TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that Florida is moving into Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan, opening the path for restaurants and other businesses fully reopen.
During a press conference in St. Petersburg alongside local restaurant owners, he said that the state is moving into Phase 3 which means that there will be no restrictions for restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity or higher.
If a local county moves to restrict operations from operating at a least 50 percent capacity, DeSantis said they need to explain why.
"What that means for restaurants is that there will not be limitations in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "I think this will be very important to the industry."
Another substantial part of Phase 3 is that it suspends all outstanding fines and penalties against people who violated city and county mask mandates and bars counties from collecting on any penalties going forward.
"We need to get away from penalizing people for [not] social distancing," DeSantis said.
There's four components to the order that does the following:
- Removes state-level restrictions on businesses, such as restaurants.
- Provides that no COVID-19 emergency ordinance may prevent an individual from working or operating a business, giving Floridians and business owners needed certainty and the ability to provide for themselves and their families.
- Provides that restaurants may not be limited by a COVID-19 emergency order by any local government to less than 50% of their indoor capacity. If a restaurant is limited to less than 100% of its indoor capacity, such COVID-19 emergency order must satisfy the following:
- Quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirements on those restaurants; and
- Explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health.
- Suspends all outstanding fines and penalties, and the collection of such moving forward, applied against individuals related to COVID-19.
Since the state’s number of cases peaked in July, the number of new infections have steadily declined.
You can watch the full press conference below: