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Florida Has Begun Phase 2 Reopening. Here's What It Means To You

Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
Bars can now reopen with 50% capacity under Phase 2.

The second phase of Florida’s plan to reopen the economy following coronavirus stay-at-home orders has begun. It comes about 24 hours after the state recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in Florida.

The Phase 2 order, announced by Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday, excludes the three counties with the most cases -- Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward.

RELATED: Phase 2 Starts Friday, Clearing Way For Bars And Other Businesses To Open

Here are the restrictions that will be eased starting today:

Explanation of Phase 2 effect on entertainment businesses.
Credit Office of the Governor of Florida
Entertainment businesses are now permitted to open at 50% capacity while following social distancing and sanitization protocols.

  • Restaurants can increase their indoor seating to 50% capacity, with unlimited outdoor seating within social distancing parameters.
  • Bars are permitted to reopen under the same rules as restaurants, with the additional restriction of no barstools.
  • Movie theaters, concert venues, arcades, and other entertainment businesses can also open at 50% capacity.
  • Tattoo shops and tanning and massage parlors can now open, following safety guidelines from the Department of Health.

These restrictions will remain in place during Phase 2:  

Explanation of Phase 2 effect on personal services.
Credit Office of the Governor of Florida
Under Phase II of DeSantis' plan to reopen Florida, personal services such as tattoo shops and massage parlors can reopen under CDC sanitization guidelines.

  •  Nightclubs will remain closed.
  • Visiting nursing homes and long-term care facilities is still prohibited.
  • Schools will continue distance learning, despite the reopening of youth activities two weeks ago.

The order also encourages non-enforceable, “responsible individual activity,” including:

  • Senior citizens and the immunocompromised should avoid crowds and limit exposure.
  • Not gathering in groups of more than 50 people.
  • Regularly testing employees in long-term care facilities.
  • Gyms and other retail establishments should continue to social distance and sanitize per CDC protocols.

As with Phase I, any other establishments wishing to reopen must have their plans approved by the state before moving forward.
At a press conference at Universal Studios Orlando on Wednesday, DeSantis encouraged people to "go enjoy having a drink" while still maintaining social distancing protocols.

RELATED: Social Distancing at Hogwarts, My First Time Back at Universal Orlando Resort

"I think we have an opportunity to continue to move forward in a safe, smart, step-by-step approach," he said, "and I think it gets more people in Florida more opportunities.”

Alysia Cruz is the WUSF Stephen Noble news intern for the fall 2019 semester. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida in Communication and is now enrolled at USF St. Petersburg, pursuing her Master’s in Digital Journalism & Design concentrating on food writing.
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