Bars across the state of Florida can reopen starting on Friday, but not yet in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday.
Speaking at Universal Studios CityWalk in Orlando, the governor said Florida is ready to enter "Phase Two" of its reopening plan.
Under the new reopening guidelines, which take effect on Friday:
- Restaurants may allow bar-top seating with appropriate social distancing
- Bars and pubs may operate at 50% capacity inside and full capacity outside with appropriate social distancing
- Retail stores may operate at full capacity
- Gyms and fitness centers may operate at full capacity
- Entertainment venues like movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades may operate at 50% capacity
- Personal services business like tattoo parlors, acupuncture establishments, tanning salons and massage establishments may operate while adhering to the Florida Department of Health
- Pari-mutuel facilities which offer gambling may submit a request to open to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation
The guidelines will apply to 64 counties in Florida, excluding Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
"Miami, Broward and Palm Beach may seek approval, have a plan, submit it through the mayor or county administrator," DeSantis said. "They're on a little bit different schedule."
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A similar situation took place back in April when Florida entered "Phase One" of its reopening plan.
At that time, state and local leaders determined that Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties would be excluded from joining "Phase One" initially because of the high number of COVID-19 cases in those areas.
The three counties eventually entered "Phase One" a couple weeks later.
"We'll work with the three southeast Florida counties to see how they're developing and whether they want to move into 'Phase Two,'" DeSantis said on Wednesday.
DeSantis spoke at Universal Studios CityWalk, just days before theme parks in Orlando are set to reopen after months of closures due to concerns over the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the Volcano Bay water park are scheduled to reopen on June 5.
SeaWorld Orlando is planning to reopen on June 10, while Walt Disney World theme parks are slated to reopen on July 11.
Once the parks reopen, capacity will be limited, all guests will be required to wear face coverings and get their temperatures checked upon arrival, and markings on the ground will help encourage social distancing.