Restaurants, retail stores across Florida to start reopening on Monday as phase one begins

On Monday, Florida will begin phase one of the 'Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery.' 

Described as a "small, deliberate, methodical," step by Governor DeSantis, restaurants and retail stores can reopen with limited capacity.

MORE NEWS: What is allowed to open under phase one of Governor DeSantis' plan to reopen Florida?

Phase one of reopening Florida will include:

  • Schools will remain in distance learning.
  • Visits to senior living facilities will still be prohibited by Governor DeSantis said that he may eventually revisit this.
  • Elective surgeries can resume.
  • Restaurants can offer outdoor seating with six-foot space between tables and indoor seating will be allowed at 25 percent capacity.
  • Retail stores can also operate at 25 percent of indoor capacity.
  • No change for bars, gyms, and personal services like hairdressers. Governor DeSantis did acknowledge that he will revisit guidelines for gyms after observing how it goes for other states.
  • Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside of the home.
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others.
  • Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing. 
  • Face masks are recommended for all those in face-to-face interactions and where you cannot social distance.

MORE NEWS: This is what Florida restaurants must do to reopen on Monday

The Orange County Economic Task Force has also discussed mandates and guidelines for restaurants to follow upon reopening. 

For example, restaurants are could be given the following guidelines:

  • Use paper or disposable menus.
  • Encourage takeout and online orders.
  • Have touchless sanitizer at the restaurant's entrance.  

The following then could be mandated for restaurants: 

  • Hand sanitizer at restaurant entrances must be in plain visible sight. There also must be hand sanitizer at every table.
  • Seated tables must be six-feet apart.
  • All employees must wear facemasks and have their temperature checked prior to their shift. Those with flu-like symptoms are advised to stay home. In addition, all staff behind counters must wear gloves except for bartenders, who must sanitize hands after making each drink order.
  • Doors must be wiped regularly.

The reopening of restaurants will have at least two phases. In phase one, it would be mandated that capacity is limited to 50 percent. Staff who are 65 years of age or older would be encouraged to stay home as well. Then, in phase two, capacity could increase to 75 percent. Those 65 or older are still encouraged to stay home during this phase.

MORE NEWS: Governor DeSantis working toward reopening state salons after visiting Orlando

With the state guidelines for phase one of reopening, indoor restaurant and retail store capacity is limited at 25 percent. However, there is no maximum capacity for outdoor seating. Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears said that "if that outside seating area can seat 100 people, then you can seat 100 people as long as you can practice those social distancing guidelines."

In Winter Park, local business owners told FOX 35 Orlando that they are ready to open up safely. On this coming Friday through Sunday, for Mother's Day weekend, Park Avenue will be shut down for restaurants to set up tables outside and accommodate as many people as possible. Social distancing rules will be followed.

MORE NEWS: Governor DeSantis to speak in Daytona Beach on Sunday as Florida prepares for phase one of reopening

Florida has had more than 35,000 positive cases of COVID-19, resulting in at least 1,364 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. But there has been a downward trend in new cases since early April.


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