Most Pinellas County non-essential businesses can reopen Monday

open for business Florida
Hair and nail salons, gyms, bars and nightclubs will remain closed.

Pinellas County will allow its stay-at-home order to expire Monday at the same time Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new order reopening parts of Florida’s economy goes into place.

The vote Friday was unanimous. Hillsborough County made the same decision Thursday.

Under phase one of the Governor’s reopening plan, restaurants will be allowed to open for dine-in service at 25% capacity indoors and with no limit outdoors other than spacing tables at least 6 feet apart.

Retail stores will also be allowed to open for in-store shopping, but at 25% capacity.

The vote came after Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and several commissioners complained about the Governor’s lack of communication about his various orders throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis’ level of clarity was compared at different times to both mud and IRS guidelines, both of which are notoriously not clear.

The vote is a major win for local businesses who for weeks have been pleading with commissioners to reopen various parts of the economy since the county shut down all nonessential businesses when DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

The county’s previous order had allowed nonessential businesses to close as long as they were able to abide by social distancing standards.

The latest change restores those openings.

Pinellas County’s vote aligns it with the statewide order, which did allow local governments to impose more strict regulations if they deemed it appropriate.

Under the order, personal services like hair and nail salons, massage parlors, tattoo shops, gyms and dance, yoga and pilates studios will still be closed. Bars and nightclubs are also not allowed to reopen yet, nor are short-term vacation rentals.

It also allows Pinellas County hospitals to resume elective surgeries as long as they have adequate personal protective equipment and are willing to assist nursing homes, which in Pinellas County have recently been plagued by outbreaks.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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