Reopening Offers Florida Bar Owners A Lifeline

Sep 16, 2020
Zoom screenshot / WMFE

Florida bars have been thrown a lifeline with the decision to allow them to reopen at 50 percent capacity. The easing of restrictions took place Monday.

When he announced the move to reopen bars on Friday, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears said he’d talked to hundreds of bar and brewery owners and seen their commitment to health and safety.

Broward Schools To Reopen Oct. 5

Sep 16, 2020

Broward schools plans to reopen its campus on Oct. 5, Superintendent Robert Runcie announced Tuesday.

He said a decline in COVID-19 rates in the state, as well as expectations from Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state leaders, make it time for a return to face-to-face learning.

“We recognize there’s a population that wants to come back to our schools and those families should have that option," he said.

The Sarasota School Board on Tuesday took steps to advance its mask policy until the end of the school year to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

During a midday workshop, board members heard from Sarasota Memorial Hospital infectious disease doctor Manuel Gordillo, who said talk about masks lowering oxygen intake “is just simply a myth, and it should not be in this conversation.”

He also lamented the push — by some members of the community — to end mask-wearing, when the virus is still spreading and there is no vaccine against it.

The vast majority of children dying from COVID-19 are Hispanic, Black or Native American, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed the number of coronavirus cases and deaths among people under the age of 21 that were reported to the CDC between Feb. 12 and July 31 of this year. They found more than 390,000 cases and 121 deaths.

For parents of adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the coronavirus pandemic has made everyday life especially difficult.

Socialization and life skills programs normally conducted in person, have had to adapt. If they've been able to adapt at all.

Florida COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 13,000

Sep 15, 2020

Tuesday’s report from the Florida Department of Health recorded the deaths of 146 people due to complications from COVID-19 since Monday, bringing the statewide death toll to 12,946.

In the greater Tampa Bay region, there were 28 deaths.

The deaths were recorded by the state since Monday’s report, but they may have occurred days or weeks earlier.

Since Monday’s report, 3,116 people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 668,846.

Tuesday’s report shows 456 new positive tests in the greater Tampa Bay region.

tallahassee aerial

In the state's poorest ZIP code, 32304 in Tallahassee, low-income residents live side-by-side with college students. That's raising concerns since local coronavirus cases are rising among college-aged people, and low-income people tend to face more negative health impacts if infected.


The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation removed its statewide ban on bars, but in Palm Beach County, restrictions will remain in place.

The county’s step-by-step approach to Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan allows county commissioners to consider spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Reopen Miami-Dade Schools? Not Before Hearing From Medical Advisers

Sep 15, 2020

Members of the Miami-Dade County School Board want to know what health experts think before they make a decision about reopening schools.

Venezuela's health system has been decimated by catastrophic economic collapse. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that's made personal protective equipment, or PPE, especially scarce for Venezuela's health care workers.

One tragic result: of the nearly 500 COVID deaths Venezuela has reported as of this week, almost a third were doctors, nurses and other frontline medical personnel.

Florida Department of Health

Since Sunday’s report, 1,736 people in Florida tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 665,730. It's the lowest single day increase since June 11.

Victor Coronado felt lightheaded one morning last month when he stood up to grab an iced tea. The right side of his body suddenly felt heavy. He heard himself slur his words. "That's when I knew I was going to have a stroke," he recalls.

Coronado was rushed to Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, the hospital nearest his home on Chicago's South Side. Doctors there pumped medicine into his veins to break up the clot that had traveled to his brain.

Picture this: You're 17, you walk into a corner store and grab a Coca-Cola and Doritos, but the cashier refuses to sell them to you because you're underage.

That rule is expected to soon become reality in parts of Mexico, as lawmakers in several states push legislation to keep junk food away from children, partly in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

prison bars
Emiliano Bar

Putting safety measures in place to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Corrections plans to resume allowing visitors at state prisons on Oct. 2.

Corrections Secretary Mark Inch announced the move in a video released Friday, though he did not detail the safety measures.

Rep. Patricia Williams’ foster daughter, Ronia, turned 18 last November — just months before the COVID-19 pandemic would eviscerate the economy, limiting opportunities for jobs and housing.

“I know she is not ready for the world. I keep her here as my own, and whatever I can do to make sure that she is ready for the next level, I am prepared to do so. But every foster parent is not as open minded as I am,” said Williams, a Democrat from Pompano Beach.

"We need major assistance to help young people be ready for the next level in life," she said.

Orange Co. Mayor Prepared To Shut Down Bars If They Lead To Outbreaks

Sep 14, 2020
bar scene
Patrick Tomasso

Ahead of bars reopening on Monday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said most owners will follow health safety protocols in order to remain open.

But Demings said special agents from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation along with Orange County strike teams will work weekends to monitor them just in case.

Office designers are scrambling now to try to get more members of the workforce safely back to their desks. Clear plastic sneeze guards have become familiar, as have floors taped off at 6-foot increments. But by 2025 or so, after the immediate threat of the coronavirus has likely passed, which short-term fixes will be part of the new normal? And what other design changes could be coming our way?

Florida Department of Health

Florida health officials reported only eight deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday, the lowest total since mid-June.

The number of reported deaths is typically lower on the weekends, but the figure has not been in the single digits since June 15, when the state reported seven deaths.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties join the rest of the state Monday in the second phase of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ four-month effort to revive Florida’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move, in part, is intended to allow public schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to plan for in-person instruction. But while many businesses and venues can start to plan for reopening, bars will remain closed, at least in Miami-Dade County.

desantis speaks

Florida is moving closer to fully reopening from its coronavirus restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that Miami-Dade and Broward counties will move into Phase 2 of the economic recovery program on Monday.

The Florida Department of Health reported 3,190 new coronavirus cases on Saturday and 98 deaths.

The deaths were recorded by the state since Friday’s report, but they may have occurred days or weeks earlier.

The positivity rate dipped below 5% again on Saturday as 4.44% of those who were tested for the first time had the virus. The results of more than 79,168 tests were released Saturday.

The new cases brought the state’s total to 661,571. There have been 12,756 deaths since the start of the pandemic in Florida.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccine studies have resumed in the United Kingdom, though not yet in the United States. The vaccine trials had been placed on hold around the world earlier in the week after a U.K. participant in one of the studies developed a neurological illness.

Universities are starting to see students test positive for COVID-19 as in-person classes continue. Colleges are working to quarantine students to prevent the virus from spreading.

Videos and photos of Florida State University students not wearing masks or social distancing are flooding social media. More than 830 students have tested positive for the coronavirus, causing one quarantine dorm, Rogers Hall, to fill up already.

closeup of child doing math on laptop computer
Annie Spratt / Unsplash

U.S. school districts where the vast majority of students are white are more than three times as likely to be open for some in-person learning than those that enroll mostly students of color, an analysis by The Associated Press and Chalkbeat shows.

School Board Chairman Eric Cummings with mask on during meeting
Marion County Public Schools

Marion County School Board Chairman Eric Cummings has a message for parents of online students:

  • Let the teachers teach — don’t sit there whispering answers to your children.
  • Don’t let the child attend school in his pajamas in bed.
  • And put on a shirt or blouse.

Like so many of our jobs, what it is to be a nurse has changed drastically because of COVID-19. And Florida hospitals need more nurses to continue to fight the pandemic and not run out of steam, says Maggie Hansen.

Hansen represents about 5,000 nurses at Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County — as their chief nurse executive and a senior vice president. This summer Governor Ron DeSantis appointed her to the Florida Board of Nursing.

Many people are isolated because of the coronavirus, and researchers have found that depression and suicidal thoughts are on the rise. Since September is National Suicide Prevention Month, experts want to get the word out that help is available.

When the coronavirus swept the country, a lot of things government did in response were controversial. Politicians fought over mask-wearing rules and quarantine restrictions.

But one policy, making sure Americans have ready access to alcohol, was truly bipartisan.

"The State Liquor Authority is going to change its rules that will allow bars, restaurants and distilleries to sell their products off-premises," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, in mid-March.

beer taps behind bar
News Service of Florida

Florida bars can open the taps again Monday.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears announced Thursday he was rescinding an emergency order that prevented onsite consumption of alcohol at bars amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Department of Health

For the second day in a row, the coronavirus death toll in Florida topped 200.

Thursday’s report from the Florida Department of Health shows 213 people died due to complications from COVID-19 since yesterday, bringing the statewide death toll to 12,482.