TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gov. Ron DeSantis has unveiled his plan to reopen Florida, saying restrictions will be loosened starting on Monday, May 4.
The governor said the first phase of the plan will begin on Monday, May 4. As part of the first phase, restaurants and stores will be allowed to reopen with 25 percent capacity, if local government allows it.
During his ‘Safe. Smart. Step-by-step’ conference, DeSantis said that the plan will prioritize public safety, protecting the most vulnerable and protecting civil liberties, condemning fear as “our enemy.”
“The facts should be comforting than the fear,” DeSantis said.
Along with restaurants and stores reopening, the governor will also allow hospitals and surgical centers to restart nonessential, elective procedures if they have sufficient medical supplies and agree to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.
The first phase of reopening will not include Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties, which have all been heavily impacted by the coronavirus.
This is a breaking news story. We’re working on updating this story with more details.
WHAT IS PHASE 1?
Here are the basics of phase one of Gov. DeSantis’ plan:
- Schools must keep distance learning
- Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited
- Elective surgeries can resume
- Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with six feet of space between tables
- Indoor seating at restaurants must be at 25% capacity
- Retail can operate at 25% of indoor capacity.
- No change for bars, gyms and personal services, like hair dressers
- Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home
- Everyone should maximize physical distance from others while in public
- Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not “readily allow for physical distancing”
- Face masks are recommended for those in face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance.
The reopening plan applies for Florida counties except Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties, Gov. DeSantis said.
“We will get Florida back on its feet,” Gov. DeSantis said Wednesday.
Florida residents had been under a statewide safer-at-home order since April 2.
Gov. DeSantis said the state is working to build a foundation for Florida’s future.
He presented the key metrics to consider before the state moves on to phase 2:
- The state maintains the health benchmarks of the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan”
- Maintaining hospital bed capacity
- Monitoring COVID-19 test positivity rate
Gov. DeSantis’ plan says these three steps do not need to take months. It will be based in the state’s health metrics and will be guided by medical authorities, according to Gov. DeSantis’ plan.
Earlier in the week, Gov. DeSantis said his plan was to reopen the Sunshine State in “baby steps.”
“Folks should see a light at the end of the tunnel for the state of Florida. Now it’s not going to be something that a switch is going to be flipped,” Gov. DeSantis said at Tampa General Hospital earlier in the week. “This is going to be slow and steady wins the race. It’s going to be methodical, very data driven, and there’s gonna probably be some people that think it’s too slow.”
As of Wednesday, Florida has more than 33,000 coronavirus cases, more than 5,400 hospitalizations and more than 1,200 deaths, according to DOH.
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