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DeSantis opens gyms, restaurants

By Staff | May 20, 2020

Following a new executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis, restaurants and retail outlets in Florida can now serve guests at 50 percent of indoor capacity.

Outdoor seating at restaurants will continue with social-distancing guidelines in place between tables.

DeSantis also opened gyms under the state’s social-distancing guidelines. Machines and surfaces should be sanitized after each use, DeSantis said at a press conference held Friday in Jacksonville.

DeSantis said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted him to close the gyms.

“I tried to work constructively but you think about it — this is a respiratory virus that tends to attack people who have some health problems or who aren’t in as good physical condition. Don’t we want people to be getting exercise? Don’t we want people to stay in shape? It’s going to actually make them more resistant to severe consequences,” he said.

Sports teams are now allowed to train and, once the season starts, DeSantis said they can use their venues to play. “I think it’s important that we get sports back and running,” he said.

Over the weekend, there was a nationally televised charity golf tournament at Seminole Golf Club in Juno which drew some of the biggest names in a best-ball skins match to aid causes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the executive order, museums and libraries will be allowed to open at 50% depending on local guidance. DeSantis is more cautious on opening indoor movie theaters though drive-in movie theaters are encouraged.

DeSantis also stated that amusement parks can submit reopening applications to the state. They will have to provide plans for how they will protect guests and workers, DeSantis said.

“My goal in all of this is let’s keep safety first but let’s work and innovate.”

In addition, DeSantis extended the state’s moratorium on evictions and mortgage foreclosures through June 2, in an executive order announced May 14.

DeSantis also issued an executive order allowing Miami-Dade County and Broward County to move to phase 1 of the state’s reopening,

Miami-Dade and Broward had been excluded from the phase 1 reopenings which, among other things, allowed restaurants to resume outdoor seating and indoor seating with limited capacity. The phase 1 opening also allowed retail stores to reopen with 25% capacity. Miami-Dade and Broward will also be allowed to resume elective medical surgeries.