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Plan To Reopen Pinellas Includes Movie Theaters, Vacation Rentals

May 18, 2020

Movie theaters in Pinellas County will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity after being shuttered due to the coronavirus.

That conflicts with what Gov. Ron Desantis said during a press conference on Friday. But his administration’s “full Phase One” reopening plan allows venues like theaters, bowling alleys, concert halls and casinos to open at a limited capacity.

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Pinellas officials used the plan, developed by a task force appointed by the governor, as guidance when determining how to reopen the county.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri tried to clear up the confusion during a Facebook Live press conference on Monday.

“When you look at full phase one under the task force report, it specifically says that movie theaters are able to operate,” Gualtieri said. “All we can go by is what the words say on paper and that is all Florida counties in full phase one and it specifically says movie theaters are part of full phase one.”

People will still need to maintain social distancing guidelines -- staying six feet apart and in groups of no more than ten.

The plan also allows professional sporting venues to operate at 25  percent capacity.

Pinellas officials used a plan, developed by a task force appointed by the governor, as guidance when determining how to reopen the county.Credit PINELLAS COUNTYEdit | Remove

Restaurants will be allowed to increase capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent.

However, bars, pubs and nightclubs that get more than 50 percent of their gross revenue from alcohol sales are not allowed to open.

Pinellas County is working with the state to being begin reopening short-term vacation rentals.

The county submitted a plan on Monday that needs approval from the state. Pinellas administrator Barry Burton said he expects that to come on Tuesday.

“I'm trying to get that out timely because I know vacation rental people want to start booking reservations by the weekend because I know this has been a very difficult time for them so we're trying to move on this quickly,” Burton said.

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The plan provides guidelines regarding cleaning, physical distancing, hygiene and other regulations from the state.

“These are the things that I’m sure you or anyone else running a rental business or hotel would do regardless,” Burton said.

Businesses including nail salons, barbershops, hair salons, cosmetology specialty salons, tattoo services, massage services, and other one-on-one services also have special regulations. They must operate by appointment only and all employees must wear masks.

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