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

12/10/2020

Patronis speaking at rally in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. - Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis hosted a ‘Rally at the Restaurant’ event at Ulele in Tampa 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 Tampa today by local leaders and small business owners to Rally at the Restaurant at Ulele and fight for vital COVID-19 liability protections for all Tampa 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 Tampa 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 Jim Boyd said, "CFO Patronis understands the struggle and hardships small businesses face every day. Passing liability protections will help give the hard-working business owners of Florida the support they need to move forward."

Senator Jeff Brandes said, “It will be my top priority this legislative session to ensure Florida’s businesses are not hampered by frivolous lawsuits.  I look forward to working together with my colleagues in the Senate to pass meaningful legislation that will jump start our economy and keep businesses from closing their doors. I thank CFO Patronis for his steadfast advocacy on this issue and look forward to working with him as well.”

Senator Danny Burgess said, “Liability protections are critical in our state’s ability to bounce back from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Small businesses throughout Florida are facing tremendous challenges and we must show them that Florida’s leaders understand their concerns and need for support. With CFO Patronis leading the way, these safeguards will help our business community recover.”
Representative Linda Chaney said, “As Florida businesses face the unprecedented challenge of reopening following COVID-19, it is vital that they have the tools they need to fully recover. Thank you to CFO Patronis for your leadership on this critical issue facing our state. By working together, we can ensure Florida businesses have the protections they deserve.”
Representative Nick DiCeglie said, “As Florida faces a challenge like never before, I am pleased that CFO Patronis is making sure our communities and our businesses have resources to get back on their feet. I am committed to working together with my colleagues to ensure liability protections are passed this legislative session.”  
Senator Ed Hooper said, “Florida’s commitment to support our businesses is second to none and I applaud CFO Patronis for his unwavering support to help ensure businesses are not closed due to frivolous lawsuits. If a business is committed to doing the right thing by their employees and customers, we must support them as Florida recovers.”

Representative Andrew Learned said, "Passing liability protections to protect Florida's small, locally-owned businesses is not just the right thing to do, it will help our economy rebound following the pandemic. I commend CFO Patronis for his willingness to lead on this important issue."

Representative Randy Maggard said, “I was proud to join CFO Patronis today to Rally at the Restaurant in Tampa to support business liability protections. I appreciate the CFO’s leadership and look forward to working with him to ensure those who are taking the proper precautions are protected from sue and settle tactics.”

Representative Fiona McFarland said, “Florida’s business community has faced so many challenges throughout the pandemic between meeting payroll, paying rent, and keeping customers safe. We must stand with Florida’s business owners and make sure an unnecessary stream of litigation is not among the fears they have to contend with as they get back on their feet. Thank you, CFO Patronis, for supporting businesses in our state.”
To view the CFO’s guiding principles for liability protections, click AQUÍ

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