ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis met with owners of barbershops, hair salons and nail salons in Orlando on Saturday to discuss how to move forward with reopening their businesses as the state continues to slowly lift restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Orange County owners said they are ready to reopen and assured DeSantis that if they were allowed to take customers again that increased safety precautions would be put in place. Some of the suggestions floated by owners included requiring customers to wear masks, making customers wait in their cars before appointments and increased sanitation practices in shops.
“We wanted to solicit feedback from people who do this, about what would you be thinking,” DeSantis said. “How do you do this in a way that makes the risk small...you have a right to ply your craft and so we want to get to yes, we want to be judicious and methodical and be safe about it.”
DeSantis said he would take the input from the owners and, along with the Re-Open Florida Task Force, come up with a plan to move forward.
“I haven’t had a haircut since February,” DeSantis said Saturday.
As the state begins to reopen on Monday, barbers, hairstylists, gyms, personal services and bars will remain shuttered.
DeSantis said small things like being able to get a haircut will give people confidence about venturing out as a step toward a healthy society.
“Most of the jobs are connected to smaller businesses so we absolutely have to keep them going," he said.
DeSantis was at Little Talbot Island State Park in Duval County on Friday morning to announce that all Florida’s state parks would also reopen Monday, the same day restaurants and retails stores can open with capacity limitations. The changes are part of phase one of the governor’s plan to get Florida’s economy up and running again after the novel coronavirus prompted tight restrictions over the last month.
DeSantis’ order will also allow hospitals and surgical centers to restart nonessential, elective procedures in the rest of the state -- but only if they have sufficient medical supplies and agree to help nursing homes and assisted living facilities prevent and respond to coronavirus outbreaks.
“I’ve said, I’d rather get it right than get it fast,” DeSantis said.
In Tallahassee on Saturday, a handful of protestors voiced their displeasure that Florida hasn’t done more to open the state back up in front of the Governor’s Mansion.
Fifty new deaths were reported Saturday, bringing the statewide death toll to 1,364. The total number of confirmed cases in the state has reached 35,463 -- an increase of 735 in the past 24 hours.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.