Reopening Florida: Gov. DeSantis planning for Phase 2

Coronavirus

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAP NEWS) – As Florida gets ready to start gradually reopening Monday, the governor is already mapping a plan for what comes next. And small businesses are chomping at the bit.

Nail salons, barbershops, movie theaters and gyms will remain closed during the first phase, which begins Monday, May 4. What they all have in common is they require close contact.

“I haven’t had a haircut since February,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

But as the governor announced the state’s gradual reopening, he was optimistic more could be open soon.

“There’s not going to be a firm time. I thought about doing it that way, but we look at the data on an hourly basis. On a daily basis. My hope would be – each phase we’re thinking about weeks. We’re not thinking about months,” said DeSantis.

One of the most important pieces of information during the reopening process will be the percentage of new positive cases compared to the number of tests.

Other key data being monitored is the daily fatality rate and the number of available hospital beds. Both can be key indicators of which way the disease is heading.

Those numbers remaining steady or falling could speed up the governor’s decision.

“It’s not what you sell, but how you sell it. And we believe that there are many more businesses who can practice their commerce safely,” said Bill Herrle, who represents Florida’s small businesses in the State Capitol.

For unemployed IT worker Scott Read, the governor’s actions so far mean little.

“I don’t think I will get my job back, just because my industry was heavily related to travel and tourism,” said Read.

We’re told not all, but some state parks are also likely to open soon and the Department of Health tells us that following basic guidelines can hasten reopening.

“So making sure you are being six feet apart, washing your hands often,” said Deputy Secretary of Health Shamarial Roberson.

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