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Florida Reopening Under “Phase One” Guidelines – What You Need to Know

Florida reopening

On Wednesday, April 29, Florida’s Governor DeSantis announced that Florida will begin reopening under outlined “Phase One” guidelines.

The governor laid out a 3-phase plan mirroring the guidelines released by the White House under President Trump’s reopening America plan.

May 4th Changes

Here’s what changes and doesn’t change for Florida on May 4:

  • Schools continue distance learning
  • Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited
  • Vacation rentals are prohibited
  • Elective surgeries can resume
  • Sports arenas and movie theaters will remain closed
  • Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with six feet of space between tables and indoor seating at 25% capacity
  • Retail stores can operate at 25% of indoor capacity
  • No changes for bars, gyms and personal services such as hair dressers and barbers
  • Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home
  • Most Florida beaches are now open, but with restricted hours, however, Miami-Dade County beaches remain closed.
  • Most facilities and events at Florida’s national parks are closed or canceled, but outdoor spaces in some parks remain accessible to the public. Before visiting, please check with individual parks regarding changes to park operations.
  • Museums and libraries may open at 25 percent of their building occupancy if permitted by local government, and if interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas, remain closed.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will enforce social distancing guidelines for anyone on a boat.
  • Florida’s Turnpike is collecting tolls electronically only. When you come to a toll plaza, please drive through – do not stop. If you don’t have a SunPass or interoperable transponder, you’ll be billed through TOLL-BY-PLATE. For more information, check here.

Attention Tourists

While these changes arrive a month ahead of Memorial Day weekend, don’t start planning your Florida vacation yet. All persons traveling to Florida from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Louisiana are required to self-isolate or self-quarantine for 14 days, or for the duration of their presence in the state, whichever is shorter. Roadside checkpoints are set up on interstates to check for potential COVID-19 cases coming into Florida from areas with substantial community spread of the virus. The checkpoints do not apply to commercial drivers or health workers. Click here and here for more information.

If you have questions about COVID-19 in Florida, go to the Department of Health website, call 1 (866) 779-6121 or email the department help line.

For more local news updates, click here.

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.


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