While the state of Florida has begun the first phase of its reopening plans, which includes the beginning of reopening of restaurants at severely reduced capacities, South Florida had been excluded from that plan — until now.
Beginning today, Palm Beach county is allowing select businesses to reopen, including restaurants and retail, at 25 percent capacity. Miami-Dade and Broward counties may also be lifting their restrictions, according to Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez in a press conference, as early as May 18, but details on what that might look like have yet to be released.
Palm Beach is following the state of Florida’s guidelines when it comes to phase one reopening restaurants, which means restaurants can operate at no more than 25 percent capacity, with tables being located six-feet apart, and groups no larger than 10 can be seated together. Outdoor seating should be prioritized, and people cannot wait for their table inside. Bar areas inside restaurants along with standalone bars that make more than 50 percent of their revenue off liquor sales must remain closed.
Florida currently has more than 40,000 cases and 1,700 deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than half of them in South Florida. And while health officials discourage the reopening of business until there is a continual decrease in cases and deaths, Florida saw 595 cases diagnosed cases over the weekend with new models predicting the state has yet to see its peak in daily fatalities and won’t until mid-June.