Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday an executive order closing all bars and nightclubs in Florida for the next 30 days, in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. The closure began at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
DeSantis said restaurants can remain open, although they can only have 50 percent capacity to allow patrons to maintain social distancing. The tables must be six feet apart.
The governor is also asking the board of governors for state colleges and universities to finish the semester with online classes. The state university system has cancelled all spring graduation ceremonies.
DeSantis does not plan to order that beaches be closed, but is instead leaving that decision up to local governments.
According to officials, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida is 216, including seven deaths, three of which occurred at two assisted living facilities in Broward County. Another death was was reported in Manatee County Tuesday evening. The national death toll reached 100 on Tuesday. Palm Beach County has nine cases, and Broward has 43, the most in the state.
Meanwhile, a student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton has tested positive for COVID-19, school officials said Tuesday evening through the school’s website.
“Student Health Services received confirmation from the Florida Department of Health that this student did not interact with other FAU students, faculty or staff,” the update said.
While the campus remains open, the university says all students who can return home at this time should do so.
During a second press conference late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. DeSantis said the state is waiving all testing for K-12 schools, adding that parents now have the option to hold their children back a grade.
Schools’ evaluation grades will also be cancelled, and public schools will remain closed until April 15. After that, classes could resume in person or continue through virtual learning.
Florida school districts have been instructed to spend any unspent funds for the 2019 and 2020 school years on helping low-income students obtain digital devices to assist with remote education. The funds can also be spent on virtual mental health services for students.