UPDATED, May 14, 7:22 p.m.: Miami-Dade and Broward counties can begin to reopen businesses on Monday, May 18.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the reopening on Thursday at Downtown Doral after outlining a reduced number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized and on ventilators. The governor’s executive order allows Miami-Dade and Broward to join the rest of the state in the first phase of reopening. Palm Beach County entered phase one of reopening this past Monday.
“Today we take another important step for a very important start for the state of Florida,” DeSantis said, stating that southeast Florida “flattened the curve” and is ready to enter phase one.
On Wednesday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez released a 184-page guide for reopening, outlining proposed phases and rules for retail, office buildings, shopping centers, trade and logistics, restaurants and hotels, as well as other businesses.
Miami-Dade will now allow limited openings of restaurants, warehouses, manufacturing, office buildings and a specific list of businesses, Gimenez said. Spas, bars, gyms, beaches, movie theaters, schools, tattoo shops and other businesses will not be allowed to reopen.
DeSantis is expected to make an announcement in the coming days that restaurants in Miami-Dade and Broward can operate at 50 percent capacity.
People will be required to maintain social distancing of at least six feet and to continue wearing face masks. The color-coded reopening phasing guide also outlines disinfection and cleanliness protocols for businesses.
“If we see an increase in Covid patients in our hospitals … we will move out of yellow and back into orange, depending on the situation,” Gimenez said, referring to potentially returning to closures.
Miami-Dade and Broward counties will have different approaches to reopening, DeSantis said. But both counties are working together on key issues.
While gyms will remain closed in Miami-Dade, Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said that homeowners and condo associations will be able to open their gyms “in a limited way” on Monday.
“We are not in normal yet, but we are entering the new normal,” Holness said.
Within Miami-Dade, some cities such as Miami Beach and Miami are working together on a coordinated reopening that would begin next Wednesday, delaying the opening of restaurants to May 27.
DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order at the start of April, after weeks of mounting pressure from outside groups to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Non-essential businesses were ordered to close in mid- to late-March throughout South Florida.
“We’re going to get our mojo back,” DeSantis said during the press conference Thursday, “and be back to where we need to be.”