And while some beaches and parks have already begun to re-open throughout parts of Florida, Governor DeSantis has just laid out his plan to gradually re-open more businesses and public areas in the following weeks to come.
Governor Ron DeSantis has been meeting regularly with the Re-Open Florida Task Force, a team comprised of business leaders across several areas of commerce. Over the last week, they’ve discussed many possible safety regulations and guidelines for restarting the state’s economy. Several members of the committee represent Florida’s tourism industry including President of Walt Disney World Resort Josh D’Amaro.
Click here to read some of the new guidelines regarding Florida’s theme parks being discussed by the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force here!
But while many of these new proposals are being talked about openly and often, there hasn’t been an official date attached to Florida’s expected re-opening. Today, Governor Ron DeSantis finally announced starting May 4th, Florida would slowly begin to reopen businesses including retail stores and restaurants in what he is referring to as “Phase One.” This will exclude Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Governor DeSantis hopes these three counties can join the rest of the state soon, but so far Southern Florida has been the most impacted.
During Phase One, Florida restaurants and shops will be able to re-open with a indoor occupancy of 25%. Restaurants will also be allowed to offer outdoor seating with six feet of spacing between tables.
Elective surgeries will also resume in Phase One as long as hospitals have adequate PPE and can prevent a surge in cases from occurring. Schools will continue practicing distance learning while no visitors in long-term care or senior living facilities will be permitted until rapid testing is more readily available. Governor DeSantis will reconsider this issue when it’s safer to do so.
Larger venues such as movie theaters will not open in Phase One. “Prudence dictates we go a little slower on that,” Governor DeSantis said. He’s also waiting on gyms and bars until he sees how it’s working out with other states. Personal services that require face-to-face interactions such as hair salons and barbershops are not expected to open at this time either.
Governor DeSantis also gave a list of his priorities moving forward which included protecting Florida’s more vulnerable communities, increasing testing, continuing to promote social distancing, keeping hospitals from reaching capacity, and preventing the introduction of the virus from outside the state.
At this time Governor DeSantis recommends residents with pre-existing health conditions or those who are over the age of 65 to continue taking extra precautions by practicing social distancing and not going out unless absolutely necessary.
We’ll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.