LAKE MARY, Fla. - Florida’s economic task force is set to meet for the first time Friday to start working on a plan to reopen the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Ron DeSantis said he hopes a plan will be ready by next week but has not said when it will be put into place. Currently, Florida is under a statewide “Safer at Home” order which expires on April 30.
“From the president on down, people want to get over this hump, get people back to work. It’s not going to be 100 percent like it was prior but we got to get on that road,” DeSantis said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
The governor said the task force will be looking at when and how to reopen everything from restaurants to non-essential businesses and having large events. It will also be looking at what possible protective measures should be put in place.
Governor DeSantis said, “We’re looking at things like can we start having some of these quote elective surgeries resume… Obviously you’re not going to go into having mass gatherings and some of those other things.”
The task force will talk to doctors, business leaders and elected officials across the state to get the best ideas. The governor said different parts of the state could have different reopening plans, like southeast Florida which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus. Florida could also see a gradual reopening like President Trump outlines in his three-phase reopening guidelines.
The first phase of President Trump’s guidelines includes keeping schools and youth activities closed but opening churches, movie theaters, gyms and ballparks with strict social distancing guidelines in place.
If COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward phase two allows for non-essential travel to resume but employers should continue to encourage telework when possible, People should still avoid groups of 50 people or more during the second phase.
Phase three of the president’s reopening guidelines would allow for vulnerable people to go back out in public while maintaining social distancing. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals would be allowed to resume and employers will be able to have unrestricted staffing in the workplace.