Orange County requests that barbers, salons be permitted to reopen on Monday

Orange County leaders have reviewed the first phase of reopening Florida's economy as outlined by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this week.

Now, county officials are recommending salons and barber shops reopen during Phase 1 of the state's plan.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on Friday said he convened the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force to address the plan, noting that the pandemic has had a devastating effect upon small businesses in the county. 

On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Phase 1 of his plan to reopen Florida from the coronavirus lockdowns. 

The phase will begin on Monday, except in the hardest-hit counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity.

Restaurants can offer outdoor seating with 6-feet of spacing between tables and indoor seating is limited to 25 percent capacity, while retail stores can operate at 25 percent of indoor capacity. 

Elective surgeries may begin on Monday, but schools will continue distance learning, and visits to senior living facilities are prohibited.

There will be no changes for bars, nightclubs, gyms and theaters. 

Personal services offered by barbers, hairstylists and salons are to remain closed under the first phase of the governor's plan. 

However, Orange County is asking for an exemption.

In a letter sent to Gov. DeSantis, Mayor Demings said the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force is also recommending reopening barber shops and cosmetology salons "with strict guidelines." 

Demings said the county curfew, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, will remain in effect through next week, then county officials will reassess the situation.

As of Friday afternoon, the Florida Department of Health had logged 1,413 cases of COVID-19 in Orange County since the beginning of the pandemic. Officials say 34 deaths have been recorded. 

Demings said roughly 77 percent of all positive COVID-19 in the county have since recovered from the virus.