Florida To Enter Phase Two Reopening

Todays News


Most of Florida, including Sarasota and Manatee counties will shift into Phase Two of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced.

That means bars can reopen, serving just seated guests, at 50% capacity. Movie theaters can begin selling half the seats for screenings. A number of personal services from tattoo parlors to tanning salons can reopen so long as they follow Department of Health guidelines.

This is another important step in fully engaging the power of local businesses to reignite our economy,” said Jacki Dezelski, president and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. “Phase Two will allow more employees to return to work and companies to get back to business. Guidance is available to help with health and safety protocols. Throughout this pandemic, business leaders have worked tirelessly to plan, protect, pivot and innovate.”

Among the notable shifts, mass gatherings will no longer be limited to only 10 people or less. There will still be a cap of 50, though. Still, that allows a greater crowd at playhouses, concert halls and sporting venues.

"The slow steady phased approach has given businesses the time to retool and convert their businesses to best meet the new safety precautions going forward," said Heather Kasten, President and CEO of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. "With each phase our business community moves towards being able to save their business and get through these trying times.”

But the shift into broader reopening comes as Florida continues to see new cases. As of Wednesday, a total of 58,764 individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 in the state, including 2,566 Florida residents killed by the disease. In Manatee County, 98 residents have died, and there have been 1,110 positive cases. In Sarasota County, there have been 649 cases and 80 resident deaths.

Officials note that while the virus continues to spread, the medical infrastructure has not been taxed excessively. Indeed, local hospitals have returned elective surgeries into service. 

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