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DeSantis opens gyms, restaurants to 50 percent indoors

By Staff | May 15, 2020

Beginning Monday, restaurants in Florida will be allowed to serve guests at 50 percent of indoor capacity, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced. Retail outlets will also be able to stay open at 50 percent capacity.

Beginning Monday, gyms can operate with social-distancing guidelines in place. Machines and surfaces should be sanitized after each use, DeSantis said. DeSantis said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted him to close the gyms.

“I tried to work constructively but you think about it – this is a respiratory virus that tends to attack people who have some health problems or who aren’t in as good physical condition,” DeSantis said. “Don’t we want people to be getting exercise? Don’t we want people to stay in shape? It’s going to actually make them more resistant to severe consequences.”

Sports teams are now allowed to train and once the season starts DeSantis said they can use their venues to play.

“I think it’s important that we get sports back and running,” he said. DeSantis said there will be some major golf charity events coming up in Florida.

Amusement parks can submit reopening applications to the state. They will have to provide plans for how they will protect guests and workers, DeSantis said. “My goal in all of this is let’s keep safety first but let’s work and innovate.”

Museums and libraries will be allowed to open at 50 percent depending on local guidance. DeSantis is more cautious on opening indoor movie theaters though drive-in movie theaters are encouraged.

For short-term vacation rentals, DeSantis said if counties want vacation rentals to resume, they need to submit applications to the state with their safety plans.

“If you tell me you are going to rent them out to people from New York City, I’m probably not going to approve that OK?” DeSantis said. “If you are saying you are going to rent it out to people in other parts of Florida or something that would be manageable or if there are ways in there to clearly (protect) safety then I would be fine.”

DeSantis said some parts of Florida have been more affected than others. “It’s going to be on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

“We want to make sure we are being very cautious,” DeSantis said at a press conference Friday in Jacksonville.

DeSantis is also worried about a decline in people accessing the health care system.

“There has been a decline in children getting their immunizations,” DeSantis said. DeSantis said he is concerned about “adverse consequences” by families not taking their children in to get required shots.

DeSantis said he hasn’t made a decision on summer camps yet though he would like to move forward on that.

“We are going to work on that.”