Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday Miami-Dade and Broward counties would move into Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan.
Those two counties were the last in the state yet to take that step. Last week, DeSantis approved Palm Beach County’s plan to move into Phase Two.
In a Friday afternoon news conference, DeSantis explained his reasoning for permitting the region to move to Phase Two. The Governor cited his desire to allow South Florida schools to reopen to in-person learning as the primary driver for the move.
“The most significant aspect of that is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume, of course at the parent’s discretion,” DeSantis said.
“We want to continue to offer parents the ability to do remote learning if that’s what they want to do.”
DeSantis praised the county’s public schools, arguing the reopening would allow students to maximize their ability to learn.
“Miami-Dade County has, in my judgment, the best large urban school district in the country,” DeSantis said.
“Being able to be back in with those teachers, with those mentors, that really helps their development, I think is absolutely critical. And that will now soon be a reality.”
As to when those schools will reopen exactly, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said an announcement would come before the end of the month.
“We had told this community that by Sept. 30 we would make an announcement,” Carvalho said. “I think we’ll be able to make an announcement about the date before that.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said reopening would likely adopt a hybrid model where school campuses are open to a select number of students each day while other students remain remote. If adopted, the county would rotate those students who are on campus each day.
The move to Phase Two will also allow more parts of the county’s economy to reopen. Mayor Giménez said more details on those reopenings would be coming next week.
“On Monday, my administration will be looking at which businesses we can reopen that were forced to close in June because of the spike after Memorial Day,” Giménez said.
“Those include entertainment venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, playhouses and arcades, operating at 50% capacity under strict rules to keep people safe.”
The Mayor explained those reopening would not include the region’s famed nightlife scene.
“Let me be clear that Miami-Dade County will not be opening up bars and nightclubs,” Giménez said. “There are other parts of our state where opening bars is perfectly okay, fine, because they have very few cases of COVID-19. We’re still not out of the woods yet.”