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UPDATED: Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade Not Included in Florida’s Reopening Plan

Residents and businesses in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties will have to wait a bit longer for many venues to reopen and activities to return, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, there is some good news for our friends on the Treasure Coast. Although the bars there will remain closed for the time being, you will soon be able to dine outdoors, as restaurants will be allowed to offer outdoor seating with six feet of distance and indoor seating at 25 percent capacity. Hair salons and barber shops will also be permitted to open next week in that part of the state.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday outlined his plans for gradually reopening parts of the state.

However, the guidelines will not apply to Southeast Florida due to the high number of COVID-19 cases here.

The governor announced during a Wednesday afternoon news conference that his “SAFE. SMART. STEP-BY-STEP. Plan to Re-Open Florida” will begin with Phase One this Monday for the rest of the state.

The governor said Phase One involves the following:

-Schools continue distance learning until further notice

-Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited

-Elective surgeries can resume

-Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with 6-foot space between tables and indoor seating at 25 percent capacity

-Large venues like movie theaters will remain closed

-Retail can operate at 25 percent of indoor capacity

-No change for bars, gyms, and personal services such as hair dressers (they will remain closed until further notice)

-Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home

-All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others

-Avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing

-Face masks are recommended for all those in face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance

As far as Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade, the governor explained, “These counties have seen the lion’s share of the state’s epidemic, but they are trending in a positive direction. I am working with them and will continue to work with them, and I do believe that they will be able to move to Phase One very soon.”

He added, “We want to get them going, I think we have a good path to do it, but it’s gonna be on a little bit different timetable than the rest of the state.”

DeSantis praised Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties for their decision to reopen parks, boat ramps, golf courses, community pools, and other recreational activities this week.

“I’m not seeing any outbreaks tied to playing golf,” DeSantis said. “I think it was the right decision to give people outlets and give people the ability to do some of those things.”

According to the Department of Health, there were 33,193 total cases of COVID-19 in Florida as of Wednesday morning.

At least 1,218 Florida residents have died from COVID-19.

Palm Beach County: 2,911 cases

-178 deaths

-Men: 1,433, Women: 1,419

-431 hospitalizations

Broward County: 4,898 cases

-182 deaths

-Men: 2,411, Women: 2,357

-976 hospitalizations

Miami-Dade County: 11,927 cases

-338 deaths

-Men: 6,166, Women: 5,615

-1,458 hospitalizations

As for the rest of the state, “Going from where we are now to Phase One is not a very big leap,” DeSantis said. “I think that will be able to be a small step for us.”

The Re-Open Florida Task Force, which is comprised of health, political, business, and education leaders from across the state, presented its recommendations to the governor on Tuesday about the safest and most effective ways to reopen operations in Florida.

The governor added that he is still working with the Trump Administration on what Phase One of the reopening will look like for our state.

DeSantis met with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday. He said then that he would take a “measured, thoughtful, and data-driven” approach to reopening Florida’s economy.

Meanwhile, Florida’s stay-at-home order is set to expire on Thursday, April 30.