TAMPA, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis has outlined the initial part of his plan to reopen Florida from the coronavirus lockdowns. The first phase will start Monday, May 4, allowing limited reopening of stores and restaurants everywhere except the hardest-hit counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Here's what is allowed under phase one as Florida reopens:
Can offer outdoor seating with 6-foot spacing between tables and indoor seating is limited to 25-percent capacity. Parties of only 10 or fewer people can be seated. Bar counters must remain closed to seating. This "supersedes the conflicting provisions" of his previous executive order which prohibited on-premises consumption.
Can operate at 25-percent of indoor capacity but must abide of the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
Elective surgeries can resume
This was initially prohibited by a previous executive order, but elective surgeries can resume under the new directive. A hospital ambulatory surgical center, office surgery center, dental office, orthodonic office, endodontic office or other healthcare practitioners' office can permform procedures only if:
- the facility has the capacity to immediately convert additional facility-identified surgical and ICU beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients in a surge capacity situation
- the facility has adequate PPE to complete all medical procedures and respond to COVID-19 treatment needs without the facility seeking any additional federal or state assitance regarding PPE supplies
- the facility has not refused to provide support to and proactively engage with skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and other long-term care residential providers
Salons and hairdressers
Barbershops, cosmetology salons, and cosmetology specialty salons are allowed to reopen May 11 for appointment-only clients, provided they follow new guidelines as directed by the governor.
Bars, nightclubs, gyms, theaters
No changes to closures for these. Bars, pubs and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages must continue to suspend sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.
Vacation rentals must remain closed
The previous executive order that prohibited vacation rentals remains in effect
Museum and libraries
May open at no more than 25-percent of their building occupany, provided, however that local public museums and local public libraries may operate only if permitted by local government and any components of museums or libraries that have interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas, remain closed.
Schools remain distance-learning only
The governor previously announced that public school students must continue distance learning through the end of the school year
Pharmacists in Florida will now be allowed to administer COVID-19 tests
The governor previously instructed the surgeon general to allow licensed pharmacists in Florida to order and administer tests
Visits to senior living facilities are still prohibited
This ban from the previous executive order continues, although the governor said some exceptions could be made for visitors who've been tested first
Florida's state parks will reopen May 4. The governor says open parks -- with proper social distancing -- are low risk and high reward.
Local governments will be allowed to have more restrictive policies than the state
Individual counties will hold meetings in the coming days to set any additional local responses.
Social distancing and face-coverings
Phase one also includes guidance to avoid socializing in groups of more than 10, while face coverings are recommended in all face-to-face interactions. Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside of the home.
According to the executive order, "violation of this order is a second-degree misdemeanor" and is punishable by imprisonment that does not exceed 60 days, a fine that does not exceed $500 -- or both.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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