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Florida Governor Announces the State Will Start to Reopen Soon — But Not South Florida

The rules: 25 percent capacity for restaurant dining rooms and plenty of social distancing

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Holds Media Briefing On Coronavirus Outbreak Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Yesterday afternoon Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis announced the state’s plan for lifting stay-at-home orders, which will start on Monday, May 4 — however, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties aren’t included in this plan.

The three-phase plan dubbed “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step,” allows restaurants in Florida to reopen with a 25 percent capacity indoors while also being able to use outdoor seating. A distance of six feet between tables must be enforced, and no groups larger than 10 people can be seated together. Also, diners will be expected to wear masks until they are ready to eat. Any business who violates these measures can receive a second-degree misdemeanor fine up to $500.

Retail stores, museums, and libraries may also reopen at 25 percent capacity; however, bars, gyms, schools, spas, movie theaters, and salons must remain closed.

Why is South Florida left out of the plans? Well, the area is still considered too much of a hot spot for the coronavirus outbreak, accounting for 59 percent of the more than 33,193 cases in the state as of press time. Reopening plans for each county in South Florida will be considered by the governor “soon,” he said, but no specifics were given yet.

While this reopening is slower and less aggressive than some other Southern states, it still comes before ample testing is available that meets the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Those guidelines suggest that 150 people for every 100,000 residents should be tested daily, or 33,000 a day for Florida. Currently the state is conducting around 9,000 tests per day and plans to be ay 18,000 by the end of May.