TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This week wrapped up a series of discussions between leaders in government, industry, and small businesses across the state of Florida who are part of the Re-Open Florida Task Force.
Right now the goal for everyone on the task force is to get their recommendations to Gov. Ron DeSantis as quickly as possible - and that means working through the weekend. That’s because each member of the task force is being asked to compile a list of suggestions and submit them no later than Sunday.
“Really, really impressed with a lot of the ideas and the discussions,” DeSantis said during the start of Friday’s 3 p.m. executive meeting of the Re-Open Florida Task Force. “I think it’s really going to help us while we move forward here. I know there have been some really important things discussed today. Particularly some of the things that we’ve been focused on since day one. Things like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We’ve put huge efforts into protecting those and that’s something we are going to have to continue to do.”
With the governor’s 30-day safer-at-home order for Florida set to expire at the start of May, small businesses and large businesses alike are looking for guidance and guidelines on how to reopen their doors to the public, and how to keep their customers and workers safe.
Greg Picinic, a Tallahassee barbershop owner, said he doesn’t want to put his customers or staff at risk.
“As a local small business owner, I want to do everything in my power to keep all my barbers, clients, community safe as possible for whenever the time comes to reopen, even if that means we stay closed for a while longer,” Picinic said.
He said the big thing barbershops and salon owners want to know are what protocols will they need to put in place and how they will be able to pay for things like disinfectant, masks and gloves?
“All these new features and safety measures are going to add a tremendous cost to us and increase the already devastating financial burden we’ve incurred,” Picinic said. “Are there going to be resources available for us for the procurement of the proper PPE equipment?”
Businesses are looking for guidance from Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The secretary for the state agency, Halsey Beshears, said he understands all their concerns and said the agency plans to be there to help.
“If the businesses perform in a safe, clean and comforting environment while maintaining the health and safety of all their employees, customers and patrons, these businesses will learn to operate in this new world,” Beshears said. “They will return to normal and thrive once again. And we would be happy to work with industries with what these industry certifications and protocols need to be.”