On September 25th, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-244. The order moves all Florida counties (including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach) into Phase 3 of Florida’s reopening plan and eliminates any restrictions on an individual’s right to work or operate a business.

Restaurant Operations: The order expressly prohibits local governments from limiting any establishment with a food service license to less than 50% of its indoor capacity. Any local order seeking to limit indoor capacity to less than 100% must meet the following two requirements on its face: (i) it must quantify its economic impact on the restaurants it affects; and (ii) it must explain why the limitation is necessary for public health.

Suspension Of Individual Penalties: Under the order, individuals can no longer receive any COVID-19 related fines or penalties. The suspension of COVID-19 related penalties appears to be limited to individuals, so businesses should continue to monitor local orders to ensure they are complying with applicable requirements for the time being.

What Does This Mean For My Business? Employers can still maintain policies designed to protect the health and safety of its employees and patrons. Indeed, OSHA requirements related to preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19 still apply, so employers should continue to evaluate the best methods for meeting these requirements and other safety recommendations from institutions like the CDC. Because the suspension of fines and penalties is limited to individuals, employers should ensure that their employees and patrons comply with local ordinances related to the use of face coverings, posting requirements, and other non-occupancy related requirements. Nothing in this order changes employer expectations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

For more information, contact a member of Gunster’s Labor and Employment practice group.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 13 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 260 attorneys and consultants, and over 270 committed professional staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at


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