Reopen the Sunshine State and help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
Published August 5th, 2020
The State of Florida Reopening
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced in late April that most of the State of Florida will begin with the reopening process as early as May 4, 2020. Reopening gave Floridians the opportunity to resume operating businesses by adhering to safety protocols that intend to help protect employees and customers from COVID-19.
The Sunshine State of the USA
One of the most visited vacation destinations in the continental United States, the State of Florida is home to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and other large theme parks that attract 87.5 million visitors in a year. The Sunshine State also has the most popular beaches in the country where millions of domestic and international tourists go to almost year-round. Florida is considered one of the most retirement-friendly states in the US and has the second-highest percentage of retiree residents.
The third most populous and the state with the fourth largest economy in the US, Florida relies on industries involved in tourism, agriculture, aerospace, aviation, and international trade to drive its GDP. The arrival of COVID-19 pandemic in the US, however, has put a strain on businesses in Florida and in other states.
Florida and COVID-19
Spring break season in Florida gained some notoriety when it coincided with the start of the spread COVID-19 in the US. Beach-goers and revelers at the time were not aware of just how serious COVID-19 was going to be and later expressed regret after learning more of the health risks and casualties caused by the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency in March 2020 and to mitigate the spread of the disease in Florida, a state-wide order was given in April for the shutdown of non-essential businesses and a stay-at-home rule was implemented.
Reopening Florida in Phases
The governor of Florida released executive orders to guide the state’s residents on what to do during the pandemic. One executive order was given to begin reopening in May 2020 as the start of Phase 1 of the state’s recovery. During this phase, seniors and individuals with underlying medical conditions are encouraged to continue staying at home and limit risk of exposure to COVID-19. Beaches are reopened but are following county- and state-specific rules. Businesses such as restaurants are allowed to open provided that they operate at 50% capacity and their customers and staff observe precautionary measures such as social distancing.
An event worth noting during Florida’s first phase of reopening is that on May 30, 2020, SpaceX, in partnership with NASA, successfully launched two astronauts into orbit aboard the spacecraft Crew Dragon—the first manned launch via a commercially-built spacecraft in the US.
Current State of Florida Reopening: Phase 2 Recovery
Phase 2 is scheduled on June 5, 2020, and Floridians are encouraged to continue following social distancing and other safety protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). During this second phase, everyone in the state should avoid congregating into groups of 50 or more persons and staff of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes should get tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis. Gyms and fitness centers should maintain social distancing and cleaning and disinfection protocols in their facilities.
Businesses in entertainment are allowed to open and should follow social distancing and proper sanitation, while personal services can also operate following the guidelines of the Florida Department of Health.
Travel to Florida
Travel to Florida is allowed but some measures need to be observed, such as going through self-quarantine (14 days or the length of the visitor’s stay, whichever is shorter) if the visitor is coming from the state of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Commercial truck drivers, health workers, and those in the military are exempted from the rules on quarantine that took effect in March 2020 by virtue of the governor’s executive order.
Travel to the Sunshine State during Phase 2 of its recovery now includes exemptions for “persons involved in commercial activity and students traveling for the purpose of academic work, internships, sports training and any other activity or program approved by the educational institution.”
Implementing Safety Protocols
Following safety protocols that adapt to current developments during the pandemic can help keep the spread of the disease under control which will then give businesses the opportunity to continue operating. Business owners and managers need to ensure that safety protocols such as social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, proper hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette are observed for the safety of both the employees and customers. Using the latest monitoring checklists created specifically for operating businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic can help employers and managers maintain safety and productivity in Florida. Review and download the appropriate checklists below.
Please note that these checklists, while created with the latest best practices in mind, provide basic information only and are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Florida Reopening Checklists
Florida Facilities Reopening Readiness Checklist
Use this reopening checklist to help facility managers perform facility readiness assessments for reopening business after a lockdown. This checklist can help ensure that the facility is functional and policies are up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers in Florida.
Daily Cleaning and Personal Hygiene Inspection (COVID-19)
Use this daily cleaning and personal hygiene inspection template while conducting regular cleaning inspections following CDC guidelines for cleaning and hygiene to prevent the spread of Covid-19. You can also use this template to assess if the different areas in the establishment are presentable, clean, organized, and sanitized using EPA-approved cleaning agents.
Checklist for Movie Theaters
Movie theaters and other entertainment businesses are reopening in Florida at 50% capacity and should implement appropriate social distancing and sanitation. Feel free to download and edit this movie theater checklist to fit the needs of your business.
COVID-19 Community and Faith-based Organizations Checklist (CDC)
Use this as a guideline of precautionary measures for reopened places of worship in Florida or other venues where people congregate for religious activities or other community functions.
Legionella Risk Assessment Checklist
Use this Legionella risk assessment form to assess facilities that were temporarily shut down. Record cold and hot water temperatures and check if they are maintained properly. Check if the HVAC and water systems are clean and disinfected to avoid another potential health threat after being shut down.
Warehouse/Depot Check (COVID-19)
Warehouses that may have been temporarily closed can use this checklist when planning to reopen and check if COVID-19 precautionary measures are in place.
COVID-19 Safety Checklist for Seafarers (ICS)
With international trade as a major industry in Florida, there’s a need to help ensure that seafarers’ health and safety is taken into consideration against COVID-19. This COVID-19 Safety Checklist for Seafarers is based on the International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS) ship operator guide. This is designed to help ship operators follow the advice provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Temperature Log Monitoring Sheet
The governor’s task force suggested the monitoring of employee temperatures while the Department of Health is implementing temperature checks for visitors. Should you find the need to do so, use this temperature monitoring log sheet to record as many temperature checks as needed. This temperature log sheet recognizes 100.3° F as the threshold and prompts a visual cue for 100.4° F and above temperature readings.