Isolation or Quarantine Health Orders
Florida law already allows any State Health Officer to take action to order an individual to isolation or quarantine. Violating the order for isolation or quarantine, or any public health emergency requirement, can result in criminal charges for a second degree misdemeanor.
If a person is accused of a second degree misdemeanor then they can be arrested and taken to jail. See § 381.00315(6), Fla. Stat. A second degree misdemeanor for violating an isolation or quarantine order is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Even though most second degree misdemeanors result in being released at the scene with a “notice to appear,” cases for violating an isolation or quarantine order will be treated more harshly.
In fact, most judicial circuits in Florida have enacted administrative orders to hold someone with NO BOND after the arrest. The administrative orders also allow the court to consider less drastic pre-trial release conditions at the first appearance advisory hearing.
Attorney for Isolation or Quarantine Orders in Florida
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm give advice to individuals and businesses in the greater Tampa Bay area concerning issues related to administrative and criminal laws surrounding any public health emergency.
We can represent you at the first appearance hearing to present all of the reasons why the judge should modify the “no bond” provision and allow you to bond out of jail on a pre-trial basis.
Call 813-250-0500 today for more information.
Isolation or Quarantine Orders in Hillsborough County
Pursuant to Administrative Order S-2020-021 (Release of Certain Pretrial Detainees to Mitigate Threat of CO VID-19), which took effect on March 25, 2020, the bond amount will be set at “no bond.”
Administrative Order S-2020-021 provides:
Public Health Violations – Any person who violates any rule adopted under section 381.00315, Florida Statutes, any isolation or quarantine, or any requirement adopted by the Department of Health in accordance with a declared public health emergency, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree.
Due to the danger to the public health for such a violation, the bond amount shall be set at “no bond.” See Varholy v. Sweat, 15 So. 2d 267 (Fla. 1943) (“To grant release on bail to persons isolated and detained on a quarantine order because they have a contagious disease which makes them dangerous to others, or to the public in general, would render quarantine laws and regulations nugatory and of no avail.”).
This provision does not preclude the judge presiding at first appearance hearings from modifying the “no bond” status if appropriate.
Isolation or Quarantine Orders in Pinellas or Pasco County
According to a recent post on the Facebook for the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida:
An administrative order signed by Anthony Rondolino, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, on March 27, 2020, requires that anyone who is arrested on a misdemeanor violation of the coronavirus quarantine will be held without bond at the jails in Pinellas and Pasco counties.
Judge Rondolino’s order comes after the Florida Supreme Court instructed all judges in the state to take judicial steps related to any violation of orders governing quarantine or isolation, limits on travel, the closures of public and private buildings, and curfews, that have been put into effect after the governor declared a statewide public health emergency at the beginning of this month.
“To grant release on bail to persons isolated and detained on a quarantine order because they have a contagious disease which makes them dangerous to others, or to the public in general, would render quarantine laws and regulations nugatory and of no avail,” Judge Rondolino’s order states, quoting precedent.
The order applies to anyone who has violated Florida statute 381.00315, who is “reasonably believed to be infected” with the coronavirus or who is “reasonably believed to have been exposed” to it.
The arresting officer is to notify the jail that the person is or could be infected before bringing them to the jail. The booking staff will then take appropriate measures to ensure the defendant doesn’t transmit the virus to anyone else at the jail while incarcerated.
Judge Rondolino’s order, however, does not stop the judge before whom the defendant first appears following their arrest from modifying the no-bond status or addressing the situation in some other way.
Florida’s Pandemic Influenza Benchguide
Florida’s Pandemic Influenza Benchguide provides:
“quarantining or isolating someone represents substantial intrusion on privacy and liberty rights, especially since it may be restricting how that person spends the final days or hours of his of her life.
Thus, even in a public health emergency, the requirements of procedural due process are applicable to some extent….
A pandemic, especially one that is highly virulent, will force the hard question of how much process is required in the context of acting to save countless civilian lives….
Quarantine and isolation laws are given great deference in the courtroom.”
In Varholy v. Sweat, 15 So. 2d 267, 270 (Fla. 1943), the Florida Supreme Court upheld a quarantine statute. In that case, the Court applied the following test: “whether [the law has] some actual and reasonable relation to the maintenance and promotion of the public health and welfare, and whether such is in fact the end sought to be attained.”
The Florida’s Pandemic Influenza Benchguide notes several limitations the courts have imposed on quarantine and isolation laws including:
- prohibitions on discriminatory statutes that target ethnic minorities;
- violations of Title II of ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and § 504 of Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794; or
- violations oof due process.
For example, in Greene v. Edwards, 263 S.E.2d 661 (W. Va. 1980), the Supreme Court of West Virginia found that a statute permitting the confinement of tuberculosis patients required the following due process protections:
- adequate notice of the underlying basis of commitment;
- the right to counsel;
- the right to be present and cross-examine and present witnesses at the commitment hearing;
- the standard of proof of “clear, cogent and convincing evidence;” and
- the right to a verbatim transcript of the proceeding for appeal purposes.
Rules for Subjecting a Person to Isolation or Quarantine
For example, pursuant to 381.00315(1)(c)4.b., if the individual poses a danger to the public health, the State Health Officer may subject the individual to isolation or quarantine…or use any means necessary to vaccinate or treat the individual. Any order of the State Health Officer given to effectuate this paragraph shall be immediately enforceable by a law enforcement officer under s. 381.0012.
Under 381.00315(6), the “rules adopted under this section and actions taken by the department pursuant to a declared public health emergency, isolation, or quarantine shall supersede all rules enacted by other state departments, boards or commissions, and ordinances and regulations enacted by political subdivisions of the state.
Any person who violates any rule adopted under this section, any isolation or quarantine, or any requirement adopted by the department pursuant to a declared public health emergency, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”
Quarantine or Isolation Cases are Mission Critical Events
Violation of quarantine or isolation orders under §381.00315(l)(c)4., Fla. Stat., are classified as “mission critical events” and the only types of proceedings in which in-person hearings may be held prior to April 20, 2020. Other such “mission critical events” include:
- Violation of orders to limit travel (§252.36(5), Fla. Stat.);
- Violations of orders to close public or private buildings (§381.00315(4),
- Habeas corpus petitions (§§381.00315( 4) and 381.0012, Fla. Stat.); and
- Mandatory vaccinations (§381.00315(l)(c)4., Fla. Stat.).
Florida’s Airport Screening and Isolation Order
On March 23, 2020, the Governor issued EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-80 which takes effect on on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
The order applies to people flying in from “an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York)” 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 also directs the Florida Department of Health, pursuant to section 381.00315(5), Florida Statutes, to immediately apply existing rules adopted pursuant to that section.
The text of the order is listed below:
STATE OF FLORIDA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 20-80
(Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Airport Screening and Isolation)
WHEREAS, Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans through respiratory transmission and presents with symptoms similar to those of influenza; and
WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, I issued Executive Order number 20-51 directing the Florida Department of Health to issue a Public Health Emergency; and
WHEREAS, on March 1, 2020, the State Surgeon General and State Health Officer declared a Public Health Emergency exists in the State of Florida as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, many cases of COVID-19 in Florida have been as a result of individuals coming into the State of Florida from international travel and other states and exposing our residents; and
WHEREAS, Florida is seeing an increase in individuals fleeing to Florida from states where “shelter-in-place” orders are being implemented, including from the New York Tri-State Area; and
WHEREAS, as Governor, I am responsible for meeting the dangers presented to this state and its people by this emergency.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (l)(a) of the Florida Constitution, Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the following Executive Order to take immediate effect:
A. I hereby direct all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports 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.
This Order shall not apply to persons employed by the airlines and those performing military, emergency or health response. This Order shall take effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
All persons isolating or quarantining under this Section, shall be responsible for all costs associated with that person’s isolation or quarantine, including transportation, lodging, food, medical care and any other expenses to sustain the person during the period of isolation or quarantine.
B. I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health, pursuant to section 381.00315(5), Florida Statutes, to immediately apply existing rules adopted pursuant to that section.
The Florida Department of Health shall take any steps necessary to ensure the screening and appropriate isolation and quarantine of individuals covered by this Order.
C. I hereby direct the Florida Department of Health to coordinate with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, each aviation and airport authority in Florida, county and local governments, and law enforcement agencies to effectuate the isolation or quarantine outlined above.
D. Pursuant to section 381.0012(5), Florida Statutes, “it shall be the duty of every state and county attorney, sheriff, police officer, and other appropriate city and county officials 2 upon request to assist the [Department of Health]” in enforcing any isolation or quarantine or order of the Department of Health issued pursuant to this Order.
E. Any person who violates any isolation or quarantine directed by the Department of Health commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, which is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both. See§ 381.00315(6), Fla. Stat.
Section 2. This Executive Order shall expire upon the expiration of Executive Order 20- 52, including any extensions, or upon an Executive Order lifting the isolation or quarantine after advice from the State Health Officer and Surgeon General.