Apr 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Florida governor says phase one of reopening will begin next week


Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced on Wednesday that phase one of the state's reopening will begin in most counties on Monday, with stores and restaurants permitted to operate at a 25% occupancy limit.

Why it matters: Florida has been one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., reporting more than 33,000 confirmed cases and 1,200 deaths thus far, per Johns Hopkins.

  • DeSantis has been criticized for not implementing a statewide stay-at-home order until April 1. The state has a large elderly population and saw spring breakers congregate on beaches in March, drawing significant backlash.
  • The governor spent part of his press conference on Wednesday attacking the media for promoting "hysteria" and "doom and gloom," arguing that his state has fared far better than places like New York.

Details: Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in South Florida — hot spots for the virus — will continue to remain under a stay-at-home order. DeSantis issued an exclusive stay-at-home order for that region at the end of March.

  • Schools, gyms, bars and "personal services" such as hairdressers will also remain closed, and visits to senior living facilities will be prohibited.
  • DeSantis said he consulted White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and President Trump and received approval for the plan.

What to watch: DeSantis said that the state’s timeline for moving to phase two will be driven by “primarily hospital capacity and hospital resources.”

  • "We're going to be safe, smart and we're going to do this step by step," he said.

Go deeper: Texas governor to allow stay-at-home order to expire on April 30

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