ORLANDO, Fla. - With so many changes being made to phase one since it went into effect on May 4, many are left wondering what is left for phase two.
Full Phase 1 of reopening in Florida began on Monday, May 18, allowing even more places to reopen and higher capacity limits at establishments that are open.
The expansion of the first phase, which all 67 Florida counties are now participating in, specifically includes the reopening of gyms, museums, and libraries, as well as higher-capacity limits for businesses who were restricted to just 25-percent indoor capacity previously. In addition, theme parks can submit re-opening plans to the state and counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals.
The full phase one of reopening in Florida includes:
- Restaurants can offer outdoor seating with 6-foot spacing between tables and indoor seating is limited to 50-percent capacity.
- Retail stores can operate at 50-percent of indoor capacity.
- Barbershops and salons with 50-percent of indoor capacity.
- Gyms and fitness centers can operate at 50-percent of capacity.
- Museums and libraries can operate up to 50-percent capacity.
- Theme parks may submit re-opening plans to the state.
- Counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals.
- Elective surgeries may continue.
- No changes to closures for bars, nightclubs, and theaters.
- Schools remain distance-learning only.
- Visits to senior living facilities are still prohibited.
- Pharmacists in Florida will now be allowed to administer COVID-19 tests.
- Local governments will be allowed to have more restrictive policies than the state.
As the state goes through the phases, it must follow several key metrics, including:
- The state maintains the health benchmarks of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan.
- Maintaining hospital bed capacity.
- Monitoring COVID-19 test positive rate.
The plan will allow Florida to enter phase two of reopening when there is no evidence of a rebound and resurgence of COVID-19 cases, while still maintaining the health benchmarks outlined in the plan, hospital bed capacity, and COVID-19 test positive rate.
Governor DeSantis previously said that he hopes the phases will last weeks, not months. However, acknowledges that it will be data-driven and that the next phase will not be entered until ready.
With that said, a date for phase two of reopening has not been set yet.
When phase two goes into effect, several changes will come along with it, including the partial reopening of bars, pubs, nightclubs, sporting venues, and possibly even theme parks.
Here's what will be allowed as Florida enters phase two:
- Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol should operate at 50 percent of building capacity with an emphasis on diminished standing room capacity and prioritizing outdoor service. They should keep tables six-feet apart and restrict groups to ten or fewer people.
- Restaurants can increase indoor capacity to 75 percent, with appropriate social distancing still in place and tables six-feet apart. Parties should not exceed ten.
- Retail stores can increase capacity to 75 percent. Signage should continue to promote social distancing and cleaning protocols.
- Gyms and fitness centers can increase capacity to 75 capacity with social distancing and sanitation protocols still in place.
- Barbershops and salons can increase capacity to 75 percent with regular cleanings and social distancing in place. Employees and customers are advised to wear masks and other PPE.
- Large venues, like movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses, and casinos, can reopen at no more than 75 percent capacity and with strict social distancing protocols. Parties cannot exceed ten.
- Large spectator sporting events should limit venue occupancy to 50 percent and use strict social distancing.
- Theme parks may consider reopening with capacity limits, strict social distancing, and proper cleaning measures.
- Public beaches will be fully open.
- State Parks will be open during the day but overnight accommodations will remain closed. Large activities and events are not permitted.
- Individuals can resume non-essential travel.
- All employers should continue to encourage teleworking while plans to implement employees back to work begin. However, all employers are advised to screen employees before they return to work for COVID-19 symptoms. If practical, take the temperature of each employee.
- Vacation rentals can open and operate for in-state reservations only. Those traveling from other states or internationally cannot place rentals.
- Local government meets can resume with no more than 50 people in attendance.
The original 'Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery' can be found below, including further details on each phase of reopening.
During the reopening of Florida, Governor DeSantis still advises social distancing measures and continued testing. However, in phase two, gatherings of 50 people maximum are considered safe as long as social distancing is followed, as opposed to a maximum of ten people in phase one.
Florida has had 45,588 positive coronavirus cases, resulting in 1,972 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health.
If you display coronavirus symptoms, you should contact a local health organization and make them aware of your condition prior to arrival while also following specific instructions or guidelines they may have. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and let them know if you have been infected or believe that you may be.
If you are infected, a medical professional or another authority will likely advise that you remain isolated while sick. This includes staying at home and not going into public places or large events.
Please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida. For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-(866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day. Inquiries may also be emailed to COVIDemail@example.com.
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