant cases in the United States, a third of them are in Florida.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio reacted to talks of travel restrictions much the same way the governor did during an appearance on Fox News.

“To now read that they’re considering actual restrictions on Americans inside the country, I think, is unconstitutional,” Rubio told Fox News. “I think it is going to be challenged in court successfully. But I think it also gives you some insight into who we’re dealing with here, hypocrites.”

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman told us he’s not worried about spring break 2021 being a super spreader.

“I think there’s a lot of people out there who have got a much better understanding of what COVID is, and how not to catch it,” Hamman said.