In an effort to boost the state's economy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is lifting major coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, even though he acknowledges that the pandemic is far from over.
Since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, Florida has been known to be a COVID-19 hotspot, with close to 700,000 residents infected by the virus and almost 14,000 deceased.
According to the Associated Press, officials announced 2,847 new confirmed cases and 120 new fatalities on Friday. Florida experienced an increase in cases over the summer, but new infections have been on the decline since then.
DeSantis was forced to shut down bars and nightclubs and restrict restaurants to take-out dining only at the beginning of the pandemic, which left hundreds of thousands of Floridians jobless. Since then, restaurants and bars have opened at half capacity, and businesses have slowly reopened.
DeSantis, a staunch supporter of President Trump, announced on Friday that restaurants would immediately reopen at full capacity. DeSantis plans to block cities and counties from ordering restaurants to close unless there is a justifiable economic or health reason.