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Venues to reopen in Florida, Connecticut as they move to Phase 3

The US states of Florida and Connecticut have announced moves toward Phase 3 reopening, with concert halls, theatres and large sporting events with reduced capacities given the green light to operate events.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that the state would transition to the next stage of its recovery plan, effective immediately, while Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is targeting October 8.

DeSantis’s ‘Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step’ plan could commence once “there is no evidence of a rebound or resurgence of COVID-19 cases.”

As part of this reopening, live music venues can reopen at full capacity and can continue to self-regulate should they prefer to operate at reduced capacity.

DeSantis said: “There will not be limitations from the state of Florida. I think this will be very, very important to the industry. Some of the local [governments] can do reasonable regulations, but you can’t say no after six months and just have people twisting in the wind.”

The Governor has previously pushed back against NFL American football franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ original choice to keep the stands empty to start its season. However, last week it was announced that a small number of long-time season-ticket holders, player and staff family members and luxury suite members will be able to watch the game against the Chargers at Raymond James Stadium on October 4. The team boasted huge demand for tickets after signing legendary New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the off-season, and its home stadium is scheduled to host the Super Bowl at the end of the current NFL season.

Meanwhile, prior to DeSantis’ announcement, the Miami Dolphins welcomed 11,075 fans to its home opener on September 20 after announcing it would limit attendance to 13,000 at its 64,767-capacity Hard Rock Stadium.

The Florida Department of Health reported another 738 COVID-19 cases on Monday, raising the total number of infections across the state this year to 701,302.

In Connecticut, the changes include increasing capacities at outdoor event venues, such as amphitheatres and race tracks, from 25 per cent to 50 per cent with masks and social distancing requirements.

Indoor performing arts venues will be able to open at 50 per cent capacity with masks and social distancing requirements, and bars and nightclubs will continue to remain closed.

Governor Lamont said: “The reason why we are able to have a discussion about even entering into Phase 3 is because of Connecticut residents’ collective actions to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“By taking the sector rules seriously, wearing masks, physically distancing, and washing your hands regularly, I believe that we can continue to keep these rates low while also easing some of the restrictions that were enacted earlier this year. I applaud the residents of our state for what they’ve been doing, and urge them to keep it up.”

Connecticut reported two new coronavirus deaths and 560 new cases on Monday, raising the total number to at least 57,147 cases and 4,503 deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic.

Image: arctic_whirlwind / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Edited for size