Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs order clearing restaurants and bars to fully open

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) announced that he has signed an order moving Florida into Phase 3 of re-opening at a press conference today.

DeSantis emphasized the impact the move will have on restaurants and bars, which can now operate at 100 percent capacity. “There will not be limitations, from the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
The order does treat restaurants and bars differently in terms of what local municipalities can do to restrict operations. “If a local restricts between 50 and 100, they’ve got to provide the justification and they’ve got to identify what the costs are involved with doing that are,” the Governor added.
Conversely, bars, which were operating at 50 percent capacity, must be authorized to scale up to 100 percent by local governments.
    “If you want to go beyond the 50, you can authorize it and do it,” DeSantis said. “We’re not telling you [that] you have to, but we’re not going to stand in the way of that,” he added.
    DeSantis, in “an act of executive grace,” also suspended “all outstanding fines and penalties that have been applied against individuals” associated with pandemic-related mandates, such as mask requirements.
    “I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing,” DeSantis said. “All these fines we’re going to hold in abeyance and hope that we can move forward in a way that’s more collaborative,” he added.

    US passes 7 million cases

    The loosening restrictions come as the US reached another grim milestone on Friday, surpassing 7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
      It was January 22 when the first case of Covid-19 was recorded by Johns Hopkins. Now, eight months and more than 203,000 deaths later, the US has 7,005,746 cases.
      Nearly 700,000 of them have occurred in Florida, where 13,915 people have died.

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