Local and Florida businesses begin to resume operation

Governor Ron DeSantis laid out the steps that he will follow as we begin reopening Florida’s economy on Wednesday.  A successful demonstration by citizens and members of the Saint Augustine Tea Party was held near SR-312 and US-1 South last weekend.  A spokesman from that group told local Historic City News reporters that they look forward to the end of DeSantis’ statewide stay-at-home order. Ron and Casey DeSantis make their home in St Johns county.

Florida will loosen limitations on businesses and social gatherings on May 4th, DeSantis announced at an April 29th press conference. The reopening announcement, which excludes the hard-hit areas of Broward, Miami-Dade and West Palm Beach counties, comes as the state’s stay-at-home order was set to expire at the end of April.

The protocols that take effect May 4, dubbed as “Phase One” include the following:

Elective surgeries can resume.

Restaurants can offer indoor seating — limited to 25 percent capacity — and outdoor seating with six feet of space between tables.

Retail stores can operate at 25 percent capacity.

Bars, gyms, movie theaters, and places offering personal services, such as hair salons, will remain closed.

In addition, schools will continue to operate on a distance learning model, and visits to nursing homes and other senior-living facilities remain prohibited.

The state will encourage vulnerable parts of the population to avoid close contact with others who live outside their homes. In addition, the guidelines call for maximizing social distancing, avoiding socializing in groups of more than 10 people, and using face masks in face-to-face interactions when social distancing isn’t possible.

Local municipalities will work within the state and federal guidelines when deciding when and how to reopen.

The new state-wide guidelines are part of a three-phase approach adopted by the state, in accordance with guidelines released by the White House earlier this month. Florida will monitor data and later determine when moving on to “Phase Two” is feasible, DeSantis said.

The Governor added that “Phase One” could last weeks. Florida had seen more than 33,193 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,218 related deaths as of April 29, according to the Florida Department of Health.