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Miami-Dade, Broward counties to move into next phase of reopening

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference in Miami.
Gov. Ron DeSantis during a press conference in Miami. (Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced that two large South Florida counties will move into the next phase of reopening.

DeSantis said Miami-Dade County and Broward County will move into Phase 2 of reopening starting Monday.

The two counties were among the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic, recording a total of more than 4,000 resident deaths since the start of the outbreak.

“And of course the most significant aspect of that is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume, of course, at the parent’s discretion,” DeSantis said. “And we want to continue to offer parents the ability to do remote learning if that’s what they want to do. This is really, really important. I mean, we’ve had very difficult six months but it’s been very difficult for kids.”

Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto Carvalho said the move will clear the way brick-and-mortar schools to welcome back students into classrooms, possibly later this month.

“With a transition of our county to Phase 2 effective Monday, that lifts a huge roadblock that has prevented us from taking additional steps,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho said about 50% of those asked indicated they want to send students back into schools.

As of Friday, DeSantis said a reported positive rate for diagnostic tests was 4.87%, a number that was in the 20% range in July. COVID-19-positive hospitalizations have also decreased by nearly 75% since the July peak and new admissions to the hospital for COVID are down 82% in Miami-Dade, according to DeSantis.

Over 236,000 total people in Miami-Dade and Broward conties have reported positive coronavirus tests over the last six months, according to state data.

Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Gimenez said that bars and nightclubs will remain closed even as the state said Thursday that all bars in Florida will be allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy for onsite consumption starting Monday.

“On Monday, my administration will be looking at what businesses we can reopen that were forced to close in June because of the spike after Memorial Day,” Gimenez said. “Those include entertainment venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, playhouses and arcades operating in 50% capacity, under strict rules to keep people safe.”

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