Coronavirus News

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis just issued an executive order increasing the amount of activity permitted under “Phase One” which is now statewide.

The highlights: Restaurants can increase occupancy to 50 percent. Gyms are allowed to open. Sports venues are allowed to operate. Retail locations can welcome up to 50 percent of capacity. Vacation rentals may be approved by local jurisdictions.

Keep in mind: every local city and town may enforce its own rules which are permitted to be more restrictive — except for sports venues. According to the order, sports venues MUST be permitted to operate.

Absent more restrictive policies, the new rules take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Here’s the complete executive order:

WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-52 declaring a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida as a result of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on April 29, 2020, I issued Executive Order 20-112 initiating Phase 1 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery; and

WHEREAS, Executive Order 20-112 did not exhaust the recommendations of the proposed Phase 1 included in the White House’s Guidelines for Re-Opening America Again.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section (l)(a) of the Florida Constitution  and Chapter 252, Florida Statutes, and all other applicable laws, promulgate the followingExecutive Order:

Executive Order 20-112, as modified by Executive Order 20-120, is extended as further modified by this order below, bringing all Florida counties into Full Phase 1.

Section 1.        Restaurants, Retail, Museums and Gyms

  1. Restaurants and food establishments licensed under Chapters 500 or 509, Florida Statutes, may serve patrons at indoor seating so long as they limit indoor occupancy up to fifty (50) percent of their seating capacity, excluding employees. The requirement for a minimum of 6 feet between parties is superseded to the extent appropriate partitioning is in place.  Bar counters are to remain closed to seating, and outdoor seating remains available with social distancing. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) will post and update appropriate safety measures on its website.
  2. In-store retail sales establishments may operate up to fifty (50) percent of their building occupancy and abide by the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
  3. Museums and libraries may operate up to fifty (50) percent of their building occupancy, provided, however, that local public museums and local public libraries may operate only if permitted by local government.
  4. Gyms and fitness centers may operate up to fifty (50) percent of their building occupancy so long as they adopt safety measures including appropriate social distancing for classes and sufficient cleaning supplies to ensure, at a minimum, patrons’ individual self-cleaning of surfaces and machines using sanitation wipes following each use.  DBPR will post and update best practices on its website.

Section 2.        Professional Sports Venues

Professional sports may operate in the State of Florida and venues may host training, competitions, events and games. This provision shall preempt any local rule prohibiting a professional sports team conducting, or the operations of the venue from hosting, those sports activities at facilities in the State.

Section 3.        Amusement Parks

Amusement parks may submit a re-opening plan to the State of Florida that includes a proposed date for resumption of operations and proposed guidelines to ensure guest and staff safety.  Requests to re-open must include an endorsement letter from the County Mayor or in absence of a county mayor from the City Mayor and County Administrator. This request shall identify a future date certain for re-opening and verify that the official has approved a re-open plan to ensure patron and staff safety.

Section 4.        Vacation Rentals

Counties may seek approval to operate vacation rentals with a written request from the County Administrator and the county’s safety plan for vacation rental operations submitted to the DBPR Secretary. DBPR will post and update guidance on its website.

Section 5.        Local Government Public Meetings Order Extended

The Executive Order 20-69 is extended for the duration of this order.

Section 6.        Enforcement

This order shall be enforced under section 252.47, Florida Statutes. Violation of this order is a second-degree misdemeanor pursuant to section 252.50, Florida Statutes, and is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both.

Section 7.        Effective Date

This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 18, 2020.


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