On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order, extending the state of emergency for another 60 days.
The state of emergency was originally issued on March 9 as a response to the coronavirus. DeSantis said that the extension allows the state to continue accessing federal funds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement came following news that several other businesses would also be included in the state’s Phase One reopening as of May 11.
Phase one allows for a partial reopening of restaurants and retail stores, with capacity limited to just 25 percent. Elective surgeries and routine dental procedures are also allowed to resume under phase one. As of today, barbershops and salons can also open with limited capacity.
DeSantis also announced that Palm Beach County will enter phase one, still excluding Miami-Dade and Broward counties as the only remaining Florida counties left out of phase one of reopening.
Governor DeSantis has not yet said when Florida will enter Phase 2 of reopening.
As of May 11, Florida has recorded 40,596 cases of COVID-19, including 1,735 deaths.
So far, over 700 people living at Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities have died from COVID-19, representing 40% of the state’s total deaths.
As the concern for residents living in long-term care facilities grow, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration issued emergency orders to bolster testing of staff members and residents.
The orders require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to allow the Florida Department of Health into their buildings for infection control and conducting COVID-19 testing of residents and staff.