Florida’s task force is has convened once again to discuss more measures for re-opening the state’s commerce.
And while yesterday’s speakers announced new regulations and protocols regarding Florida’s transportation industry including airlines and cruise ships, today’s emphasis was placed on tackling new guidelines for small businesses and large public gatherings.
Re-Opening Florida’s Hair Salon and Grooming Services
Greg Picnic, the owner of a barbershop in Tallahassee, discussed new safety measures for hair salons and beauty parlors that will be reopening soon. He recommended all hairstylists have two sets of tools so that one can be disinfected while the other is in use.
He also proposed a one-in, one-out policy to control the number of people in the shop as well as providing contactless forms of payment to customers. He also recommended eliminating certain types of services for the time being such as facial shaves.
Halsey Beshears, the Secretary of the Department of Business & Professional Regulation, was the next to speak. He talked about salons using a checklist from Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation to help with guidelines upon reopening.
Much like the new standard of sanitary and safety precautions airports will be implementing, heavy emphasis was put on using disinfectants and enforcing social distancing. He asked for all salon employees to wear masks at all times, and recommend that customers do the same.
Reopening Florida’s Restaurants
Beshears said for restaurants and bars to reopen, even more considerations need to be taken into account. Tables will need to be thoroughly clean and disinfected between customers including all surfaces, silverware, and condiments.
Employees could be subject to temperature screenings at the restaurant’s discretion. All employers must train their employees on the importance of these new and heightened safety measures.
The Secretary wants all full-service restaurants to update their floor plans and not allow guests to congregate in lounge or bar areas. All restaurants should also have a sign saying that customers should not come in with a fever.
Reopening Florida’s Hotels and Motels
Beshears made another huge emphasis on keeping hotels and motels sanitary when they begin to gradually reopen. He asked for hotel managers to promote frequent handwashing of their employees and provide alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer. Employees who are sick should be told to stay home.
He also recommended staggering employee schedules and reducing the number of guests checking in and checking out with self-check-in. Hotels and motels in rural parts of Florida are most likely to reopen first, and according to Beshears, are possibly okay to open now.
Overall Re-Opening Strategy For Florida’s Customer-Oriented Small Businesses
Beshears believes 59 of 67 counties should be able to reopen all of the above (hotels, lodging, salons, restaurants, and bars). He noted all of these recommendations are a starting point for these types of businesses and could be subject to change. He asked for thoughts and input to work out a solid plan to hand over to the Governor next week.
Terry W Burroughs, the Commissioner & Chair, Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners, said they are looking at ways to reopen county government-owned places like libraries with disinfecting and social distancing protocols in place.
Glen Gilzean, President and CEO of Central Florida Urban League, talked about the three “E’s” — education, employment, and entrepreneurship, all of which have been impacted by the health crisis, but especially minority-owned businesses. Out of 2.5 million small business in Florida, nearly one million are owned by minorities. Statistics show that black-owned businesses earn 43 cents to the dollar of white-owned small businesses.
He asked for the state of Florida to consider microloans for minority-owned businesses and stressed that entrepreneurs right now are asking for a hand up, not a handout.
Reopening Florida’s Convention Centers and Sporting Events
Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Orange County, Broward County, and Miami Beach all have large convention centers. Cancellations through May have already lost Tampa Bay’s convention center $122 million, none of which is recoverable.
It will be critical for the industry that hosts large gatherings like convention centers to have specific guidelines and checklists to get back to business. Hillsborough County (in Tampa) was able to secure a large convention for next year, with hopes that there would be gradual reopening for the economy to bring visitors in.
Florida is also scheduled to host the next Super Bowl, so guidelines for an event of this size will need to be in place.
Len Brown from the PGA Tour spoke about wanting consistency across several industries that hold large gatherings including sporting events, theme parks, and convention centers.
Florida’s reopening task force will most likely be compiling more recommendations into a report that will be shared next week. We’ll continue to provide you with further details once they’re released.
What do you think of today’s meeting of the Florida Task Force? Let us know below.