Ron DeSantis Orders Statewide Phase 3 Reopening

Nicole Markus, Editor-in-Chief

On Friday, Sept. 25, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his plan to allow all counties throughout Florida to fully reopen under the COVID-19 phase three guidelines

This new opening gives bars, restaurants and other businesses throughout Florida the ability to reopen at 100% capacity. 

“Every business has the right to operate,” DeSantis said. “Some of the locals can do reasonable regulations. But you can’t just say no.”

DeSantis says that individual counties can still impose restrictions, but only with a valid reason. 

He also noted that while Florida counties can keep their mandatory mask mandates, they must eliminate the fines and penalties associated with them. Businesses, however, have the right to keep their rules regarding masks.

Questions emerged regarding individual policy affected by shifting to phase three. For example, Miami Dade County Public Schools’ original plan indicated that all students would move to a fully in-person education model once the county entered phase three, regardless of whether students prefer to stay online or go in-person. It remains unclear what effect this might have on the planned Oct. 22 school reopening and whether Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s original plan for all students to return in phase three will remain in effect. 

When asked, DeSantis said he had no plans to close the state down again if cases rose. According to the New York Times, Florida recorded 18,584 cases in the past seven days, which has raised questions on if cases remain low enough to reopen completely. 

With reopening comes the possibility of bolstering the struggling economy. A lack of tourism and restaurant customers has hit Florida’s economy hard, and reopening could mitigate those damages. 

More information regarding phase three reopenings is expected to arrive in the coming weeks.