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Florida Receives Thousands Of Complaints About Businesses Not Following Coronavirus Orders

The coronavirus pandemic continues and local crisis groups have seen an uptick in callers worried about their mental health and financial situation as a result.
The coronavirus pandemic continues and local crisis groups have seen an uptick in callers worried about their mental health and financial situation as a result.

Floridians have filed more than 2,200 complaints to the state over the past two months about businesses failing to comply with executive orders that imposed restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The complaints have dealt with issues such as vacation rental properties, restaurants, sale of alcoholic beverages, barbering and cosmetology.

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Department of Business and Professional Regulation spokeswoman Karen Smith said complaints are assigned to specific divisions with the agency but didn’t say if fines have been issued.

The department’s online complaint form was posted March 17, the day Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that took steps such as closing bars and nightclubs. The online form requires people filing complaints to list the names of the businesses and the licenses being questioned, when the incidents occurred and if they would like to be contacted regarding the complaints.

Additional executive orders placed further restrictions on businesses before DeSantis began a phased reopening of the economy Monday.

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That phased reopening, in part, allows retailers and restaurants outside of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to reopen with 25 percent capacity and allows elective medical procedures to be provided statewide.

Last week, Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears advised restaurant owners to use as much outdoor space as possible under federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physical-distancing recommendations.

“Just let your local jurisdiction know or the county, ‘Hey this is what we’re doing,’ to make sure you’re OK,” Beshears said May 1. “Let’s not overthink it and realize it’s just a short-term solution. You will not be losing your liquor license from us for doing that right now in trying to get people seated outside.”

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