When will Florida enter phase 3 and what will it include?
ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida is currently in phase 2 of reopening which allowed more businesses to reopen that have been shut down since the coronavirus pandemic struck.
As the state sees a spike in coronavirus cases since phase 2 began a week ago, it’s unlikely that Governor Ron DeSantis is ready to propel Florida into phase 3 too quickly.
In the governor’s 'Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery,' the three phases are outlined for Florida's reopening. He said that the plan is safe, smart, and data-driven, taking input and advice into account from those in prominent positions, health care system executives, small business owners, elected officials, unemployed Floridians, and law enforcement.
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Governor DeSantis previously said that he hopes the phases will last weeks, not months. However, he acknowledges that it will be data-driven and that the next phase will not be entered until ready.
According to his plan, Florida will be ready to enter phase 3 “when there is no evidence of a rebound or resurgence of COVID-19 cases and satisfies the benchmarks outlined” in his plan.
When phase 3 goes into effect, several changes will come along with it:
- Individuals older than 65 years of age and individuals with a serious underlying medical condition can resume public interactions, but should practice social distancing.
- Non-vulnerable populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
- Non-essential travel may continue.
- Employees should resume unrestricted staffing of worksites and implement the final phasing in of employees returning to work.
- Employees should resume non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
- Local government meetings should return to in-person quorum and public participation for local government bodies.
- Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol should operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices.
- Restaurants and food service establishments may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices.
- Gyms and fitness centers should open to full capacity but should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.
- State parks should be fully opened, including overnight accommodations.
- Beaches should remain fully open.
- Large venues such as movie theaters, concert halls, and bowling alleys should re-open fully with limited social distancing protocols.
- Large spectator sporting events should consider reducing capacity with limited social distancing protocols.
- Theme parks may return to normal operations with limited social distancing protocols.
- Salons, barbershops and nail salons, should operate under full capacity but should consider removing all unnecessary, frequent-touch items such as magazines and newspapers, and maintain sanitation standards.
- Retail businesses should operate at full capacity.
As far as education, the governor announced on Thursday that he is planning for schools to resume on-campus instruction in August when the new school year begins.
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“Getting back on our feet in the school year is going to be really important for the well-being of our kids, but I think it’s going to be important for our parents, who have had to juggle a lot over the last few months,” DeSantis said.
The governor laid out plans to provide supplemental education for closing achievement gaps for early learning through K-12 students who need additional support due to the school closures because of COVID-19. Those initiatives are outlined as a requirement for the state to enter phase 3 of reopening.
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.