FLORIDA, USA — Come Monday, all of Florida's 67 counties will be under phase one of Gov. Ron DeSantis' "Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan to Reopen Florida." As orders are updated and businesses are added, you may find yourself with questions.
What does it all mean? And, where do we stand?
The governor is providing more insight into his latest executive order, effective May 18, outlining who, when, and at what capacity businesses can operate.
"Can" is the keyword, as we've seen local businesses wait to reopen out of concern. It is still important to check with your favorite spots before running out the door.
Here is what you can expect on Monday:
Restaurants and food establishments: Locations are allowed to increase indoor capacity to 50-percent with proper social distancing, but appropriately spaced outdoor seating is encouraged. Bar counters will still be required to stay closed.
Retail: Locations are allowed to increase indoor capacity to 50 percent.
Museums and libraries: Locations are allowed to increase indoor capacity to 50 percent. But, local governments control if museums and libraries are allowed to reopen. Check with your county for specifics.
Gyms: Locations are allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Social distancing is required and all equipment and surfaces must be self-sanitized after use.
Amusement parks: While they cannot reopen just yet, amusement parks across the state are allowed to submit reopening plans to the state. Universal's CityWalk began a phased reopening Thursday, while Disney Springs is set to slowly open on May 20.
Professional sports venues: DeSantis says professional sports teams are welcomed to the state and venues may open and operate for games, events and training--just without fans. The governor's order preempts any local guidance.
Vacation rentals: Counties can now submit for approval to open and operate vacation rentals. Each county will need to send both a written request and safety plan to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Elective surgeries: These procedures are welcomed to continue as long as a facility has adequate PPE, hospital bed surge capacity and works with its local community to prevent and/or contain outbreaks in long-term care facilities.
Barbershops and hair, nail salons: Must continue to operate under the May 11 guidance. Meaning, appointments only, social distancing and sanitation requirements, masks must be worn by employees, and no groups waiting to be seen.
Schools: Students will continue with distance learning through the end of the year.
Long-term care facilities: Visitations are still prohibited at nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state, but DeSantis is forming a task force to look into how to safely reopen. In the meantime, hospitals are required to test all individuals before discharging them back to facilities. And, facilities are required to take COVID-19 positive residents to the hospital for care if it is not equipped to treat them itself.
As for the future of when Floridians can expect to see phase two? That is still undetermined, but DeSantis said he will be looking to other states to make his decision.
But, experts say it could be some time before official second phase plans are in place as we haven't flattened the curve just yet.
Dr. Jay Wolson with USF Public Health told 10 Tampa Bay it is important to know the difference between a decline, peak and plateau in the virus.
"It's very important for people to realize that there's a difference between a peak and a plateau. Things don't just stop. So people are still getting sick at an important rate and people are still dying, but that trajectory is flattening," Dr. Wolfson said.
Dr. Wolfson projects that the state is at a plateau level-- highlighting the importance of continued surveillance and testing.
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