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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that the state is moving into phase 3 of reopening and he is lifting all capacity restrictions on restaurants. Local governments can still limit and regulate businesses, but won’t be able to close businesses because of COVID-19 concerns. Private businesses, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida, can still operate with their own restrictions, including capacity limitations.
The governor made the announcement during a news conference at a St. Petersburg hotel.
The move to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus is sure to stoke debate in a politically crucial state, where the pandemic has become intertwined with politics.
His order allows restaurants across Florida to immediately reopen at full capacity — and prevents cities and counties from ordering restaurants to close without justifying it for economic or health reasons.
The executive order issued by DeSantis is effective immediately.
The governor also banned local fines against people who refuse to wear masks.