Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Florida, US, ease some COVID-19-related restrictions as of Sept. 15; social distancing and other measures remain in place.

Alert Begins 15 Sep 2020 01:25 PM UTC
Alert Expires 06 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Florida (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Florida have eased some business restrictions as of Sept. 15 in response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in the state. Miami-Dade County has also loosened some restrictions. Other directives remain in place.

As of Sept. 15, officials in Florida will allow bars to reopen at 50-percent capacity. Under the new guidelines, patrons must be seated to receive indoor service; outdoor service must adhere to appropriate social distancing guidelines. Otherwise, Florida remains on Phase 2 of its economic recovery plan, under which indoor entertainment businesses, such as movie theaters, and dine-in services at restaurants may operate at 50-percent capacity. Personal care businesses, gyms, and retail stores may operate at full capacity, as long as they ensure social distancing measures. Amusement parks can also operate. Authorities are discouraging gatherings of more than 50 people and are urging all residents to wear protective face coverings whenever social distancing is not possible. All residents 65 years and older, and those with underlying medical conditions, are encouraged to limit interactions outside their households, avoid crowds, and avoid crowded spaces.

Officials in Miami-Dade County have loosened curfew restrictions, shortening the current curfew time to 2300-0600 as of Sept. 15. Parks may open from 0700-2200; however, groups of more than 10 people are not allowed to congregate; social distancing must be maintained. Otherwise, officials maintain restrictions; movie theaters, bowling alleys, indoor entertainment venues, banquet halls, and ballrooms must remain closed. All employees and customers must wear protective face coverings whenever they are indoors at gyms and fitness centers. Restaurants and cafeterias may offer indoor services at 50-percent capacity and continue to offer outdoor seating. These establishments can be open between 0600-2200 and operate for delivery and pickups only between 2200-0600. Officials have also limited the number of people allowed in short-time rentals. Authorities have ordered all residents to wear facemasks whenever in public, indoors, and outdoors.

In Broward County, officials lifted the nightly curfew, which was in place between July 17-Aug. 3, but maintained orders to close banquet halls and movie theaters. All residents must wear protective face coverings whenever in indoor public spaces and outdoor settings when social distancing is impossible. Restaurants may continue to offer indoor dine-in services but only between 0500-2300. Private gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. Authorities in Palm Beach County have ordered the use of facemasks whenever in public and the closure of restaurants and entertainment venues between 2300-0500. In Hillsborough County, protective face coverings are necessary inside business establishments.

Transport and business disruptions remain likely. Officials could amend the order at short notice, depending on disease activity in the coming weeks.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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