Florida coronavirus: What is Phase 3?

Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s the question every Floridian wants to know.

On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state is moving into Phase 3 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery effective immediately.

DeSantis said his executive order “will guarantee restaurants to operate, will not allow closures, they can operate at a minimum of 50% regardless of local rule.”

If a local government implements restrictions between 50 percent and 100 percent, they must provide the justification and “they’ve got to identify what the costs are involved with doing that are.”

Below is a detailed list of what Phase 3 means, according to the state:

Individuals

  • Vulnerable Populations
    • Individuals older than 65 years of age and individuals with a serious underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immune-compromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure and liver disease) can resume public interactions, but should practice social distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical, unless precautionary measures are observed. Vulnerable populations should affirmatively inform their employer that they are a member of the vulnerable population so that their employer can plan accordingly.
  • Social Gatherings
    • Non-vulnerable populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
  • Travel
    • Non-essential travel may continue.

Employers

  • Telework
    • Employees should resume unrestricted stafng of worksites and implement the final phasing in of employees returning to work. For vulnerable populations, teleworking can be considered.
  • Employee Screening
    • Employers should take prudent and practical measures to ensure employees do not enter the premises if they believe they are infected with COVID-19 or show symptoms of influenza like illness.
  • Travel
    • Employees should resume non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
  • Local Government Meetings
    • These meetings should return to in-person quorum and public participation for local government bodies

Other

  • Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs
    • Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol should operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.
    • Menus, if laminated, should be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus should be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use.
  • Restaurants
    • Restaurants and food service establishments may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols.
    • Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.
    • Menus, if laminated, should continue to be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus shall be designed for single use and then disposed of immediately after use.
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers
    • Gyms and Fitness centers should open to full capacity but should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.
  • Recreation
    • State Parks: State parks should be fully opened, including overnight accommodations.
    • Public Beaches: Beaches should remain fully opened.
    • Large Venues (i.e. movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses, casinos): These venues should re-open fully with limited social distancing protocols.
  • Large Sporting Events and Theme Parks
    • Large spectator sporting events should consider reducing capacity with limited social distancing protocols.
    • Theme parks may return to normal operations with limited social distancing protocols.
  • Vacation Rentals
    • Vacation Rentals should resume normal operating procedures but should continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect the property between rentals.
  • Personal Services Businesses
    • Personal Services Businesses, such as cosmetology salons, barber shops and nail salons, should operate under full capacity but should consider the following mitigation measures:
      • Continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons.
      • Regularly clean and disinfect working stations and equipment between interactions with customers to the greatest frequency feasible.
      • Remove all unnecessary, frequent-touch items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, any other unnecessary paper products and décor from customer service areas.
  • Retail Businesses
    • Operators of retail businesses should operate at full capacity but should continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons.

The governor’s announcement followed a two-hour roundtable in Tallahassee on Thursday, in which he hinted at removing the 50 percent capacity cap. He said the state will not allow local municipalities the power to close restaurants and bars for COVID-19 related reasons.

Phase 2 went into effect statewide on June 5 for all counties except for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. This reopening phase allowed entertainment businesses including movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Stores and gyms were also allowed to operate at full capacity in Phase 2 but needed to have “responsible social distancing” and sanitation protocols in place.

Right now, some public health professionals are concerned.

Dr. Marissa J. Levine is a professor of public health at USF.

“We’ve flattened down at best, but we’ve flattened down at a level that’s about two times higher than our peak in April,” said Dr. Levine. “I think if the message that comes across is that we can just go back to the way that it was, we have the potential for significant trouble.”

Levine is stressing that Floridians continue to wash hands, wear a mask and stay socially distance. You’re also being encouraged to get a flu shot.

You can watch Desantis’ full announcement in the video player below:

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