A Florida couple has been charged after being caught getting groceries, washing their car, and walking their dog despite testing positive for the coronavirus

insider@insider.com (Sophia Ankel)
·3 min read


  • A Florida couple who was caught breaking quarantine rules despite testing positive for the coronavirus was jailed on Wednesday, according to state officials.

  • Officials allege that Jose Antonio Freire Interian and Yohana Anahi Gonzalez repeatedly ignored orders to self-isolate after neighbors filmed them walking the dog, going for groceries, and washing their car.

  • The couple was released from jail early on Thursday after posting a $1,000 bond.

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    florida couple
    florida couple

    Jose Antonio Freire Interian (L) and Yohana Anahi Gonzalez (R) of the Florida Keys.

    Monroe County Sheriff's Office via AP

A Florida couple who tested positive for the coronavirus was jailed on Wednesday when neighbors caught the pair breaking quarantine rules, according to officials.

Jose Antonio Freire Interian, 24, and Yohana Anahi Gonzalez, 26, of the Florida Keys have been charged with breaking quarantine during a public health emergency and violating emergency management, according to jail records cited in the Washington Post.

The couple had been given strict orders to self-isolate for at least two weeks after they tested positive for the virus on July 15, the Associated Press reported. They were also advised to wear face masks in their home — a three-bedroom house they share with at least three other tenants.

By the following weekend, neighbors reported seeing the couple leave their house to go to the supermarket, prompting the Florida Department of Health to issue a warning and order them to stay home until at least July 31.

A few days later, neighbors filmed Freire walking his dog and also reported seeing the couple going for groceries again and washing their car — all without face masks on, according to Key West police.

The couple was released from jail early on Thursday after posting a $1,000 bond.

Speaking to AP after his release, Freire said: "I didn't do anything. I was just walking my dog. It's not as if I left the house to go shopping."

But officials seemed to disagree. Key West City Manager Greg Veliz said on Thursday: "It's a national debate up until the health department tells you to quarantine, and then there's no more debate," according to the Washington Post.

"If the law allows someone to be arrested for violating a quarantine order and they continue to thumb their nose at the law — yeah, they should be arrested."

While this is the first case of its kind reported in Florida, there have been similar instances across the country.

In May, a woman from Kentucky who was infected with the virus was arrested while shopping for groceries, AP reported. She was accused of "criminal mischief" and "wanton endangerment."

Last month, 21 tourists who were traveling to Hawaii were also arrested after they were caught breaking the state's mandatory 14-day quarantine. None of them tested positive for the virus.

Florida public health officials have urged people to wear face masks and practice social distancing after the state became one of the country's biggest hotspots for the outbreak. Florida reported its highest single-day jump in coronavirus deaths just this week.

The US currently has more than 4.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and has seen more than 153,000 deaths related to the virus, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.

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