Florida forges ahead in lifting curbs amid virus concerns

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By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON and KELLI KENNEDY

MIAMI (AP) — As the summer coronavirus spike in Sunbelt states subsides, Florida has gone the furthest in lifting restrictions, especially on restaurants where the burden of ensuring safety has shifted to business owners and residents — raising concerns of a resurgence.

In his drive to return the state to normalcy, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted limits on indoor seating at restaurants, saying they can operate at 100% in cities and counties with no restrictions and that other local governments with some restrictions can’t limit indoor seating by more than 50%.

In some of Florida’s touristy neighborhoods, patrons have since been flocking to bars and restaurants, filling terraces, defying mask orders — drawing mixed reactions from business owners and other customers.

“We’re generally concerned that we’re going to find ourselves on the other side of an inverted curve and erasing all the progress we’ve made,” said Albert Garcia, chairman of the Wynwood Business improvement district, which represents 50 blocks of restaurants and bars in Miami’s trendy arts district.

Other Sunbelt states that have been COVID-19 hot spots over the…



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