Governor DeSantis announced his approach to reopen Florida during a press conference from Florida’s capital.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the first two phases of a reopening of Florida’s economy will begin Monday, May 4. The plan called, Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery focuses on a regionally phased, methodical approach.

Areas with increasing COVID-19 cases such as South Florida (Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach) will remain closed.

Counties that have not been hit as hard by COVID-19 would open their businesses first and adhere to these regulations in place.

The First Phase

  • Restaurants will need to adhere to social-distancing guidelines of six feet outdoor seating and operate at 20% to 25% capacity indoors.
  • Retail shops can operate at 25% capacity indoors.
  • Working from home is encouraged.
  • Elective surgeries can resume.
  • Gyms and personal services such as barbershops are still being evaluated and will remain closed for now.
  • Bars and nightclubs also are remaining closed, though DeSantis is allowing sporting events in the first phase if they don’t have spectators.
  • Schools will remain with distance learning.
  • Visits to senior-living facilities are still prohibited.

Gov. DeSantis talked about the importance of continuing social distancing and wearing face masks. He said he does not expect it to take months to fully reopen the state; he is thinking it will take weeks instead.

In order to move through each phase, testing will be key, and DeSantis plans to monitor the state’s COVID-19 test rates.