Governor says phase 1 of reopening can begin May 4: What that means for Central Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis said most of Florida will be able to enter phase one of a three-phase reopening plan on May 4, except for in three counties with the most cases in South Florida.

“We need to focus on facts and not fear,” DeSantis said in a news conference discussing his plan for reopening Florida Wednesday evening.

He said the state needs to reopen gradually with all but Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties moving to phase one on May 4.


WATCH: DeSantis is announcing his plan to reopen Florida’s economy

“We will get Florida back on its feet by using an approach that’s safe, smart and step-by-step,” he said.

DeSantis said phase one means elective surgeries can resume, and restaurants can do outdoor seating with 6 feet between tables and 25% capacity indoors with 6-foot spacing.

He said retail can reopen as well with 25% capacity.

DeSantis said in phase one schools, bars, gyms and personal services will remain closed.

Seminole County leaders, shortly after DeSantis’s news conference ended, hosted a press conference. Officials said they formally support the governor’s plan with an executive order that states businesses are allowed to open next week if they make every effort to keep people six feet apart. If employees and customers can’t practice social distancing, one of both must wear masks.

Seminole County also wants businesses to limit occupancy to 25%, and that includes inside churches.

“A lot of those, of course, have gone to online services and drive-up services and of course that is still very, very safe,” Emergency Manager Alan Harris said. “If they wish to continue to do those types of activities they can do that.”

Read: ‘It’s heart-wrenching’: Families of Central Florida’s first COVID-19 victims describe lack of answers, testing

Leaders in Orange and Volusia counties had also planned Wednesday to weigh in on the governor’s reopening plans, but postponed it after the governor moved his announcement back to 5 p.m.

“We will take recommendations by the governor under advisement and have more to say about that tomorrow,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.

Volusia County Chairman Ed Kelley said he wants to reopen Volusia County businesses “the sooner, the better - but safely.”

Today Gov. DeSantis announced Phase I of reopening the state will being Monday, May 4, 2020. What do you think?

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Wednesday, April 29, 2020