Florida Governor Ron DeSantis talks to the media during a news conference as Hurricane Dorian approaches the state, at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, U.S. August 29, 2019. File photo by REUTERS/Marco Bello
Bobby Caina Calvan
ALLAHASSEE, 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.
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. Read more >>