Florida GOP governor facing rebellion as tourism companies stay shut to avoid lawsuits: report
Ron DeSantis (AFP)

On Saturday, Politico reported that although Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is letting his "Safer At Home" order expire at the end of the month, much of the tourism industry in the Sunshine State is likely to stay closed for much longer as the coronavirus pandemic rages, to avoid lawsuits.

"Even in a state that’s wired to cater to the whims of its 100 million annual visitors, there’s a tension between the eagerness of pro-business politicians like DeSantis to return to business as usual and the lawsuit-conscious cautiousness of a tourism industry that worries reopening too soon could do permanent damage to the state’s worry-free image," reported Craig Pittman.

"Right now, instead of following DeSantis, many of the state’s businesses are nervously keeping an eye on the state’s biggest tourism moneymaker, Walt Disney World — although they lack similar resources for a long-term pandemic pause," continued the report. "The park closed March 16, well ahead of the governor’s order, and has yet to announce a reopening date. One analyst predicted that, because of a lack of a vaccine and an expected economic slump, Disney’s gates would remain locked until 2021."

Meanwhile, some tourist spots, like the Flora-Bama Lounge beach bar in the Panhandle, are trying to shift their business online to strike a balance.

"Every day, and sometimes twice a day, the bar puts on a live, online concert by the various bands that would have been playing there had it been open," said the report. "At the bottom of the screen are links for sending in money. They are doing that to help pay the salaries of the Flora-Bama’s 500 or so employees during the shutdown, Parnell said. Another link offers a way to support the bands, most of them local groups that have nowhere else to play right now, she said."

DeSantis may be fine with the state reopening for business — but many businesses beg to differ.

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