TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida on Friday, and banned local fines against people who refuse to wear masks as he seeks to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus.
The Republican governor’s order unleashed fresh debate in the politically divided state, where pandemic responses have become intertwined with the upcoming presidential election.“We’re not closing anything going forward.”
DeSantis, a major ally of President Donald Trump, acknowledged that the pandemic is far from over, but he said the threat has eased and the time has come to reopen for business.
“We’re not closing anything going forward,” DeSantis said, while insisting that the state is prepared if infections increase again.
The governor said he would stop cities and counties from collecting fines on people who don’t wear face masks, virtually nullifying local mask ordinances.
“As an act of executive grace, all fines and penalties that have been applied against individuals are suspended,” the governor said.