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FAQs: What will change Monday under phase 1 of DeSantis’ plan to reopen Florida?

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File photo (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We all got the headlines of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement that Florida would begin to reopen on Monday: Restaurants and non-essential retail stores can open at 25% capacity, state parks will reopen and hospitals can resume scheduling non-emergency procedures.

But a lot of things won’t change in phase one, including that barbers, hairstylists, gyms, personal services and bars will remain shuttered for now.

If you read the seven-page “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Stop Plan” Executive Order 20-112, there’s not much detail. Two other executive orders DeSantis signed late Wednesday extend Florida’s safe-at-home order and temporary lodging rentals suspension through Sunday night. The state will also continue to isolate people traveling to Florida, with exceptions for military, emergency, health, infrastructure or commercial activity.

Here’s a summary for what will happen/not be different on Monday:

  • Schools must keep distance learning.
  • Visits to senior living facilities remain prohibited.
  • Elective surgeries can resume.
  • Indoor seating at restaurants must be at 25% capacity. Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with six feet of space between tables.
  • Libraries and museums can also open at 25% capacity with local government approval.
  • No change for bars, nightclubs, gyms and personal services, like hairdressers.
  • Sporting events can resume and sports venues can reopen but with no spectators.
  • Vulnerable individuals should continue to avoid close contact with people outside the home.
  • Everyone should maximize physical distance from others while in public.
  • Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not “readily allow for physical distancing.”
  • Churches and houses of worship were never closed so there is no change in phase one, although any building or venue that is open should continue to follow appropriate social distancing and sanitation procedures.
  • Child care facilities that could follow proper social distancing protocols were never closed and there is no change in that rule.
  • Face masks are recommended but not required for those in face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance.
  • Violation of 25% capacity limits and other restrictions remain a second-degree misdemeanor with a fine up to $500. Regulated businesses may face enforcement action for violations from their regulatory agency.
  • State parks will reopen beginning on Monday

According to the plan, essential business guidance will continue, meaning if a business was essential before, what they were doing is basically still fine. The executive order does not contain a preemption on local rules, so cities or counties could limit activities that the state will allow.

The limited reopening order applies for all Florida counties except Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties, DeSantis said.

“We will get Florida back on its feet,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis did not say when the state would advance to phase two or allow more openings, as other states have done in phase one.

Among the questions left unanswered was when businesses that have implemented work-from-home orders are allowed to reopen their offices.

A slide from Gov. Ron DeSantis' Power Point presentation as he announced phase one of the state's reopening.

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