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

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

About 40.7 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus pandemic began, including 2.1 million more claims filed from last week.

Why it matters: Even as states reopen their economies, Americans are still seeking relief. Revised data out Thursday also showed U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimate of 4.8%.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.

Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Live music was an early casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, and independent venues across the country are especially at risk as the crisis drags on.

Why it matters: These venues are accessible cultural spaces and key economic drivers, and no one in the industry, from bands to bookers to bartenders, knows when things will return to normal.