Florida to fully lift coronavirus restrictions in restaurants and bars, despite bump in cases

Chris Riotta
·2 min read
'Shame on you!': Florida governor heckled as coronavirus cases continue to spike in state ('Shame on you!': Florida governor heckled as coronavirus cases continue to spike in state)
'Shame on you!': Florida governor heckled as coronavirus cases continue to spike in state ('Shame on you!': Florida governor heckled as coronavirus cases continue to spike in state)

The governor of Florida has announced he will lift all state-level coronavirus restrictions on businesses including bars and restaurants, despite the state reportedly facing an uptick in Covid-19 cases throughout the month of September.

Governor Ron DeSantis made clear during a press conference that “there will not be limitations from the state of Florida” any longer when it came to curbing the spread of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans since it began earlier this year.

“I think this will be very, very important to the industry,” the Republican governor added, suggesting the economic decline was in part why the restrictions were being lifted.

Mr DeSantis also said local governments may implement limited restrictions if they are able to prove the decision can be justified based on both public health and economic factors.

“Some of the local [governments] can do reasonable regulations,” he said, “but you can’t say no after six months and just have people twisting in the wind.”

The announcement comes as news indicated cases were rising in the state among young people and college students, with 500 new cases each day in Florida among residents ages 18 to 22.

That amounted to an estimated 9,000 cases among college-aged residents of the state, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The newspaper also reported that the number of hospital visits associated with Covid-19 had also risen throughout the month.

Under the new guidelines, local governments in the state would only be able to restrict capacity for restaurants and other businesses up to 50 percent. There will also be no mask mandates across the state.

According to track data published by Johns Hopkins University, an estimated 14,000 residents of Florida have died due to complications resulting from Covid-19. And even though there was a reported bump in September, Mr DeSantis said the state was ready enter this phase.

“We're prepared if we see an increase," the governor said. "We're not closing anything moving forward. We have the tools in place."