Florida moves to Phase 3, lifts restrictions on restaurants

Phase 3 Update

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WWSB) - Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he would move Florida into Phase 3 of re-opening, lifting restrictions on all rest.

This would also not allow restaurants to be closed, overruling any local mandates to do so. At minimum, this would allow 50% capacity no matter what local restrictions are in place.

2020 hasn’t been easy on the pockets of many, including restaurants. Restaurant owners on the Suncoast say it’s the beginning of a long road to recovery.

“It’s been difficult for business and this is certainty going to make things much better,” said the Owner of Mattison’s, Paul Mattison.

Mattison says his business has lost more than 2 million dollars this year.

“They can operate at a minimum of 50% regardless of local rule,” said Governor DeSantis.

With snow bird season beginning next month, Mattison says the Governors announcement comes just in the knick of time.

“We’re working hard to get back on and I think that this gives us a real fighting chance,” said restaurant owner, JT Corrales, during the Governor’s press conference.

This order will also give a chance for employees to get more work again.

“There’s probably never been a more challenging time for our restaurants and our hotels. Not only the owners, but all the workers. And you just created a lot more jobs today too,” said Dannette Lynch with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

This is giving businesses like Mattison’s hope.

“Hopefully all of our staff that has been displaced can get back to work and they can start to provide for their families,” said Mattison.

The order is already in effect.

The Governors order also suspends all fines and penalties brought up by local governments because of the pandemic.

In response to a reporter’s question about mask penalties, Gov. DeSantis also said cities would not be able to collect fines for mask ordinances.

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