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St. Pete mayor, Florida DBPR secretary call each other out on social media

The response from Secretary Halsey Beshears came after Mayor Rick Kriseman criticized a recent photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis at a roundtable with local brewery leaders.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay/AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The mayor of St. Petersburg and the secretary for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation got into an argument on Twitter over "leading by example" in local economies.

It all started when St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman retweeted a photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was in the area this week holding a roundtable with local bar and brewery leaders. 

Kriseman retweeted the photo shared by Tampa Bay Times politics editor Steve Contorno and said, "here's an example of what not to do." The picture shows the governor and local industry leaders sitting relatively close together at a table, inside, without masks.

St. Pete and Pinellas County both have guidelines in place that require masks indoors, and that everyone maintains physical distancing.

"We believe in science here, governor," Kriseman tweeted. "We also believe in leading by example."

Florida DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears chimed in later Friday afternoon, tweeting at Kriseman: "you also believe in smashing small business" and called him an "armchair quarterback."

Kriseman responded to Beshears, saying "we enforce COVID orders (including your orders) in order to keep people healthy, keep businesses open, and keep our economy going."

At the end of June, Beshears announced an immediate suspension of drinking alcohol at bars and breweries, forcing many establishments to close their doors. Those bars and breweries have been calling on the governor and state leaders ever since, urging them to allow establishments to reopen.

Some bars and breweries have gotten creative to remain open, including getting food licenses to bring some customers in.

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