On Friday, June 5th, Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery” took effect. The plan encourages Floridians to limit personal interactions outside the home and exercise responsible individual activity, but allows for the conditional reopening of certain businesses and facilities.
Sixty-four of Florida’s 67 counties moved to Phase 2, the exceptions being Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, where COVID-19 has been most prevalent.
According to the Florida Department of Health, as of June 7th the state’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases was 63,938 and deaths of 2,700 related to the virus. Hospitalizations due to the virus were also reported at 10,942.
What is Phase 2?
For restaurants, bars and pubs, Phase 2 allows 50 percent capacity indoors and full capacity outdoors as long as appropriate social distancing is followed, as well as bar-top seating. Patrons can only receive service if seated. All businesses are encouraged to continue to provide delivery or pickup and to take orders online or by telephone. Nightclubs must remain closed until further notice.
Entertainment businesses, like movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys and arcades, can operate at 50 percent with appropriate social distancing and sanitization protocols.
Other businesses such as retail stores and gyms can now operate at full capacity with appropriate social distancing and frequent sanitization.
If a business violates the Phase 2 orders, they could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
What about unemployment?
While some Floridians are able to go back to work under Phase 2, many continue to struggle financially. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, which handles the state’s unemployment system, reports more than 2.3 million Floridians have filed for unemployment and 1,236,485 claims have been paid.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), the federal program that provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular unemployment benefits under state or federal law or have no rights to regular unemployment benefits, is now ready to be administered according to the DEO. Floridians who have already exhausted their benefits or have a claim that expired after July 1 will still be able to apply for those benefits. In order to qualify for PEUC, Floridians must complete an application for state Reemployment Assistance benefits, which can be found here.
When will Phase 3 begin?
It is still unclear when Governor DeSantis will move the state to Phase 3.
Click here for a guide to applying for PEUC
Governor DeSantis PowerPoint Presentation on Phase 2
Executive Order on Phase 2
FAQs for Phase 2 — General Questions
Florida Chamber of Commerce Guidance and Direction on Phase 2
Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Map