Restaurants cleared to fully reopen

Local restaurants can fully reopen today as Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state is entering “Phase III” of reopening.

In a press conference, DeSantis announced signing of an executive order to pre-empt any local regulations that hold restaurants to 50% of capacity or less. By extension, restaurants without any local restrictions will be able to operate fully.

“The order that I am signing today will guarantee restaurants operate. They can operate at a minimum of 50% regardless of local rules,” he said. “We are cognizant of the need for business certainty.”

The order also puts the onus on local governments to justify continued limitations less than 100%, including identifying what the cost is to restaurants due to the limitation.

“This is a difficult industry to succeed in. The margins aren’t great,” he said.

DeSantis also said bars will remain at 50% and that outstanding fees and penalties related to local regulations will be held in abeyance by the order.

DeSantis said the focus for COVID-19 prevention at this point needs to shift toward the elderly who are most vulnerable to serious negative impacts from the disease.


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