No timetable for next phase of Florida reopening, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez says

Will gyms be next to reopen? 'I would think so, under certain conditions,' she says
Posted at 3:39 PM, May 13, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez said Wednesday that she believes Florida's reopening "has been going very smoothly" but refrained from setting a specific timetable for the implementation of the state's next phase.

Nunez did, however, offer a hint at what's next for Florida's tiered plan to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"That's going to come, I suspect, with an increase in capacity for certain restaurants and other retail," Nunez told WPTV NewsChannel 5 anchor Jay Cashmere during a Skype interview.

Nunez touched a variety of topics during the 10-minute conversation, including public concern about the possible overcrowding of Florida's beaches and what lies ahead in the staggered reopening plan.

"We're trying to do things gradually, make sure that Floridians have confidence in the decisions that we're making and that they feel that their government is taking into account both the public health needs as well as the economic needs," she said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed most of Florida to begin to reopen May 4, but Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties were excluded from the order.

DeSantis let Palm Beach County join the rest of the state Monday, allowing restaurants and businesses to open at 25% capacity.

But gyms and fitness centers remain closed statewide. Cashmere asked Nunez if they will be allowed to reopen next.

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"I would think so, under certain conditions," she said.

Such conditions could include reopening by appointment only, utilizing current social distancing guidelines and continued sanitation protocol.

"So I think that would likely be on the table," Nunez said. "I don't know what the governor will ultimately decide."

As for any concern about mass gatherings at the beaches, Nunez said it's important to DeSantis that the government doesn't overreach.

"When you look at the data, everyone from the Department of Health on down, they seem to think that, you know, public spaces, open air spaces, your risk of exposure is reduced," she said. "Of course, we want people to take the precaution. Of course, we don't want to see throngs of crowds, you know, converging on our beaches in a way that doesn't make sense."

Nunez also compared Florida's reopening plan to "walking on a tightrope with no ability to balance yourself."

"We understand that there are people that feel the government is moving too slowly and there are people on the flip side that feel like government is moving too quickly," she said. "What I'll say is that we try to make these decisions based on the best available data that we have and also the best interest for all Floridians. We recognize that this virus isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The prospect of a vaccine in the near future is probably not going to happen. … We're going to have to learn to live with this virus for the next few months, and so it's just not feasible to keep the economy shuttered in perpetuity."