DeSantis lifts restrictions on restaurant capacity

Florida Coronavirus News
Ron DeSantis

FILE – In this Thursday, May 14, 2020, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Doral, Fla. A federal appellate court has stayed a lower court ruling that gave impoverished Florida felons the right to vote. The order issued Wednesday, July 1, 2020, disappointed voting rights activists and could have national implications in November’s presidential election. In May, a federal judge ruled that Florida law can’t stop disenfranchised felons from voting because they can’t pay back any legal fees and restitution they owe. DeSantis immediately appealed to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting a stay of the ruling and a review of the case by the full appeals court. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis is ready to propel Florida restaurants into phase 3.

Speaking to a group of reporters and restaurant managers in St. Petersburg, the governor announced Friday that the state is allowing restaurants to operate at a minimum of 50% regardless of local rule.

“And then if a local restricts between 50 and 100 [percent], they have to provide justification, and they have to identify what the costs of doing that are,” DeSantis added.

Most of Florida has been in Phase 2 since early June. Under phase 2, bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

“If you go back in March, we were told 15 days to slow the spread,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, we followed that.

“Now people are saying, ‘hey even if there is a vaccine, it’s still going to take another year before you can operate appropriately,’ and I don’t think that’s viable, I don’t think that’s acceptable,” DeSantis added.

The governor’s comments follow a two-hour roundtable in Tallahassee on Thursday, in which he hinted at removing the 50 percent capacity cap. He said the state will not allow local municipalities the power to close restaurants and bars for COVID-19 related reasons.

“I don’t think the closure of restaurants has proven to be effective,” DeSantis said. “We can’t have these businesses dying.”

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