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Florida decides to reopen bars and restaurants without restrictions despite the pandemic

2020-09-26T01:20:37.733Z

"There will be no limitations," said Republican Governor Ron DeSantis this Friday when announcing the measure that also prohibits local governments from fining people who do not wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.



Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida on Friday and

banned local governments from fining people who do not wear masks

to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in an attempt to reopen the state's economy despite of the pandemic.

The Republican governor's order sparked a new debate in a politically divided state, where responses to the pandemic have been intertwined with the upcoming presidential elections.

DeSantis, an important ally of the president, Donald Trump,

acknowledged that the crisis is far from over

, but assured that the threat has diminished and that the time has come to reopen businesses.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis during an event with President Donald Trump;

in Jupiter, Florida on September 8, 2020.

The measure would prevent local authorities from restricting business operations unless they could provide a justification for the economic cost of these actions.

"There will be no limitations

," DeSantis told a news conference in St. Petersburg.

"They can operate at a minimum of 50% regardless of the local rule and then if the locality restricts between 50% and 100%, they have to provide the justification and identify what the costs are of doing that."

[Trump intensifies his campaign in Florida in search of the Latino vote]

The governor also said he would prevent cities and counties from imposing fines on people who do not wear masks, virtually repealing local ordinances on the use of face masks.

"As an executive act of grace, all fines and sanctions that have been applied against people are suspended," declared the governor.

[Fines of up to $ 500 for not wearing a mask in Miami]

Alexeen Simms, a waiter at Hungry Tarpon restaurant in Islamorada, Florida, offers lunch to a couple via REUTERS

Florida Democrats have lamented that the governor's pressure to reopen is hasty.

“No one is advocating a large-scale shutdown in Florida.

But we have been and continue to call for common sense prevention measures, such as face masks, which are essential to prevent further spread, ”State Senator Audrey Gibson said Thursday.

Some local authorities asked the governor to allow them to retain their power to implement deeper restrictions than in the rest of the state.

"We have a greater spread of the virus in South Florida than in other parts of the state," Broward County Mayor Dale Holness told WLRN on a public radio station in Miami.

Gyms, hair salons and amusement parks were not included in the governor's announcement on

Friday, but most gyms and businesses have already been operating at full capacity, reports NBC News, the sister network of Noticias Telemundo.

Florida has long been one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic, with nearly 700,000 people having fallen ill with COVID-19 since March.

Almost 14,000 residents have died

.

[Florida breaks national record for daily coronavirus cases: nearly 15,300 new infections]

The governor reluctantly closed bars and nightclubs on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, due to the outbreak and days later restricted restaurants to takeout.

Amusement parks were also paralyzed.

The closures hit the economy, leaving hundreds of thousands of Floridians unemployed.

Since March 15,

more than 2.5 million workers have filed for unemployment benefits.

DeSantis has slowly reopened the state for business since then, allowing restaurants and bars to reopen at half capacity, while also referring to local officials advocating a slower reopening at the epicenters of the pandemic in the south. from Florida.

A group of young people visit Miami Beach on June 19.

The Washington Post via Getty Im

The governor had resisted imposing a statewide mask mandate, but had allowed cities and counties to do so to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as the closure of beaches and public places.

However, in June, due to the explosive increase in cases, Florida suspended the sale of alcoholic beverages in bars and restaurants.

Like Trump,

DeSantis has questioned the effectiveness of the closures

, arguing that states that closed more aggressively, such as California, have fared no better.

"The state of Florida is probably the largest open state in the country," he boasted on Friday.

California has had more than 800,000 coronavirus cases and more than 15,000 deaths associated with the outbreak.

Although California has suffered more infections and deaths, its population is almost twice that of Florida.

Earlier this week, the country surpassed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19.

In Florida, new infections have steadily declined from a peak in July.

With information from NBC News and The Associated Press

.

Source: telemundo

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