STATEWIDE — Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order on Florida's reopening goes into effect on Monday.
- CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES: In the Central Florida area | In the Tampa Bay area
- COVID-19 IMPACTS ON: Airports, Transportation Systems | Sports Events and Teams | Attractions | School Districts and Universities | Retailers, Restaurants Adjust Hours
- FREE CHARTER WIFI: Charter Communications to Offer Free Broadband, WiFi Access to Families with Elementary, College Students
- COMPLETE COVERAGE: Spectrum News | CDC | Florida Department of Health
After nearly a month, Floridians will finally be able to eat out again and do some in-store shopping.
Charter Communications has temporarily opened its live stream free to the public. You can watch Spectrum News via our live stream on your desktop or laptop without a subscription by visiting our website and clicking “Watch Live” in the upper right. Charter also is temporarily offering free broadband and wifi access for 60 days to teachers and families with K-12 or college students. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. The company also will open more than half a million wifi hotspots across the country.
Florida's restaurants and retail stores will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity, if the local government allows it, DeSantis announced Wednesday.
"I deliberately erred on the side of taking measured steps, kind of even a baby step, to return to not normal where we were, but to start us on the road to a brighter day and I think that's the right approach," DeSantis said.
The governor said he will be reopening the state in phases.
His decision came after meeting with President Donald Trump this week and receiving recommendations from his reopen task force.
Phase one starts Monday.
Here is what's different:
- Elective surgeries can resume
- Restaurants can open back up with outdoor seating and limited indoor seating
- Retail stores can also open but with a limited capacity (20 to 25 percent)
However, schools will remain with distance learning, and visits to senior living facilities will still be prohibited.
Speaking of nursing homes, FEMA is preparing to ship personal protective gear to thousands of our assistance living facilities.
A spokesperson for the federal emergency management agency says it will coordinate shipments across the nation.
The PPE, which will start being delivered on Friday, includes surgical masks, gowns, and gloves. Many nursing homes have had staffing shortages due to the lack of PPE.
The places that will not be opening in phase one: Bars, gyms, and personal services, like hair or nail salons.
The governor emphasized the importance of continuing social distancing and wearing face masks.
He said he does not expect it to take months to fully reopen the state; he is thinking it will be measured in weeks.
DeSantis said in order to move through each phase, testing will be key, and he will be keeping a close eye on the state's COVID-19 test positivity rate.
The Pentagon says it will use the Defense Production Act to help boost COVID-19 testing around the country. Specifically to boost production of testing swabs.
The Pentagon awarded a $75.5 million contract to Puritan Medical Products. This is intended to double swab production.
The Pentagon says it expects 40 million swabs to be produced by the company every month starting in May instead of the current 20 million.
Sign up now for one of our newsletters that will show up in your inbox every weekday at 1 p.m. The newsletters highlight the most important stories of the day that you need to know for your area.