Florida reopens state’s economy despite ongoing pandemic

Florida
Gov. Ron DeSantis shows a card stating COVID-19 survival rates by age group as he announces phase three openings at news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida on Friday in a move to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

By BOBBY CAINA CALVAN

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in Florida on Friday in a move to reopen the state’s economy despite the spread of the coronavirus. The Republican governor also banned local fines against people who refuse to wear masks. The moves are sure to stoke debate in a politically crucial state, where the pandemic has become intertwined with politics. His order allows restaurants across Florida to immediately reopen at full capacity — and prevents cities and counties from ordering them to close without justifying it for economic or health reasons.