By: Ferran Arimon, Nicole Cuccaro & Amanda Wilson
On Wednesday, April 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled a step-by-step plan to reopen Florida’s economy. DeSantis announced his plan just as the state’s stay-at-home order is set to expire today, April 30.
The plan will go into effect starting Monday, May 4, and will apply across the state, with the exception of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties – where the majority of the state’s COVID-19 cases have been reported. However, DeSantis did state that he expects those counties excluded from the reopening plan to enter phase one of the plan “soon.”
Several local leaders around the state have indicated a willingness to tighten local restrictions if they feel DeSantis’ plan will put their residents in danger.
DeSantis stated that the three-phase plan will closely follow White House guidelines under Trump’s reopening America plan.
Under phase one, beginning Monday, retail stores and restaurants will be permitted to reopen and operate at 25% capacity. Eateries will also be permitted to seat people outside, provided they abide by the 6-foot social distancing guidelines. DeSantis reiterated that all “face-to-face” business should be conducted with masks.
In addition to the partial reopening of restaurants and eateries, under the governor’s plan, all parts of Florida may resume elective surgeries.
DeSantis provided no timeline for the reopening of bars, theaters, sports arenas, barbershops and gyms – stating that he will look to see what happens in other states before providing a timeline for the reopening of such businesses.
Further, schools will remain closed for the time being, and there will still be a ban on nursing home visits.
Per Trump’s reopening America plan, phase two would see the reopening of schools and further loosening of restrictions, and phase three – “the new normal” – would include the reopening of most establishments with limited protocol.
As justification for beginning to reopen the state’s economy, DeSantis emphasized that 36.5% of ICU beds in the state are empty – indicating that Florida has successfully “flattened the curve.”
For more details about Phase One of the plan, click here.
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