Greg Allen

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.

Allen was a key part of NPR's coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, providing some of the first reports on the disaster. He was on the front lines of NPR's coverage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, arriving in New Orleans before the storm arrived and filing on the chaos and flooding that hit the city as the levees broke. Allen's reporting played an important role in NPR's coverage of the aftermath and the rebuilding of New Orleans, as well as in coverage of the BP oil spill which brought new hardships to the Gulf coast.

More recently, he played key roles in NPR's reporting in 2018 on the devastation caused on Florida's panhandle by Hurricane Michael and on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

As NPR's only correspondent in Florida, Allen covered the dizzying boom and bust of the state's real estate market, as well as the state's important role in the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections. He's produced stories highlighting the state's unique culture and natural beauty, from Miami's Little Havana to the Everglades.

Allen has been with NPR for three decades as an editor, executive producer, and correspondent.

Before moving into reporting, Allen served as the executive producer of NPR's national daily live call-in show, Talk of the Nation. Prior to that, Allen spent a decade at NPR's Morning Edition. As editor and senior editor, he oversaw developing stories and interviews, helped shape the program's editorial direction, and supervised the program's staff.

Before coming to NPR, Allen was a reporter with NPR member station WHYY-FM in Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990. His radio career includes working an independent producer and as a reporter/producer at NPR member station WYSO-FM in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Allen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, with a B.A. cum laude. He began his career at WXPN-FM as a student, and there he was a host and producer for a weekly folk music program that included interviews, features, and live and recorded music.

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In Florida, where there's a surge of new COVID-19 cases, officials are divided over what to do about it. The state saw 2,783 new cases Tuesday. It was the third time in the past seven days that Florida set a new daily record.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican officials, including President Trump, say the rising number of new cases was expected and is mostly the result of increased testing. Florida is now testing more than 200,000 people a week, more than double the number tested weekly in mid-May.

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Several weeks into reopening, more than 20 states are now seeing coronavirus numbers grow - Texas, Arizona, the Carolinas and more. In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown says her state is pushing pause.

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Over the last week, Florida has seen rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases. Since last Tuesday, the number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus totaled more than 1,000 each day. Saturday's total of 1,426 positive tests was the most since early April.

A similar rise in new cases is happening in other states, including North Carolina, Texas and California. It's leading to worries that as businesses reopen and stay-at-home orders are lifted, relaxed guidelines could lead to new outbreaks and even a second wave of infections.

It appears theme parks will soon be welcoming guests in Florida. Local officials approved reopening plans for Legoland in Winter Haven and the Universal theme parks in Orlando.

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Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Carnival Cruise Line says it's making plans to resume sailing Aug. 1. Carnival and all cruise lines have been banned from sailing from U.S. ports since March when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a No Sail Order. The order was later extended to July 24 or when "the Secretary of Health and Human Services' declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency."

Florida will begin reopening its economy on Monday. Gov. Ron DeSantis says all of the state except for three counties in Southeast Florida meet the Phase 1 guidelines identified by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

A statewide shelter-in-place order expires Thursday, but DeSantis says people should continue to practice social distancing and not socialize in groups larger than 10. He's also asked those who are medically vulnerable and the elderly to remain at home as much as possible.

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Florida is making plans to restart its economy. Tourism is one of its biggest industries, so this would mean opening hotels, beaches and theme parks. A state task force is releasing recommendations today on when that might be safe. Here's NPR's Greg Allen.

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Last night, as President Trump announced new federal guidelines on reopening the country, he said it's governors who will lead the way.

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Jacksonville, Fla., Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that parks and beaches in Duval County would reopen Friday at 5 p.m. with certain restrictions. The mayor said restrictions would allow "essential activities" only, as defined in an executive order signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Those "essential activities" include walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing, as long as they're done within social distancing guidelines. Sunbathing is still prohibited.

With an election year pandemic, mail-in ballots may become an increasingly popular way to vote, especially in states like Florida that allow any voter to use them.

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New York City has been hit so hard by this global pandemic. The daily death toll there hit a new high this week, and NPR's Greg Allen reports this is overwhelming the region's system for handling the dead.

A cruise ship with four dead and nearly 200 people who have been sick with suspected COVID-19 may be allowed to dock in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Holland America ship Zaandam has been denied permission to disembark passengers by several countries.

Executives with the cruise line's parent company, Carnival, are working with the Coast Guard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local officials in Florida's Broward County on a plan that would allow healthy passengers to disembark.

People in coronavirus hotspots are being told not to travel to other parts of the country, for fear they'll bring the infection with them. Those who do so anyway might find themselves in a forced quarantine.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that he had authorized law enforcement officers to begin setting up checkpoints in the state's panhandle to screen people coming from the New Orleans area.

"There's a fear as New Orleans becomes more of a hotspot, that you could have an influx of people into the Florida panhandle from Louisiana," DeSantis said.

Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET

A drive-through site to test for the coronavirus has been set up for golf carts at a massive retirement community in central Florida. More than 125,000 people live in The Villages, north of Orlando. Because the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the virus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he was concerned about getting protections in place for the senior citizens who live there.

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Three people turned themselves in to police Monday to face criminal charges in connection with the deaths of a dozen patients at a South Florida rehabilitation facility days after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

A fourth person was arrested by authorities in Miami-Dade County.

Those charged all worked at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills when the storm knocked out a transformer that supplied power to the facility's air conditioning system.

Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Congress is considering a bill that would encourage states to pass red flag laws. Members of Congress may want to study Florida, where it's been in place for a year and a half.

Since it was adopted there, courts have approved some 2,500 risk protection orders. That's nearly five every day, more than any other state. The Florida law allows police, acting with court approval, to temporarily seize weapons from people deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.

A new tool

Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria, the town of Utuado is finally getting a new bridge over the Viví River to replace the old concrete and steel one that was heavily damaged during the storm and has been closed ever since.

"This is the main road in and out of town," Héctor Cruz says, as a crew uses a crane and other heavy equipment to construct the new bridge. Cruz is the director of emergency management in Utuado, a community in the highlands of central Puerto Rico.

Anyone who was in Panama City, Fla., last year when Hurricane Michael hit has a story to tell. Christina Harding rode out the storm with her mother, daughter and two nephews. "It was crazy," she says. "We had to tie the door shut because Michael was trying to come into the house with us, which was not what we wanted. It was like bam, bam, bam, bam. Like somebody trying to get in, you know?"

Many residents in the southeast U.S. and along the Gulf Coast are already thinking about the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1. Last year brought two of the most destructive storms to ever hit the U.S.: Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

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