Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that private businesses and public facilities have additional permission to operate closer to normal, as Phase 2 of the state’s plans to recover from the novel coronavirus pandemic began today at 12:01 a.m. For residents and visitors worried about contracting and spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus or developing COVID-19, the serious and sometimes deadly disease caused by it, the order contains encouragement to follow the protocols set by federal agencies and to stay away from crowds.
The order says:
“In concert with the efforts of President Donald J. Trump, and based on guidance provided by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Florida Surgeon General and State Health Officer, I hereby adopt the following in response to the recommendations in Phase 2 of the plan published by the Task Force to Re-Open Florida,” DeSantis’ order says. “All persons in Florida are encouraged to follow appropriate social distancing and safety protocols issued by the CDC and OSHA. The direction to follow such protocols, and those additional protocols listed below in this section, is guidance and not enforceable under section 252.4 7, Florida Statutes.
“A. Senior citizens and individuals with a significant underlying medical condition are strongly encouraged to avoid crowds and take measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
“B. All persons in Florida are encouraged to avoid congregating in groups larger than 50 persons.
“C. All persons who work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis.
“D. In-store retail businesses, including gyms and fitness centers, should maintain appropriate social distancing and sanitation protocols.
“Section 3. Additional Requirements for Certain Individuals Traveling to Florida
Executive Orders 20-80 and 20-82 are extended with exceptions for persons involved in commercial activity and students traveling for the purpose of academic work, internships, sports training and any other activity or program approved by the educational institution. This order supersedes Executive Order 20-86.
“Section 4. Business Activity
“This order supersedes Executive Orders 20-91 and 20-92 and Executive Order 20-112.
“Section 2. This order further supersedes any conflicting provisions of Executive Order 20-112 including Section 3C. (gyms) and Section 4 (retail and museums) and Executive Order 20-123 including Section lB. (retail), C.(museums) and D. (gyms). This order extends and modifies the remaining provisions of Executive Order 20-112 and Executive Order 20-123 as follows:
“A. Restaurants and other establishments, and bars and other vendors licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, may operate at fifty (50) percent of their indoor capacity, excluding employees, as under Executive Order 20-123;
“Section 1. Bar areas may be open with seated service. In addition, outdoor seating is permissible with appropriate social distancing. This section does not apply to nightclubs. Non-conflicting provisions in Executive Order 20-71, Sections 1 and 2 remain in effect.
“B. Entertainment businesses, including but not limited to movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, and arcades may operate at fifty (50) percent of their building capacity, with appropriate social distancing between groups and appropriate sanitation.
“C. Pari-mutuel facilities may seek to operate with a written request from the County Mayor or if no mayor the County Administrator to the Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the approval of the DBPR Secretary.
“D. Personal services, including but not limited to tattooing, body piercing, acupuncture, tanning and massage, may operate with appropriate safety guidelines as outlined by the Department of Health.
“Section 6. Previous Executive Order Extended
“Executive Order 20-69 is extended until June 30, 2020.
“Section 7. Enforcement
“This order, with the exception of Section 2, shall be enforced under section 252.47, Florida Statutes, and by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Violation of this order is a second-degree misdemeanor pursuant to section 252.50, Florida Statutes, and is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both.”
The order continues unique restrictions on the hot spot areas of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties: “In Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the re-opening provisions of Section 4 of this order will be considered after each county seeks approval with a written request from the County Mayor or if no mayor the County Administrator.”