TAMPA, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis rolled out a series of changes to his plan to reopen Florida, with the latest update including allowing gyms to reopen and granting some leeway to restaurants looking to seat more customers.
As Florida transitions from Phase 1 of Gov. DeSantis' "SAFE. SMART. STEP-BY-STEP" plan to Full Phase 1, restaurants are now allowed to fill up to 50 percent of its capacity starting Monday, May 18. In addition, museums and libraries can now reopen at 50 percent capacity starting next week. The original iteration of Phase 1 allowed restaurants and retail to reopen at 25 percent capacity but kept barber shops, hair and nail salons and gyms closed.
Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties are now included in Gov. DeSantis' plan after being excluded for about two weeks due to the fact that they were among the hardest hit areas in the state from the coronavirus pandemic.
What does this mean? The State of Florida released the following set of rules for the following establishments:
- May increase indoor capacity to 50 percent with proper social distancing
- Outdoor seating encouraged
- May increase capacity to 50 percent if permitted by local governments
BARBER SHOPS AND SALONS
- Barber shops, hair and nail salons can reopen but must follow safety protocols.
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GYMS AND FITNESS CENTERS
- May operate up to 50 percent capacity
- Machines and surfaces must be self-sanitized after each being used
MUSEUMS AND LIBRARIES
- May operate up to 50 percent capacity if allowed by the local governments
- Amusement and theme parks are now allowed to submit reopening plan to the state
- Professional sports teams are welcome in Florida
- Professional sports venues may open and operate for games, events and training
- Elective surgeries may continue if a facility has adequate PPE, hospital bed surge capacity and works with the local community to prevent and contain outbreaks in long-term care facilities
- Visitation in long-term care facilities not allowed for COVID-19
- Hospitals are required to test all individuals before discharge to long-term care facilities
- Long-term care facilities are required to transfer residents who tested positive for COVID-19 if the facility is not equipped for appropriate care
- Students must continue distance learning
- Counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals by submitting a written request and county vacation rental safety plan to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Gov. DeSantis had previously said the state is working to build a foundation for Florida's future.
He presented the key metrics to consider before the state moves on to Phase 2:
- The state maintains the health benchmarks of the "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan"
- Maintaining hospital bed capacity
- Monitoring COVID-19 test positivity rate