At his Thursday morning coronavirus update, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings discussed the ambiguities of Gov. Ron DeSantis' executive order to partially reopen the state on Monday, and stated that the nightly local curfew on nonessential activities would continue.
"The nightly curfews will remain in effect. We will look at that for an indefinite period of time," Demings said of the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. restrictions, citing the significant number of businesses that will remain closed under "phase one" of Florida's reopening.
"He didn't talk about nonessential versus essential business in that order but it was implied," said Demings of DeSantis' order. "I suspect many businesses will have reduced hours, if they reopen."
The places allowed to reopen on Monday include restaurants with outdoor seating and ample space inside for six-foot social distancing, along with retail stores that can allow in 25 percent of their indoor capacity, and elective surgeries at hospitals.
Schools remain closed, as do bars, gyms and salons. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities must continue to disallow visitors. The order still encourages people to avoid gatherings of ten or more people.
"We should keep the nightly curfews in place," said Demings, "especially considering what the governor's order left out."
The statewide plan specifically excludes three of the hardest-hit counties, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, and leaves little guidance, Demings says, on how other counties should adapt to the first phase of reopening. Demings said he planned on this possible ambiguity by including members from neighboring counties Seminole, Lake and Osceola on his Economic Recovery Task Force.
"I did that deliberately to try to ensure that commutation across county lines would hopefully result in consistent messaging and application," said Demings.
When asked about what he would tell businesses that are not reopened on Monday, Demings said, "as I look at the governor's directives, they are not time certain. Again, I speak to the ambiguity, I could not tell how long the order is in place."
"I read it as until the governor decides otherwise," he concluded, but offered his own preparation plan.
"We have to prepare for the next phases. What determines what is data that would be captured by the healthcare organizations. This reopening has to be monitored and the goal here is to ensure no new cases or no new significant cases occur."
"Our goal is to get to a sustained period of time when we have zero new cases in our respective jurisdictions, said Demings. "We have to couple with that an increase in the level of testing. If over a sustained period of time, like two-plus weeks of time, those numbers decline, it would be reasonable to say the actions we have put into place have not exacerbated this problem.
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