Yesterday Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled his plan to get Florida back on its feet and running again after almost two months under a stay-at-home ordered enforced statewide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated that the restrictions imposed during the lockdown will be released soon and that the first phase of a three-phase plan will begin Monday, May 4th. This first phase will exclude South Florida ( Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County) due to the high number of infection cases.
“These counties have seen the lion’s share of the state’s epidemic, but they are trending in a positive direction. I’m working with them and will continue to work with them, and I do believe they will be able to move to phase one very soon,” DeSantis said at the news conference.
The Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step plan will prioritize public safety, protect civil liberties, and protect the most vulnerable – people, with significant underlying medical conditions and the elderly community. He also said that he is happy with the positive trend of decrease in cases that Florida has shown and condemned fear as “our enemy. ”
“We need to focus on facts and not fear. The facts should be more comforting than the fear,’’ DeSantis said.
Phase I will include:
• Schools remain distance learning.
• Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited.
• Electives surgeries can resume.
• Restaurants may offer outdoor seating, with six-foot space between tables and indoor seating at 25% capacity.
• Retail can open at 25% of indoor capacity.
• Libraries and museums can open at 25% capacity.
NO change for bars, gyms, movie theaters, and personal services such as hairdressers, until further notice.
Facemasks are recommended for all those face-to-face interactions and where you can’t exercise proper physical distancing. You will no longer be fined for not wearing a mask.
*Everything mentioned above will all be up to the local government’s discretion.
In Miami, Mayor Francis Suarez announced that the first phase of Miami’s comeback plan #StandUpMiami will happen soon but that in order for Miami to get there, three things need to happen:
- A decrease in influenza-like symptoms and COVID like cases.
- A 14-day downward trajectory of actual new cases.
- Hospitals are able to treat all patients without crises care.
What he is considering for Phase I:
• Curfew and stay-at-home order will be lifted.
• Social distancing protocols will remain in place.
• Parks, beaches, and marinas will reopen with social distancing in place.
• Business will reopen at or below 25% of their authorized total occupancy load never exceeding 125 people.
• Restaurants remain on curbside pickup/deliveries.
Bars, gyms, theaters, casinos, live venues, race tracks remain closed.
Suarez said that if cases continue to drop for two more weeks then they would be able to move into phase II.
• Restaurants will operate dining areas, movie theaters and live venues may open.
• All businesses may operate at 50% occupancy never exceeding 250 people.
• Bars and gyms will be able to open respecting sanitizing protocols.
• Government buildings will resume normal staffing.
By Cynthia Paola Bautista