Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that restaurants will remain fully open despite COVID-19 ravaging the state during the pandemic.

DeSantis told cooks, servers and other restaurant employees during a press conference at Okeechobee Steakhouse in West Palm Beach that he’s not going to allow the hospitality industry to completely shut down unlike in other states that imposed strict indoor dining restrictions.

“We’ve got your back if you’re somebody’s who’s a waitress, or a cook, or you’re a family-owned business — you’re an important part of our state,” DeSantis said. “You’re working folks who are working hard to make a living. You have every right to do that. You’re going to have that right defended by the governor.”

DeSantis also said the majority of COVID infections occur in people’s homes, citing a recent New York government report that found 1.4 percent of new cases have been traced back to restaurants and bars. Indoor dining in New York shut down again Monday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the hefty restriction to curb the surge of the coronavirus in the state.

“The vast majority of infections are occurring in peoples’ homes, particularly if you have people getting together,” DeSantis said. “Closing a restaurant to indoor dining is going to lead to more people doing that in private homes anyways.”

Florida has seen more than 1,140,000 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, according to the state’s COVID-19 data and surveillance dashboard.



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