Governor gives OK for gyms to reopen, expands capacity to 50 percent for restaurants
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Floridians can get back to gyms and fitness centers starting Monday as part of a "full phase one" reopening, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday.
In addition, the governor is allowing restaurants and retail stores to open at 50 percent capacity, after being limited to 25 percent occupancy since May 4. Retail stores also will be able to go to 50 percent occupancy.
"First of all, this is a virus that if you're in good shape, you're probably going to be OK," DeSantis said during a news conference at Ascension St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital Clinic in Jacksonville, "so why would we want to dissuade people from going to be in shape?"
Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to get back to business after being shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the deadly respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. DeSantis urged people to take precautions as they work out.
“If you're inside, make sure you're doing the social distance and then sanitize the machines and surfaces after use,” DeSantis added. “I mean, that should be happening anyways. I mean, if you're sweating on the dip bar, clean the dip bar when you're done doing dips.”
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Also as part of DeSantis’ announcement Friday, local governments can reopen libraries and museums with limited capacity, and they can work with amusement-park operators and short-term rental owners to submit reopening plans to the state.
The closure of theme parks in mid-March has been a major hit to Florida’s economy and tax revenues.
“They should identify the date certain that they believe that they could resume safe operations,” DeSantis said. “They have to provide how they're going to do it, how they're going to accommodate the guests, how they're going to protect the staff, and then they need to have an endorsement from the relevant official in their locality.”
On Friday, the governor also said that sports teams can begin training in the state.
"Any Florida team, basketball, hockey, baseball...you can train all you want," DeSantis said. "And then once the season starts, you're going to be able to use our venues."
Movie theaters and bars, meanwhile, will remain closed.
RELATED: When will Florida enter Phase 2 of reopening and what will it include?
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