BY MARCY SHORTUSE- Governor Ron DeSantis announced today that Phase 2 of the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step” plan would begin to be implemented today, Friday, June 5. DeSantis said this means that all bars in all but three Florida counties – Dade, Broward and Palm Beach – could re-open with certain stipulations, which include operating at half capacity inside and full capacity outside. Patrons will be allowed to receive service only if seated, and bar-top seating may commence with social distancing.
People who travel to Florida will still be required to self-isolate if they are coming from a COVID-19 “hot spot,” with the exception of those traveling for work or students traveling for academic reasons, or for sports or school activities.
Movie theaters, concert venues, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades may also operate at 50 percent capacity, with social distancing regulations. Personal services such as tattoo or body piercing parlors and acupuncture, tanning and massage businesses, may operate with appropriate safety precautions.
DeSantis asked everyone to continue to follow appropriate social distancing and safety measures, and said that senior citizens and those with underlying medical conditions should take measures to limit their risk of exposure to the virus. People should not gather in groups of 50 or more.
DeSantis also extended a temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures that was set to expire last Tuesday. The governor signed an executive order on Monday extending the mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief for residents, which will now run through July 1. With the pandemic closures of businesses causing mass unemployment in the state, many have been unable to pay large bills such as rent and mortgages. Clerks of courts in each county had allegedly stopped processing eviction filings at the governor’s order, but some did not. This might leave many homeless after the July 1 deadline for relief has come and gone.