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Posted on: April 1, 2020

Governor DeSantis outlines Phase 1 of plan to reopen Florida

Graphic that says Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery.


Executive Order 20-123 goes into effect Monday, May 18, 2020, bringing all Florida counties into Full Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.

The order provides the following:

  • Restaurants and food establishments statewide may allow on-premises consumption of food and beverages so long as they adopt appropriate social distancing measures and limit their indoor occupancy to no more than 50 percent of seating capacity. Outdoor seating is permissible with a minimum of six feet between parties.
  • Retail sales establishments statewide may open if they operate at no more than 50 percent of their building occupancy and abide by the safety guidelines issued by the CDC and OSHA.
  • Museums and libraries statewide may open at 50 percent of their building occupancy.
  • Gyms and fitness centers statewide are permitted to reopen at 50 percent of their building occupancy with social distancing in place and sanitization after each use of equipment.


Governor Ron DeSantis has outlined Phase 1 of the plan to reopen Florida (with the exception of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties), which begins on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Under Phase 1:

  • All persons in Florida should continue to limit their personal interactions outside of the home. All individuals, when in public, should maximize physical distance from others and avoid socializing in groups of more than ten (10) people in circumstances that do not readily allow for physical distancing. Vulnerable individuals should avoid close contact with people outside the home.
  • Face masks are recommended for all those in face-to-face interactions and where you can’t social distance.
  • Schools will continue distance learning.
  • Visits to senior living facilities are prohibited.
  • Elective surgeries can resume.
  • Restaurants may offer outdoor seating with six foot space between tables and indoor seating at 25% capacity. No patrons permitted at bar counters.
  • Retail can operate at 25 percent of indoor capacity.
  • Museums and libraries may open at no more than 25 percent of building occupancy.
  • No change for bars, gyms, and personal services such as hair dressers.
  • Prohibition of vacation rentals remains in effect.

The Governor did not outline a specified timeline on implementing Phase 2 as he will be continuously monitoring medical data in consultation with state health officials to determine the next steps.

Executive Order 20-112 may be viewed on the Governor’s website: 

The full presentation may be viewed on the Governor’s website:…/Safe%20Smart%20Step_Templat4.29%20F…


Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a stay-at-home order for the entire state of Florida in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020.

The order states that all persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities. A list of essential businesses and services may be viewed here:

According to the Executive Order, nothing in the order prohibits individuals from working from home; indeed, the order encourages individuals to work from home.

All businesses or organizations are encouraged to provide delivery, carry-out or curbside service outside of the business or organization, of orders placed online or via telephone, to the greatest extent practicable.

Essential activities, as outlined in the order, also encompasses the following:

  • Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship
  • Participating in recreational activities (consistent with social distancing guidelines) such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, or swimming
  • Taking care of pets
  • Caring for or otherwise assisting a loved one or friend.

Therefore, the outdoor areas of the City of Panama City’s public spaces as well as boat ramps will remain open to the public. The public is required to adhere to social distancing guidelines while participating in recreational activities in these spaces. Gatherings may include no more than ten (10) people and must maintain a distance of at least six (6) feet from other gatherings.

The order is set to expire on April 30, 2020 unless extended by subsequent order.

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