Florida slowly reopens some churches, retail and small businesses with limited capacity

by Paul Garilao, ABS-CBN News

PENSACOLA, FL — This was how Florida governor Ron De Santis described his plan as he lifted stay-at-home orders in the Sunshine State amid COVID-19 outbreak.

On Monday, business establishments opened in Florida under phase one strategy, while ensuring protections for the most vulnerable sectors.

Retail stores, restaurants, museums, and libraries can reopen but they must operate at 25 percent capacity — while bars, gyms and movie theatres remain closed.

Ruby Gin, a Filipino restaurant in Pensacola, is planning to redesign its space according to social distancing rules. For now, they are only accommodating take out orders.

Over the weekend, several Florida churches allowed people to participate in their Sunday services.

Fil-Am Baptist church opened its house of worship on Sunday to its members while continuing to provide live streaming service.

“For the people who could not make it, like they still want to be a part of the service, we did offer Facebook and YouTube live streaming and this way we make sure everybody still attends their service on Sundays,” said the pastor Rodel Manimtim.

Meanwhile, Florida schools continue to implement distance learning methods while they remain closed for the rest of the school year.

While schools shifted from classroom to online instruction, several teachers in Florida are going beyond above and beyond to help their students — by forming car parades and driving through their

Students’ neighborhood to cheer them up from a safe distance.

Meanwhile, a number of Florida counties already reopened their beaches and parks, but only during limited hours in a day and people are still required to practice social distancing.

People are now allowed to go to several beaches here in Florida, but they’re only limited to doing certain activities such as jogging, surfing, and swimming.

Florida’s phase one plan excludes several counties such as Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach – where about 60 percent of COVID-19 cases have been reported.

As of Tuesday, Florida has reported more than 35,000 positive cases of coronavirus – with more than 1,300 deaths.

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