Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that Florida will move to Phase 3 of his “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan” for re-opening Florida, effective immediately. Notably, DeSantis' executive order allows restaurants to operate at full capacity and means that there will no longer be operational limitations enforced by the State of Florida. The news comes as the U.S. marked 200,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus this week, and Florida reported 18,340 positive new Covid-19 cases over the past seven days, the third-highest in the U.S. behind Texas (45,100) and California (24,439).
The order will also prohibit local municipalities from restricting the re-opening of businesses, which must now be allowed to operate at least at 50 percent capacity, regardless of local rule. In a press release, DeSantis cited the "devastating effects" from Covid-19 shutdowns on business owners and their employees since March, when the first Covid-19 cases were reported in Florida.