DeSantis extends order preventing Floridians from being penalized over mask violations

DeSantis extends order preventing Floridians from being penalized over mask violations

As some governors throughout the U.S. implement new restrictions amid an uptick in coronavirus infections, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has remained adamant about trying to keep businesses open and not fining residents.

This week, DeSantis extended an executive order that he issued in September, which prevents local authorities from penalizing residents for failure to wear masks and other COVID-19-related infractions. It also prevents the closure of businesses – like restaurants – without economic or health justifications.

The order, intended to “safeguard the economic vitality of the state,” also prohibits local governments from requiring restaurants operate at less than 50% of their indoor capacity. And in instances where they are operating at less than 100% indoor capacity, local officials are required to explain why the limitations are necessary for public health.

DeSantis suspended the collection of fines and penalties imposed on individuals associated with coronavirus restrictions – although it appears the restrictions themselves are still allowable.

On the flip side, Los Angeles is expected to move forward with a ban on in-person outdoor dining set to go into effect on Wednesday night as the state experiences a surge in confirmed cases. The country’s most populous county is also considering issuing another stay-at-home order. Most residents are currently subject to a 10 p.m. curfew.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented new restrictions on bars, restaurants and gyms in New York City that went into effect on Friday, while the city also shuttered schools and in-person learning last week.

Both Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom have warned against traveling for the holiday – concerned that personal gatherings could accelerate the ongoing uptick in infections and hospitalizations.

More than 12 million Americans have come down with the virus in total, according to Johns Hopkins data.