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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

The state of Florida has been a hotspot for the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, there have been over 700,000 confirmed cases in the state and nearly 14,000 Floridians have died from the virus. In addition, many Floridians have become unemployed since March due to the shut-down of businesses. Yet, despite the number of cases and the rise of unemployment, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hopes to return the state to some type of “normalcy.” Thus, quite a few things have happened in Florida to ensure its reopening.

Schools have reopened for on-campus learning, and Florida Governor DeSantis lifted all COVID-19 regulations and restrictions in the state. Florida began their Phase Two reopening in June of 2020. These orders allowed for restaurants, bars and entertainment businesses to reopen with 50 percent capacity, while following the CDC guidelines of social distancing and mandating that patrons wear a face mask. Although DeSantis resisted imposing a statewide mask mandate, cities and counties did so and imposed stricter measures, such as closing beaches and public venues to keep the virus from spreading. In addition, cities and counties could fine the public if health guidelines were not enforced.

Woman wearing mask holding “Open” sign
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

As Florida transitions into Phase Three, many of these regulations and restrictions are no longer being required. Now, businesses can open and operate at full capacity, and cities and counties are prevented from ordering them to close unless legal documentation is provided that can justify their closure for economic or health reasons. In addition, the state can no longer use fines to require the public to follow health guidelines. This order ultimately nullifies local ordinances put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Despite these changes, some local governments do not want to transition as quickly. Thus, they have the option to provide the state with documentation as to why certain restrictions should still be put in place. For example, local governments are allowed to keep bars open at 50 percent capacity; however, DeSantis stated that he was “not going to stand in the way” of allowing them to fully reopen.

DeSantis’s order that was issued on Sep. 25 has caused controversy amongst many in the state. Florida added almost 3,000 confirmed coronavirus cases on the same day in which the new regulations went into effect. With these high numbers, some local officials want to continue enforcing these restrictions and they “hope that the governor will allow the South Florida area to have deeper restrictions than the rest of the state.” 

Since South Florida is an epicenter for the virus, local officials recommend that reopening in this area occur slower. South Florida has a greater spread of the virus and with these restrictions, they hope to control the outbreak of the virus. Local governors in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties are taking their own approaches as the state moves into Phase Three. They will continue to enforce some of these restrictions, such as keeping restaurants open to half their capacity. This may control the outbreak of the virus.

Although there are uncertainties with this transition into Phase Three, Governor Ron DeSantis encourages Floridians to have an open mind, and he hopes to “not close anything going forward.”

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Hi everyone! My name is Sofia Cabrera, and I am majoring in English and double minoring in education and hospitality management at Florida State University. As someone who is passionate for writing, I hope to use this platform as a way to share my experiences and have others learn about things that interest me and have influenced my life.
Her Campus at Florida State University.