Governor DeSantis vows to keep Florida bars and restaurants OPEN amid pandemic

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he will keep restaurants open amid the pandemic and slammed New York for hanging dining inside as shocking photos show bars across the state filled with people without masks who drink and dance.

On Tuesday, the governor defended restaurants at a press conference inside the Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach, the state’s oldest steakhouse.

“At a time when people in our service industries, especially in restaurants, accommodation and hospitality, have taken it seriously, especially in other states that have been shut down completely, we just want send message – some may shut you down. We want to pull you to the top, ”DeSantis said, throwing a shot at New York.

Florida restaurants, bars and nightclubs were allowed to reopen at full capacity in late September despite the virus threat.

Shocking photos from this week show crowds of faceless youth drinking, full lines and revelers ignoring social distancing protocols in bars and clubs.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday he would keep restaurants open amid the pandemic and criticized states like New York for hanging dining indoors despite the surge in coronavirus cases in the state

What pandemic?  A crowded scene is pictured between the kitchen and bar at The Office in Delray Beach late on Saturday night

What pandemic? A crowded scene is pictured between the kitchen and bar at The Office in Delray Beach late on Saturday night

Dance the night away!  Guests pictured themselves without masks and dancing closely with each other at Capones on December 10 in Fort Lauderdale

Dance the night away! Guests pictured themselves without masks and dancing closely with each other at Capones on December 10 in Fort Lauderdale

Long wait times: View of a crowded line to enter Delray Beach's Tin Roof bar, pictured on Saturday night

Long wait times: View of a crowded line to enter Delray Beach’s Tin Roof bar, pictured on Saturday night

Florida’s approach to dealing with the pandemic differs drastically from that of New York, which closed indoor restaurants on Monday due to an increase in COVID-19 infections.

DeSantis said most new cases of COVID-19 have come from home gatherings and he cited a recent New York government report that 1.4% of new coronavirus cases were traced to restaurants and bars.

“We have to understand that the vast, vast majority of infections occur in people’s homes, especially if people get together, so closing a restaurant to eat inside is going to drive more people anyway. to do this in private homes, ”DeSantis told me.

“Even if you think it’s more than 1.4%, the proper response is to educate people about situations where you might be at higher risk. Don’t stop. Let people make decisions about what they are comfortable doing, ”he added.

On Tuesday, the governor defended keeping restaurants open during a press conference at the Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach, the state's oldest steakhouse.

On Tuesday, the governor defended keeping restaurants open during a press conference at the Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach, the state’s oldest steakhouse.

DeSantis said he has met with Okeechobee Steakhosue staff and some have spoken about the importance of keeping their doors open during the pandemic.  Server Theresa Hodgdon above

DeSantis said he has met with Okeechobee Steakhosue staff and some have spoken about the importance of keeping their doors open during the pandemic. Server Theresa Hodgdon above

An exterior view of Okeechobee Steakhouse, the oldest steakhouse in the state, from above

An exterior view of Okeechobee Steakhouse, the oldest steakhouse in the state, from above

“We’re here for you whether you’re a waitress, a cook, or a family business, you’re an important part of our state,” DeSantis said.

“You are hardworking workers for a living. You have every right to do so. You are going to have this right defended by the governor, ”he added.

Restaurant waitress Theresa Hodgdon, a single mother of two, shed tears during the press conference and thanked the governor for allowing the steakhouse to remain open.

The governor also noted that about 40 states have a higher number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations per capita than Florida.

Florida recorded more than 1,155,335 coronavirus cases and more than 20,200 resident deaths on Wednesday.

Loss of control: Party-goers fight outside Budda Garden in Delray Beach on Saturday night

Loss of control: Party-goers fight outside Budda Garden in Delray Beach on Saturday night

No social distancing: Crowds of people pictured close together without masks at Capones on December 10 in Fort Lauderdale

No social distancing: Crowds of people pictured close together without masks at Capones on December 10 in Fort Lauderdale

Customers pictured reunited at Capones on December 10

Customers pictured reunited at Capones on December 10

Florida has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases since mid-October, weeks after the governor announced the state was in phase 3 reopening, which allowed restaurants and bars to operate in full capacity at the end of September.

Florida has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases since mid-October, weeks after the governor announced the state was in phase 3 reopening, which allowed restaurants and bars to operate in full capacity at the end of September.

Florida has seen a steady increase in COVID-19 cases since mid-October, a few weeks ago the governor announced the state was in phase 3 reopening, allowing restaurants and bars to operate at full capacity. capacity at the end of September.

Today, the state reports an average of more than 9,000 cases per day. On Tuesday, the state reported a 9.28% positivity rate.

This week, video footage of a DJ set and dance party at McSorley’s Peach Pub in Fort Lauderdale emerged showing dozens of people gathered, many of whom were seen without masks dancing.

Florida recorded more than 1,155,335 coronavirus cases and more than 20,200 resident deaths on Wednesday.  A group of revelers at McSorley's Beach Pub in Fort Lauderdale above

Florida recorded more than 1,155,335 coronavirus cases and more than 20,200 resident deaths on Wednesday. A group of revelers at McSorley’s Beach Pub in Fort Lauderdale above

Dance the night away: A view of the Hollywood Live Night Club in Hollywood, Florida this week above

Dance the night away: A view of the Hollywood Live Night Club in Hollywood, Florida this week above

Spectators danced the night away without wearing masks and ignoring social distancing at the Rock n Angels bar and club in Boca Raton on November 22

Spectators danced the night away without wearing masks and ignoring social distancing at the Rock n Angels bar and club in Boca Raton on November 22

Some nightclubs and bars lined up to enter and saw patrons dancing together and ending up in groups without masks.

Residents of the John Knox Village of Pompano Beach on Wednesday were among the first residents of long-term care facilities in the country to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Nationally, more than 16 million cases of coronavirus have been reported since the start of the pandemic and more than 306,000 people have died.

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