MIAMI (WSVN) - Gov. Ron DeSantis has given the green light for Miami-Dade and Broward counties to move into Phase 2 of reopening.
DeSantis made the announcement during a press conference alongside Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Friday.
“I’m announcing that effective Monday, both Broward and Miami-Dade county will be moved into Phase 2,” DeSantis said.
The news conference was briefly interrupted by a man. He was quickly escorted out, and the governor continued to explain the changes that will come with Phase 2.
“The most significant aspect of that is, it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume, of course, at the parents’ discretion,” he said. “Being able to be back in with those teachers, with those mentors that really help their development, I think is absolutely critical.”
Carvalho stressed that parents will ultimately be able to make the final call. They will decide whether or not to send their children back to face-to-face learning.
“Right now, our community has declared about 51% of them want to do just that,” he said. “Obviously, when they return, we will have in place all of the safety and precautionary measures in place, with increased sanitization cycles.”
Carvalho said online learning will continue to be an option for parents who would prefer it.
DeSantis, Carvalho and Gimenez said they are basing their decisions on the current downward trend of COVID-19.
“I’m very happy to say that, thanks to our community doing their part, and wearing masks and social distancing and practicing good hygiene, we’re seeing great results,” said Gimenez.
The mayor said his administration will look at other businesses that could potentially reopen.
“Those include entertainment venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, playhouses and arcades operating at 50% capacity, under strict rules to keep people safe,” said Gimenez.
Some outdoor venues like Zoo Miami in Southwest Miami-Dade are also expected to reopen. More information is expected on Monday.
However, Gimenez emphasized that bars and nightclubs would not be reopening.
“There are other parts of our state where opening bars is perfectly OK. Fine, because they have very few cases of COVID-19,” he said. “We’re still not out of the woods yet, but we’re getting close and we must make sure to take personal responsibility about protecting ourselves and others from catching this virus.”
In Broward, Mayor Dale Holness announced that, although the county will be moving into Phase 2, bars will remain closed.
“We know that when we look at the chart as to where the disease is transmitted greatly, bars are one of those places that are on top of the list, so for us to do it now would be foolhardy,” he said.
Holness also said he had a conversation with Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie, who told him the school board will meet on Sept. 22 to discuss reopening schools.
“There might be an opportunity to open maybe elementary [schools], based on the discussion that the school board will have, and then they can move from there” he said, “but he needs to ensure that he has the personal protection equipment in place and that they’re utilizing plexiglass and doing the distancing that they need to have in order to get the schools reopened.”
Runcie issued a statement Friday afternoon that reads in part, “The health and safety of our students and staff remains our District’s priority, as we are eager to welcome our students back into our schools.”
The Broward County School Board will discuss reopening strategies at a meeting scheduled for Sept. 22.
The Miami-Dade County School Board will meet next week to discuss a timeline for reopening.
The Archdiocese of Miami will be making a determination about reopening on Sept. 18.
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