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**PHOTO RELEASE**CFO Jimmy Patronis Hosts “Rally at the Restaurant” in Pensacola to Support Florida Businesses

1/5/2021

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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 5, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

**PHOTO RELEASE**
CFO Jimmy Patronis Hosts “Rally at the Restaurant” in Pensacola to Support Florida Businesses

PENSACOLA, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis hosted a ‘Rally at the Restaurant’ event at The Fish House in Pensacola to advocate for vital COVID-19 liability protections for Florida businesses. Joined by state leaders, lawmakers and business owners, CFO Patronis encouraged Floridians to patronize and support local businesses and asked Legislators to work together to pass meaningful liability protections to get Florida’s economy back on its feet. Over the last several months, CFO Patronis has emphasized the need for COVID-19 liability protections for businesses and highlighted his three guiding principles to help shape legislation in the upcoming Legislative Session.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “I was proud to be joined in Pensacola today by local leaders and small business owners to Rally at the Restaurant at The Fish House and fight for vital COVID-19 liability protections for all Pensacola businesses. 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.

“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.”

Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), said, “On behalf of FRLA’s 10,000 members, I want to thank CFO Patronis for Rallying at the Restaurant today in Pensacola 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.”

Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce said, “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.”

Bill Herrle, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Florida Executive Director said, “Thank you to CFO Patronis for championing liability protections for businesses and hosting the Rally at the Restaurant today in West Palm Beach. 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.” 

Senator Doug Broxson said, “Covid 19 has created enormous pressure on our small businesses and restaurants. For any legal or governmental institution to take advantage of these hardworking individuals during this time is especially egregious. I am thankful that CFO Patronis, a business owner himself, understands these concerns and I stand with him in protecting these restaurants and their employees.”

Representative Alex Andrade said, “I appreciate CFO Patronis’ commitment to provide common sense business liability protections. The pandemic has created a tremendous burden on our small business. Knowing that Florida’s elected officials are concerned and working to address inappropriate liability tactics will go a long way in our state’s economic recovery.”

Representative Michelle Salzman said, “I am proud to stand with CFO Patronis on this critical issue affecting our businesses. If Florida’s business owners are following the proper guidelines they should not have to live in fear of frivolous litigation. By passing these important protections, our business community will be able to reopen and operate in confidence.”

To view the CFO’s guiding principles for liability protections, click HERE.  

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).