x
Breaking News
More (1) »

Jacksonville's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Jacksonville, Florida | FirstCoastNews.com

Effective Monday: Gyms can reopen, restaurants and retail stores can operate at 50% capacity

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said beginning May 18 the state will transition into "full Phase 1" as detailed by the White House. This includes re-opening gyms.

During a noon news conference on Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state will transition into full Phase 1 beginning Monday. Included in that Phase1 is the re-opening of gyms across the state.

“This is a virus that, if you're in good shape, you're probably going to be OK," DeSantis said. "So, why would we want to dissuade people from going to be in shape?” 

Beginning Monday, restaurants and retail stores will be able to operate at 50% capacity and museums and libraries will be able to open and operate at 50% capacity.

DeSantis also said that elected surgeries will continue and professional sports venues will remain open.

“We went to Phase One but made clear we’re going smart, safe and step-by-step,” he said, pointing out that he held off on some of the things that were allowed to be in Phase One. “We did an initial Phase One. We did not exhaust everything we could have in Phase One.”

Movie theatres and bars are still not included in this Phase 1 reopening process.

DeSantis said theme parks can start submitting plans for their re-opening process including the date that they believe they can safely open.

Gyms across Florida have been closed for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Georgia, gyms and fitness centers have been reopened since April 24.

RELATED: "We've lost over 80% of our business" -- When will gyms open back up in Jacksonville?

Like many fitness enthusiasts, Heath Ellenberger is anxious to get back to a regular work out routine.

He's an operational partner for Orangetheory Fitness at eight First Coast locations. 

When his locations reopen, he says there will be some changes, including six feet between equipment. Employees will be required to wear masks and everyone will have their temperature taken before classes. 

"We are going to take the steps that we need to, that we feel 100 percent comfortable and that we got everything down so we can open. We feel responsible that we are doing that the best way we can," he said.

RELATED: Miami-Dade and Broward to start 'Phase One' of reopening next week