DeSantis issues order restricting COVID-19-related fines imposed on businesses

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive that essentially overturns COVID-19-related fines imposed on businesses by counties or municipalities over the past year and bans further use of such fines.

Citing "unprecedented local government restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses over the course of the past year," the order applies to fines imposed since March 1, 2020.  It also bans further penalties by serving "as a defense to the collection of the fines."

Orange County had created strike teams to impose fines against businesses that violated COVID-19 safety precautions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

RELATED: Orange County strike teams out in full-force

Dozens of businesses, mostly bars and restaurants, had been cited or fined up to $500 for violations related to the county's mask ordinance, social distancing, or capacity limitations.

The order does not apply to any COVID-19-related enforcement taken by the state, nor does it apply to fines imposed on assisted living facilities, hospitals, or other healthcare providers.

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