ORLANDO, Fla. – Phase three of reopening the state after expansive and ongoing coronavirus closures will be what many are calling “the new normal” and will involve the loosening of even more restrictions.
Right now with phase two underway, we don’t know when the third and final phase will begin, but we do have some details on what it will look like as outlined in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan.
“Phase 3 will begin after the successful conclusion of Phase 2, which includes a downward trajectory of the syndromic and epidemiology criteria while maintaining adequate health care capacity. This will occur when there is no evidence of a rebound or resurgence of COVID-19 cases and satisfies the benchmarks outlined in this Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan,” the document reads.
For reference, it took Florida about a month to move from phase one to phase two.
While the plan is readily available online, it’s important to note that alterations could be made. For example, gyms were originally prohibited from opening until phase two, but DeSantis ultimately made the decision to allow fitness fanatics back in while the state was still in phase one.
Below are the highlights from the governor’s plan. You can also find the Re-Open Florida Task Force report from April that includes all three phases here.
Those 65 and older or those with underlying medical conditions who are most at risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 can resume public interactions as long as they continue practice social distancing. They should inform their employer so that accommodations can be made.
While no limit is placed on the number of people together at one time, residents should still consider avoiding crowded spaces. Under phase two, gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited. That number was 10 in phase one.
If you’re itching for a vacation, phase three is the time to do it since non-essential travel will be allowed to resume. This also includes work-related travel.
Employers should develop a phased approach to bringing workers back in the office. From there, unrestricted staffing of workplaces can happen once more. Still, employers should take measures to prevent sick people from entering the building. Vulnerable individuals should consider continuing to telework.
Bars and nightclubs
Full capacity can resume at these establishments once again but sanitation and other measures should be taken to stop the spread of germs. Nightclubs have been closed since mid-March and bars only recently got the green light to reopen with 50% capacity.
Full capacity and service can happen with limited social distancing protocols in place. Extra sanitation measures include either providing disposable paper menus or disinfecting laminated menus after each use.
Gyms and fitness centers
Gyms are already operating at full capacity with the governor’s approval, the only difference during phase three is that they’ll be able to do away with the current social distancing protocols.
State parks, beaches, movie theaters, concert halls, playhouses, casinos, arcades and the like can fully reopen with limited social distancing measures.
Large sporting events and theme parks
All of Central Florida’s theme parks opened by mid-July with reduced capacity but come phase three, they can resume normal operations. Reducing capacity and limited social distancing is, however, recommended for large sporting events.
The governor has allowed vacation rentals to resume on a county-by-county basis as long as the plan has been approved by his office. Many of those plans include allowing extra time between guests and mandating that visitors from certain hot spots book a minimum two-week stay. When phase three rolls around, pre-pandemic procedures can take place but the heightened cleaning and disinfecting is still recommended.
Personal services businesses
Hair salons, spas, tattoo parlors and similar establishments will be allowed to operate at full capacity although mitigation measures should still be taken. Those include cleaning work stations between clients and removing frequently touched items such as magazines.
Shops are operating at full capacity now so there won’t be any changes there. They are being asked to continue sanitation protocols.