On Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order permitting restaurants and bars to start running at 100 percent capacity immediately.
The step suggests that the state is transitioning into reopening phase 3. In terms of what local governments can do to limit operations, the order handles restaurants and bars differently.
"There would be no restrictions," he said, from the state of Florida.
DeSantis said that he completely expects the state in February to host a "full stadium Super Bowl." It's The Super Bowl.
"We're anticipating a complete Super Bowl, and we're going to prove that we can do that," he said.
If a local government Covid-19 emergency order limiting restaurant to less than 100% of its indoor capacity but above 50%, the government must explain why the limitation is necessary for public health and quantify the economic impact of the limits.
"If a local (government) restricts between 50 and 100, they've got to provide the justification and they've got to identify what the costs are involved with doing that is," DeSantis said.
"Every business has a right to operate... you can’t just say 'no' after six months and have people twisting in the wind,” he said.
The order also bars cities and counties from ordering restaurants to close, unless they can justify a closure for economic or health reasons.
Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County said he was surprised that he did not know about DeSantis' executive order until Friday's press conference.
"As we deal with this pandemic, everything happens at a local level, this is where the rubber meets the road. And in order for us to be effective at dealing with the virus, we have to have good communications across the state," Demings said, adding that his office received calls from "numerous businesses" seeking clarity following the governor's statements.
"It really isn't a good look for government, when we are not all on the same sheet of music and so I just hope that the government does better with that," Demings said.
DeSantis, in "an act of executive grace," also suspended "all outstanding fines and penalties that have been applied against individuals" associated with pandemic-related mandates, like mask requirements.
"I think we need to get away from trying to penalize people for social distancing," DeSantis said. "All these fines we're going to hold in abeyance and hope that we can move forward in a way that's more collaborative."
Individuals older than 65 years of age and individuals with a serious underlying medical condition (such as chronic lung disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immune-compromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure, and liver disease) can resume public interactions but should practice social distancing, minimizing exposure to social settings where distancing may not be practical unless precautionary measures are observed. Vulnerable populations should affirmatively inform their employer that they are a member of the vulnerable population so that their employer can plan accordingly.
Non-vulnerable populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments
Non-essential travel may continue.
Employees should resume unrestricted staffing of worksites and implement the final phasing in of employees returning to work. For vulnerable populations, teleworking can be considered.
Employers should take prudent and practical measures to ensure employees do not enter the premises if they believe they are infected with COVID-19 or show symptoms of influenza-like illness.
Employees should resume non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines regarding isolation following travel.
Local Government Meetings
These meetings should return to in-person quorum and public participation for local government bodies.
Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs
Bars, pubs, and nightclubs that derive more than 50 percent of sales from alcohol should operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation. Menus, if laminated, should be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus should be designed for single-use and then disposed of immediately after use.
Restaurants and foodservice establishments may operate at full capacity with limited social distancing protocols. Businesses should maintain adequate sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation. Menus, if laminated, should continue to be cleaned after each usage. Paper menus shall be designed for single-use and then disposed of immediately after use.
Gyms and Fitness Centers
Gyms and fitness centers should open to full capacity but should maintain adequate
sanitation practices among employees and patrons during all hours of operation.
State Parks: State parks should be fully opened, including overnight accommodations.
Public Beaches: Beaches should remain fully open.
Large Venues: (i.e. movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, arcades, playhouses, casinos) These venues should re-open fully with limited social distancing protocols.
Large Sporting Events and Theme Parks
Large spectator sporting events should consider reducing capacity with limited social distancing protocols.
Theme parks may return to normal operations with limited social distancing protocols.
Vacation Rentals should resume normal operating procedures but should continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect the property between rentals.
Personal Services Businesses
Personal Services Businesses, such as cosmetology salons, barbershops, and nail salons, should operate under full capacity but should consider the following mitigation measures:
Continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons.
Regularly clean and disinfect working stations and equipment between interactions with customers to the greatest frequency feasible.
Remove all unnecessary, frequent-touch items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, any other unnecessary paper products and décor from customer service areas.
Operators of retail businesses should operate at full capacity but should continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons.