The governor also lifted his stay-at-home order for Palm Beach County, one of three south Florida counties excluded from phase one of his reopening plan that launched this week.
DeSantis made the announcement allowing “personal service businesses” to reopen via Twitter after meeting with barbers Sunday in Orlando and teasing a pending relaxation of COVID-19 prohibitions during news conferences Friday in Jacksonville and West Palm Beach.
“Look, I practically have a mullet,” he said in Jacksonville. “I haven’t had a hair cut in a long time. I absolutely see a path. I think you are going to be seeing something on that very soon.”
“Soon,” in this instance, was within a few hours.
Phase one of DeSantis’ three-phase reopening plan allowed retailers and restaurants to reopen in limited capacities, while movie theaters, gyms, bars and face-to-face personal service providers remain closed.
“We considered (reopening them) for phase one,” DeSantis said, “And my view is, OK, we need to talk with doctors. We need to talk with the industry. We need to figure out what would make sense to reduce risk.”
DeSantis met with Orlando Mayor Jerry Demings, health experts and business operators Sunday to discuss ways to reopen barbershops, nail salons and cosmetology businesses.
“They were all talking about, ‘Here’s what we would do,’ and I think the ideas were great, so those ideas have been taken, they’ve been internalized,” he said. “The health (department) has looked at them, other physicians have looked at them, so I think it’s going in a really good direction.”
Later Friday in West Palm Beach, DeSantis announced Palm Beach County could advance into phase one Monday. Miami-Dade and Broward counties will remain under his April 1 stay-at-home order. The three South Florida counties constitute about one-third of the state’s population, but have about 60 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases.
“In order for Florida to come back, we need Palm Beach County in a leadership role. I think starting Monday, I am going to authorize Palm Beach County to move into phase one,” DeSantis said. “We’re going in a smart, safe and step-by-step way to get back, and I think that’s the way to do it.”
“I thought Palm Beach could have” moved into phase one sooner, DeSantis said. “I think they are going to be in good shape. We’re going on the data, listening to local officials. I think they are ready for it. I think the people here are very smart.”
“Now we are entering phase one, and I have no doubt this community will lead the way in South Florida in adapting to the new normal,” Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner. “This community is ready to move forward, to lead the way in a safe and smart reopening.”
Among residents and business owners who could see relief from the relaxation in Palm Beach County is President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, which had to lay off 153 workers during the COVID-19 emergency.