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Leon County residents express mixed emotions about phase one of reopening

Posted at 8:02 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 20:02:03-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Big changes are coming to Leon County next week when the safer-at-home order is finally lifted.

That means people will be able to have a little more freedom as the governor re-opens the economy.

For the first time in more than a month, people will be able to go out to dinner and spend more time outside. It's a small step, they say, toward normalcy.

"Just be around people, whatever that is," said Dave Diaz. "This. That's why we're out here at the park today. Just trying to keep our safe distance but still be a part of something."

People in Leon County are beginning to get their lives back to how they were before COVID-19.

At midnight Monday, the stay-at-home curfew will be lifted.

Restaurants can re-open their dining rooms to 25 percent capacity, and outdoor seating will be allowed.

Curbside library services will be available for people to pick-up movies and media. Materials will be held for 48 hours, which the CDC says is enough to kill any potential virus that could cling on.

"It's important to have libraries open because they're so critical to our community, to enrichment and also entertainment," said Matthew Cavell, the public information officer for Leon County. "To do this in a slow and deliberate way is a way to return our community to a semblance of a new normal."

"I understand both sides," Dave Diaz said. "I personally see the benefit of both sides, but maybe it's too soon."

Dave and Parker Diaz say, while a new normal sounds good, they're wary of the re-opening.

"We don't really have the information or stats to know it's safe, so it may be putting a lot of people at risk," Parker Diaz said.

Leon County says they will continue to limit risk by encouraging social distancing and masks.

We're told lawmakers are monitoring stats, and when the curve flattens looser restrictions may be seen.

"You've got a lot of things that will slowly come back out, and we will become a community like we were before," said Leon County chairman Brian Desloge. "I'm convinced that we'll come back stronger, and better."

Gyms and fitness centers still won't be open, but Desloge says that could be coming with phase two.

The county will be waiting on the governor and president's orders to see when exactly that will be.