SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND

Business Traveler|July/August 2020

SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND
As Florida takes the next step toward reopening, travelers here can find a sparkling palette of possibilities
MICHAEL ALPINER

There is no better place to welcome in the new normal with a ray of hope and sunshine than in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the second stage of his “Safe. Smart. Step-by-step” plan to reopen Florida. DeSantis said 64 Florida counties can reopen bars and movie theaters while retail stores can go to full capacity. These regulations went into effect on June 5th.

The areas hit hardest by coronavirus, such as Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are still operating at stage one. Though there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Florida, and all other states, the same day that DeSantis made his Phase 2 announcement, the state health department reported over 1300 new cases of the virus, the most in six weeks.

As expected, the “opening up” of Florida did have a direct correlation to the surge in new cases. When Phase 1 was announced, Florida had 347 new and confirmed cases of Covid-19. Both phase one and two announcements were couched around some of the state’s highest numbers to date. This is a testament to the resilience and optimism so commonly found in Florida.

What is Phase 2?

According to DeSantis:

• Bars will be limited to 50 percent capacity indoors, with everyone seated, although outside seating will be unlimited.

• Movie theaters, bowling alleys, and concert venues may open at 50 percent capacity inside.

• Gyms and retail businesses may operate at full capacity.

• Restaurants may allow bar-top seating so long as customers follow social distancing.

• Personal service businesses, tanning salons, tattoo studios, places that practice acupuncture, massage establishments may operate. These businesses, however, must follow guidelines issued by the state health department.

IN SEARCH OF NORMAL

As business travelers return to the post-virus way of life in Florida, these major cities and their impressive accommodations await the rumble of suitcase wheels, the eager blips of laptops and the ticking of keyboards. These cities offer bleisure experiences as well, since one cannot live on Zoom alone.

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July/August 2020