As of May 4th, Florida’s reopening will begin, starting with what the state is declaring as Phase 1. Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach are going to be excluded from this phase for the time being. Ron DeSantis the Governor has emphasized the importance of focusing on facts as the state moves to re-open safely.

The state has pushed for the following steps.

  1. Protect the vulnerable
  2. Increase testing
  3. Promote social distancing
  4. Support hospitals and protect healthcare workers
  5. Prevent introduction from outside the state

With that in mind Phase, 1 will include the following steps

  • Schools will remain closed and distance learning will continue. 
  • Elective surgeries can resume on a hospital by hospital basis.
  • Restaurants can reopen with a reduced seating capacity to 25%  
  • Restaurants can reopen and outdoor seating will be allowed with a 6 feet buffer between tables. 
  • Senior living facilities are prohibited from having visitors.
  • Retail stores can reopen with a 25% customer capacity.
  • Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home.
  • All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others.
  • No change for bars, gyms, and personal services such as hair salons.
  • Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing.
  • Face masks are recommended for all those in face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance.

The biggest take away from Phase 1 is that retail stores and restaurants will now be open at a reduced capacity. This is a big change and should help with employment and small business owners. While phase 1 suggests people avoid close contact, phase 1 does not include any rules around this. Facemasks are also recommended still but again no rules requiring Bradenton residents wear them, this will be up to local businesses to enforce in their policies.

As of right now, there is a new set date for Bradenton and Tampa residents to start phase two. It is likely that in order to move to phase two the state will have to show progress in cases decreasing. The Governor’s task force calls for phase two to increase capacities to 75% and allow for sporting venues to open at 50% capacity. Phase 2 will also see nightclubs and bars to start opening at 50 percent capacity.