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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Cases Surpass 44,000, Gyms Can Reopen Monday, And More

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WUSF will be providing the latest news and information on coronavirus in Tampa Bay and across the state. Here are the latest developments:

Here are the latest figures as of 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 15, according to the Florida Department of Health:

42,940 – Florida Residents | 1,198 – Non-Florida Residents | 1,917 – Deaths

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

NEWSLETTER: Sign Up For Coronavirus Updates From Health News Florida

DeSantis: Gyms Can Reopen Monday, Restaurants Allowed 50% Capacity

Florida gymnasiums and fitness centers are among the latest places able to begin reopening.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the latest steps in his plan to get businesses back up and running during the coronavirus pandemic at a Friday press conference in Jacksonville.

DeSantis called it a “full Phase One,” saying gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen starting Monday under social distancing guidelines and restricted capacity.

In addition, capacity for restaurants and retail stores will be expanded to 50 percent. Restaurants can use spacing of tables, as well as partitions, to keep distance between customers inside. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Gualtieri: Beach Enforcement Efforts Working

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says social distancing measures are working on the county's beaches.

About 300 deputies are patrolling the sand, making sure beachgoers stay at least 6 feet apart.

But Gualtieri told county commissioners this week that staffing level is unsustainable.

"At some point, we've got to take the training wheels off,” Gualtieri said. “At some point, we have to change to culture so people understand what they have to do and they're doing it on their own. Or that the numbers are such that we're okay with letting it go and seeing what happens into a next stage or a phase."

Gualteri says deputies will stay on the beach through Memorial Day weekend.

-- Bradley George

Seminole Hard Rock May Reopen Soon

It may just be a matter of weeks until the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa reopens.

Jim Allen, the Chairman and CEO of the Seminole Tribe of Florida's gaming company, told Fox Business News on Thursday that they could open the doors on their Florida properties at the end of this month or in early June.

But a spokesman for the company's Tampa location told the Tampa Bay Times that all plans are tentative and no reopening date has been confirmed. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Tampa To Reopen Parks This Weekend

s part of Phase 1 of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to reopen Florida during the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Tampa reopened 13 park trails, beaches, and dog parks May 4.

Tampa will reopen the rest of the city parks starting Saturday. It also will open other outdoor spaces, including kayak and canoe launches and tennis courts.

However, picnic shelters, playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and splash pads will remain closed. [Read more]

-- Mark Schreiner

Hillsborough Summer Camps Canceled

Hillsborough County has canceled its summer camp, the county’s Parks and Recreation Department announced.

Families who pre-registered will be given full refunds.

The department is developing virtual programming as a replacement. For more information, visit the department’s website.

-- Carl Lisciandrello

Carnival To Lay Off Hundreds In Florida

The world's largest cruise company Carnival Corp. says it will be laying off hundreds of employees in Florida, California and Washington due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company's CEO Arnold Donald said the combination of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts were “necessary" as the pause on cruise travel enters its third month.

The company said in an email that the majority of affected employees in the U.S. will be in Florida, California and Washington state.

Carnival Corp. did not reveal the number of job eliminations in the other states or countries around the world.

-- Associated Press

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WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.