Gov. Ron DeSantis directed Florida’s 67 counties on Friday to report all implemented COVID-19 measures to his office.
The directive requests details on “implemented orders, whether regulations, rules, commands or restrictions on persons, businesses or other entities related to COVID-19.” It also asks counties to report the number of fines, penalties, arrests and imprisonments made in relation to any orders.
Counties have until Sept. 15 to submit their responses.
DeSantis did not explain why the data is being collected. In the past, however, he has criticized heavy-handed COVID-19 measures and deferred action to local government. Consequently, there exists a patchwork of COVID-19 measures across the state with varying, sometimes controversial, levels of enforcement.
Meanwhile, as new COVID-19 cases trend downward, DeSantis has gradually reopened the Sunshine State with a focus lately on the state’s tourism and hospitality industry. On Thursday, he met with brewery owners at Green Bench Brewing Company in St. Petersburg with Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears. There, he teased bars and breweries may soon get a conditional green light.
DeSantis the next day tweeted a video of the meeting, affirming his commitment to bars and breweries.
“Florida is proud to be home to several innovative breweries, many of which are small businesses that have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” the tweet said. “Along with @FloridaDBPR, I am committed to helping these businesses get back on their feet.”
The Governor has also championed Florida as a landing pad for professional sports. On Thursday, he urged NFL ownership in Tampa Bay to “go forward” with fans in the stands as soon as possible this year.
“I told the Bucs that whatever support you need from me you will have it to be able to do it,” he said. “Ultimately they have to make their own decision.
DeSantis noted that while he has “given locals say” on how to handle facility openings, “the one thing I preempted was professional sports.”