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.
Here are the restrictions that will be eased starting today:
- 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:
- 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.
"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.”