DeSantis opens gyms, doubles occupancy rates for retail, restaurants starting May 18th

Florida restaurants and retail businesses can allow twice as many customers in starting May 18th.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered the news during a briefing at Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville on May 15th.

DeSantis said he isn’t opening indoor movie theaters yet, because he needs to see plans that prove it will be safe because of difficulty enforcing social distancing. 

“All we’re trying to do is create low-risk practices,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said many cities have been creative in dealing with ways to maximize their businesses under restrictions and noted that some restaurants were expanding outdoor seating in parking lots and city streets were being closed to add table space.

Museums and libraries can operate at 50 percent capacity.

DeSantis said athletes who use sports arenas can train using CDC guidelines.

Gyms and fitness centers can operate while respecting social distancing, DeSantis said about fitness centers. He mentioned that businesses such as Crossfit training that exercise outdoors is “great.”

DeSantis invited UFC competitions to Florida when he found out other states weren’t allowing to fight in empty arenas and air the competitions. “If you have states who aren’t going to budge,” DeSantis said, he would work with them to provide a venue.

DeSantis  said Florida will continue to protect the vulnerable populations buy testing staff and residents at long-term care facilities.

He said he is also working on a proposal assigned to him by President Trump on how to manage international travel.

“I said two weeks ago there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,”DeSantis said as he thanked Florida residents for their mitigation efforts.

“The American people never signed up for a perpetual stay at home,” he said about moving forward toward Phase 2.

The Alachua Board of County Commissioners and the Gainesville City Commission will discuss COVID-19 on Tuesday, May 19 during a joint meeting at 3 p.m.  

It was also learned that Alachua County expects to issue a new order on Sunday to match the changes DeSantis put into effect for Monday. 

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