Phase 2 begins in Florida: What is opened, what is closed, and what is next

Most of Florida will enter phase two of reopening on Friday, bringing higher capacity limits and allowing more businesses to reopen.

It’s part of the 'Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery' by Governor Ron DeSantis. 

“I'm pleased to announce that the Original Phase 1 Florida counties (all except Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach) may enter Phase 2 effective Friday, June 5, 2020,” DeSantis tweeted early Wednesday afternoon.

According to the governor, 64 out of 67 Florida counties will be entering the new phase.

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The changes that will come with phase two are:

  • Restaurants can now allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing.
  • Bars and pubs can now operate with 50 percent capacity indoors and full capacity outside as long as appropriate social distancing is followed. Only seated patrons can receive service. 
  • Retail stores can now operate at full capacity with responsible social distancing and sanitization protocols.
  • Gyms can now operate at full capacity as well with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization. 
  • Entertainment businesses, like movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades, can operate at 50 percent with appropriate social distancing and sanitization protocols. 
  • Personal services businesses, including but not limited to tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons, and massage establishments, may operate with guidance from the Florida Department of Health.
  • Pari-mutuel betting facilities can submit a request to reopen to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The request must include an endorsement from their county mayor or county administrator if there is no mayor.

Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach -- which are the counties that got hit the heaviest by coronavirus in Florida -- will remain in phase one for the time being. When ready, they can seek approval from their county mayor or county administrator to enter phase two.

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The state is offering guidance to keep vulnerable individuals safe from coronavirus.

They said individuals over age 65 and or with underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and take measures to limit the risk of exposure. In addition, all individuals that work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis. All persons are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups larger than 50 as well. 

Florida fully entered Phase 1 of it’s reopening on May 18, which allowed some of the businesses previously mentioned to begin reopening with additional restrictions and capacity limitations.

In addition to the start of phase 2, Universal Orlando is reopening to the public on Friday. Annual passholders with reservations and guests staying at resort hotels were able to visit the parks before the official reopening.

DeSantis has not said how long he expects phase 2 to last.