TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press conference regarding the new COVID liability bill was preceded by a live band at the Florida State Capitol Monday.
Senate Bill 72 aims to protect Florida business owners from lawsuits that may come from being open or reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The band Highway 85 covered the song “With a Little Help From My Friends” before the governor took the podium.
DeSantis said the band was there to represent one of the events people have missed during the pandemic because businesses may have been afraid of COVID-related legal repercussions.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where people are scared of being sued just for doing normal things,” DeSantis said. “I hope that this will provide some certainty for folks. If you look in Florida, nationally the unemployment rate is 6.2%, here in Florida it’s 4.7%. And that’s with still having some of the issues with liability.”
The bill went into effect right after DeSantis put pen to paper at the news conference.
“We want folks to be able to live their lives, provide opportunities for people to do different things, then let the individuals make the decisions about what they want to do,” he said. “You want to go listen to the band? Go do it. You don’t? That’s fine.”
The Florida Chamber of Commerce commended the governor’s signing of the bill.
“The Florida Chamber thanks Governor DeSantis for his leadership in protecting Florida’s business community and appreciates the priority that has been placed on these protections for Florida’s job creators. COVID-19 lability protections for Florida’s job creators has been a top priority for the Florida Chamber since day one of the global pandemic. With today’s signing of SB 72 by Governor DeSantis, Florida’s businesses and health care facilities who continue to do their best to keep employees, customers and patients safe will no longer have to fear frivolous lawsuits as they continue relaunching Florida’s economy.”Florida Chamber of Commerce
After signing the bill, DeSantis announced an executive order would be coming soon ensuring Floridians won’t be forced to show a “vaccination passport” to enter certain businesses.