Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced at a press conference in St. Petersburg today that the state is lifting pandemic restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in the state.
“There will not be limitations from the state of Florida,” DeSantis said, noting that there could still be local measures, but that they would have to be formally justified. “The order that I’m signing guarantees that restaurants can operate at a minimum 50 percent capacity [indoors] regardless of local rules, and if the local restricts between 50 and 100 they’ve got to provide a justification and they’ve got to identify what the costs involved with doing that are.”
DeSantis expressed empathy with the restaurant industry, which operates on razor-thin margins, and said that it was not a viable solution to wait until up to a year after there’s a vaccine for life to return to normal. He said that restaurants take safety measures seriously, and that coronavirus resources should be most focused on the vulnerable elderly population.
Per Worldometers, Florida has had 648 deaths per million of population attributable to Covid-19; while it is the 12th highest state in that metric, it is in the neighborhood of the USA total of 628 deaths per million of population.