Last week, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis hosted “Rally at the Restaurant” events in Gainesville, Orlando and West Palm Beach to advocate for COVID-19 liability protections for Florida businesses.
Joined by state leaders, lawmakers and business owners, Patronis called on Floridians to patronize and support local businesses and asked legislators to work together to pass liability protections to get Florida’s economy back on its feet.
Patronis showcased his background in the private sector which includes his work with Capt. Anderson’s restaurant in Panama City.
“As a former small business owner myself, I’ve spent most of my life in the restaurant industry and I know how hard it is to make payroll on a good day, much less when hampered by the financial impacts of COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, I’ve spoken to countless business owners and held meetings with Chambers of Commerce statewide and they all share the same open-ended liability fears and concerns. We must allow business owners who follow the proper health and safety guidelines to be protected from frivolous lawsuits and sue and settle tactics that will stifle our state’s recovery,” Patronis said.
“No doubt, unless we take action to protect our small businesses, we’ll see big problems: businesses will close, insurance rates will continue to grow, and critical services will get squeezed. I’m confident that we can pass meaningful liability protections and add Florida to the list of 21 other states that have enacted some sort of liability shields for businesses. We have to support our small businesses, we have to support our employees who want to get back to work, and we have to work together to get Florida’s economy back on its feet,” Patronis added.
Members of the business community offered their support to Patronis’ efforts.
“On behalf of FRLA’s 10,000 members, I want to thank CFO Patronis for Rallying at the Restaurant today in Gainesville to support restaurants and the hospitality sector as a whole. We applaud the CFO for his steadfast commitment to ensure that critical liability protections are enacted for businesses who are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. These protections are essential to the recovery of our industry and Florida’s economy,” said Carol Dover, the president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA).
“Thank you to CFO Patronis for championing liability protections for businesses and hosting the Rally at the Restaurant today in Gainesville. Liability protections are urgently needed in Florida and NFIB is calling on the Legislature and Congress to pass measures to prevent frivolous lawsuits related to COVID. We are extremely grateful to have CFO Patronis on our side. Without these protections, more small businesses could end up closing their doors for good,” said Bill Herrle, the Florida executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“The Florida Chamber commends CFO Patronis for his commitment in championing liability protections for businesses who are trying to keep their customers and employees safe. Florida business owners are working hard every day to earn an honest living, support their employees and make a difference in our communities. No business should be forced to close due to being set up by lawyers just looking for a payday. Thank you to CFO Patronis for your dedication to establish COVID-19 business liability protections,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.