Full Path to Florida Business Reopening Revealed
This blog entry updates my April 30, 2020 post outlining Phase 1 of Florida’s “Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step” reopening of the economy.
Phase 1 of “Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step” Plan provides the reopening of certain businesses throughout the State of Florida (other than Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties). Governor Ron DeSantis said progress will be judged in the coming weeks, but didn’t specify when South Florida might enter Phase 1. The Plan says Florida should enter Phase 2 if progress is shown with fewer new cases, a dwindling amount of positive cases as a percentage of the number of tests and there is ample capacity at hospitals to deal with a sudden surge of cases.
The Plan also suggests making sure there is enough personal protective equipment at hospitals and other health care facilities and that testing is drastically increased. Tracing the contacts of any new positive case also is important to prevent new spreads, the report says.
“If the state shows consistent success, these guidelines contemplate advancement to the next phase,” the report states. “If, however, COVID-19 data suggests increased spread, the state should remain in the current phase.”
There are no specific benchmarks in the report for the precise level of new cases or other measures needed to move to the next phase, but DeSantis said progress would be judged in “weeks, not months.”
In Phase 2, restaurants could operate at 75 percent capacity, and bars and nightclubs could open their doors at 50% capacity for the first time since DeSantis shut them down on April 3, while still following distancing guidelines and sanitary protocols with tables 6 feet apart and tables restricted to 10 or fewer. Gyms could operate at 75 percent capacity; state parks could be opened to daytime use and beaches could be fully opened.
In Phase 3, most businesses could operate at full capacity with social-distancing guidelines imposed for some, such as theme parks and sporting venues.
Non-essential travel would be fully allowed, state parks fully open, vacation rentals could resume regular operations but with thorough cleanings in between bookings.