Governor re-opens gyms, offers hope for vacation rentals

After days of teasing further re-opening of Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced May 15 gyms and fitness centers will be able to join the growing list of re-opened businesses. 

Florida will be moving to a “full Phase I” DeSantis said during a press conference in Jacksonville. DeSantis said the expansion of opening will begin Monday and is limited to 50% capacity. 

“Don’t we want people to stay in shape? It is actually going to make them more resistant,” DeSantis said of gyms. 

He also pointed out that individuals have a responsibility to clean up after themselves when using equipment. 

There will be further openings as well. 

Restaurants can now operate up to 50% capacity, this includes moving tables or if physical partitions exist. Physical distancing is still required, and outdoor seating is still recommended. 

Retail, museums and libraries will also be allowed to move to 50% of capacity, but local jurisdictions take precedent for regulating facilities they own. 

Sporting events will also be allowed to reopen under limited conditions, including no spectators, but DeSantis said it will likely depend on the decisions by individual sports leagues. 

Theme parks can also submit plans to move toward re-opening. Companies must include dates certain for implementing protective measures, how they plan to protect guests and employees, and an endorsement from the local authorities. 

Florida’s new phase I nearly mirrors the White House guidance, but movie theaters will continue to remain closed. 

“I believe when you are in an enclosed, indoor environment the virus is more transmissable,” DeSantis said.  

Bars, tattoo parlors and short term vacation rentals will also remained closed, but DeSantis said he was willing to make exceptions on the vacation rentals. 

He said counties need to submit a safety plan for consideration by the state, a ray of hope for Navarre Beach where most tourism capacity is condos and rental homes. 

“It is going to be done on a case by case basis,” he said. 

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