MIAMI, Fla. — Just days from now, all 67 counties in Florida will officially be in Phase Two of Florida's reopening plan.
Speaking at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that Miami-Dade and Broward counties will enter Phase Two on Monday, Sept. 14.
"Miami-Dade has gone so far in a good direction. Really appreciate that," DeSantis said "And then Broward has done phenomenal as well."
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The governor said Miami-Dade County's daily lab positivity rate for COVID-19 was 4.8% on Friday, down from more than 20% in July. Broward's daily lab positivity rate has been in the 3% to 4% range as of late, DeSantis said.
In addition, the governor said the COVID-positive hospitalization rate has decreased by around 75% in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties since its peak in July.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said that under Phase Two, entertainment venues like movie theaters, bowling alleys, playhouses, and arcades will reopen at 50%. However, bars and nightclubs will remain closed.
"There are other parts of our state where opening bars is perfectly OK. That's fine because they have very few cases of COVID-19," Gimenez said. "We're still not out of the woods yet, but we're getting close."
DeSantis said entering Phase Two will allow brick-and-mortar schools to reopen in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
"The most significant aspect of that is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume," DeSantis said. "This will be important for the school district."
Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, said the district is planning to make an announcement by Sept. 30 with a specific date for when in-classroom learning will begin.
However, once brick-and-mortar schools reopen, students can choose to remain in distance learning at home.
"It opens the doors, literally, to the possibility of a return to schools," Carvalho said. "The schoolhouse is the best place for children to learn."
Carvalho said that based on a school district survey, 51% of parents said they plan to send their children back to brick-and-mortar schools once they reopen.
Among the safety measures being put into place in Miami-Dade County schools are increased sanitation, isolation rooms for sick children, social distancing, and a mandate that everyone wear masks inside schools.
According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 658,381 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12,502 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.