OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County commissioners are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to let local counties tailor the “Re-Open Florida” phases for their own communities.
In a resolution signed April 30, the county commission notes, “Restaurants, retail stores, hair salons, nail salons and barbershops are an essential component of the economy and community of Okeechobee County.”
“The owners and employees of such small businesses are hard-working individuals with families, mortgages and other necessary expenses that do not stop when their businesses are shut down,” the resolution continues.
“The governor has the authority to custom tailor the re-opening of the businesses of the state to the individual circumstances of each county, as demonstrated by his exemption of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties from his Phase I re-opening.”
The resolution points out the governor’s own Re-Open Florida Task Force, comprising more than 100 highly qualified policy and industry leaders, called for more lenient Phase I restrictions than the governor implemented. The task force called for Phase I re-opening of hair salons, nail salons and barbershops at 50% building capacity; the governor’s executive order kept those businesses closed. The task force recommended re-opening restaurants and retail stores at 50% capacity; the executive order limited them to 25% capacity.
The Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners requested that Gov. Ron DeSantis “accelerate the re-opening of businesses within Okeechobee County, by, at a minimum, fully and immediately implementing all of the Re-Open Florida Task Force Final Report for Phase I, and thereafter proceeding to further reopening in Phases II and III of the final report, consistent with evidence-based benchmarks contained therein.”