Florida to start allowing businesses to reopen Monday

Florida to start allowing businesses to reopen Monday
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Florida will allow some businesses in parts of the state to reopen on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisConflicting school mask guidance sparks confusion Fauci 'heartened' to see top Republicans encouraging vaccinations Will Pence primary Trump — and win? MORE (R) said Wednesday. 

The reopenings are part of the first phase of Florida’s reopening plan, and will exclude for the time being Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which have seen the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

DeSantis said the three excluded counties are heading in a “positive direction,” and he believes “they will be able to move to phase one very soon.” 

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In the rest of the state, restaurants can open with 25 percent capacity indoors and can offer outdoor seating with tables placed six-feet apart. Retail stores can open at 25 percent indoor capacity. 

The state is also allowing elective surgeries to resume statewide. 

Other restrictions will remain in place, including keeping schools closed. Bars, gyms, spas and salons will also remain closed during the first phase of the reopening. 

Visitors will still be prohibited at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

“I am willing to reevaluate that if we have enough rapid tests,” DeSantis said, regarding relaxing restrictions on visitors to long-term care facilities.  

DeSantis said he discussed Florida's plan for reopening with the Trump administration, including Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the White House's coronavirus response. 

“They agree Florida is ready to go to Phase One,” he said. 

DeSantis said the state will also expand testing, including adding three new walk-up testing sites and five new drive-thru testing sites. The state will also expand its contact tracing abilities as it moves forward with phase one of its reopening.