VENICE — Florida has the second-fewest COVID-19 restrictions among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

It ranked eighth in March and 11th in October.

The study, prepared by online financial services company WalletHub, compares all the jurisdictions in 13 metrics and ranks only Iowa higher than Florida.

The difference, according to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, is that Iowa is one of 13 state that never recommended people work from home.

Florida did, which places it 14th for that metric. Otherwise, the state is tied for the top spot, having no statewide mask mandate; no statewide restrictions on restaurants and bars; and no statewide restrictions on other businesses.

Florida never had a mask mandate, though some counties and cities adopted them.

Venice had one but let it lapse after Gov. Ron DeSantis canceled penalties and fines for violations.

The city of Sarasota repealed its mask mandate but is in the process of reenacting it. The Sarasota County never had one.

DeSantis lifted restrictions on businesses but local jurisdictions have the authority to enact one reducing occupancy in restaurants and bars to as low as 50%, provided they can justify it as a public health necessity.

No such local ordinances are in place, though some businesses have their own policies on masks.

DeSantis has also banned so-called “vaccination passports” and has signed into law a bill granting immunity to businesses from most COVID-19-related lawsuits.

Vermont is the most restrictive state, according to the report. Bars are closed, restaurants are limited to 50% capacity and a mask mandate remains in place, among other rules, according to the state’s website.

See the complete study at restrictions/73818.


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