Florida leaders push to protect small businesses from lawsuits

The state's Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, held a "Rally at the Restaurants" event with business owners and lawmakers from around Tampa Bay.

The event is part of a new push to protect businesses impacted by the pandemic.

"They're going above and beyond guidelines, whether it be department of health, CDC. Should they still be subject to frivolous lawsuits even if they're going above and beyond?" Patronis said.

Patronis is pushing for legislation to be passed at the upcoming legislative session that will prevent small businesses, who have a proven track record of following local, state, and CDC guidelines related to operating safely during the pandemic, from being sued.

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"Your insurance company today will not cover COVID liability. That is on you and so this will hopefully have the state of Florida standing behind you providing you safe harbor for whatever is to come," said Senator Jeff Brandes.

Sen. Brandes says the legislation should be drafted within the next few weeks. 

The 2021 Legislative Session begins on Wednesday, March 3, 2020.