DeSantis extends order blocking business shutdowns during pandemic

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended a September executive order aimed at preventing business shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-page extension, issued Tuesday, said the state “continues to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures, exacerbating the impacts of the State of Emergency, and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business.”

The extension is slated to last as long as Florida remains under a state of emergency during the pandemic.

The Sept. 25 order barred local emergency ordinances that could “prevent an individual from working or from operating a business.”

It also prevented local governments from requiring restaurants to operate below 50% indoor capacity and required local governments to quantify the economic impact and the public-health need for limits on indoor capacity below 100%.

The September order also suspended the collection of penalties and fines for violations of such things as local mask ordinances, though it did not outright ban the ordinances.