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Gov. DeSantis will allow Florida to move to Phase 3, block local governments from closing restaurants

The governor says he will sign an order that allows all restaurants to operate with at least 50 percent capacity regardless of local restrictions.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis traveled to St. Petersburg Friday, where he made a major announcement in the state's continued reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at The Birchwood hotel on Beach Drive Northeast, the governor said the state would move into what was previously called Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

DeSantis said he would sign an order Friday, guaranteeing restaurants the right to operate. He says he will not allow any closures of restaurants by local governments. As he previously stated Thursday, the governor does not believe restaurant closures have made a difference in limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

According to DeSantis, restaurants in Florida will be allowed to operate at a minimum -- not maximum -- of 50 percent capacity, regardless of local rules. That means many restaurants may soon be operating closer to full capacity than they have since the pandemic began.

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