Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Increase To Over 49,000, Summer Camps Can Reopen, And More
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 11 a.m. Friday, May 22, according to the Florida Department of Health:
48,150 – Florida Residents | 1,301 – Non-Florida Residents | 2,190 – Deaths
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DeSantis Lifts Restrictions On Youth Activities
Youth sports and summer camps will be free to continue operations, after a Friday morning announcement from Gov. DeSantis lifting all restrictions on the activities effective immediately.
“We believe that this is what makes sense based on the data and observed experience,” DeSantis said. “We are not going to be instituting a lot of rules, or really any rules.”
It will be up for local governments to decide if they want to add any required guidelines for camps and youth activity organizations to implement.
DeSantis said he’s seen other states implement too many rules for reopening these activities. [Read more]
-- Sky Lebron, WJCT
Gualtieri: Don't Cram The Beaches
Memorial Day weekend is usually one of the busiest on Florida's beaches.
But Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Friday that won't be the case this year. Speaking to reporters at an outdoor beach command center, he said Pinellas leaders want to make sure there's no spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.
"It's not business as usual," he said. "The beaches are open, but they are not freely open, in that everybody can just cram in and jam in and do what people normally do on Memorial Day or the Fourth of July or any other great weekend during the summer on the Pinellas beaches."
Gualtieri said 300 deputies will be patrolling Pinellas beaches, keeping groups of people at 10 or less, and enforcing social distance guidelines that recommend a distance of at least 6 feet. [Read more]
-- Mary Shedden
More Short-Term Vacation Rentals Approved To Reopen
Four Tampa Bay area counties have received approval from the state for short-term vacation rental properties to resume accepting reservations and check-ins.
The rulings are effective immediately -- just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation signed off on Pinellas' plan Wednesday, and on plans from Manatee, Sarasota, and Citrus counties Thursday. [Read more]
-- Mark Schreiner
St. Pete Pride Cancels 2020 Celebration
St. Pete Pride has canceled its 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release.
One of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the Southeast, it was originally scheduled for June 22-28, then in April tentatively pushed back until the fall.
Next year's celebration is slated for June 2021.
Pride officials say they are canceling all large in-person events, but will come up with alternate ways to celebrate as a community while respecting the current social distancing guidelines. [Read more]
-- Carl Lisciandrello
1,700 Coronavirus Tests Damaged On Way To Lab
More than 1,700 Floridians will have to be retested for the coronavirus after their state-administered tests were damaged while being transported to the lab for analysis.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement Thursday that 1,702 tests were damaged out of about 90,000 that have been administered this month.
The state said the individuals are being contacted and will be given priority for retesting at the site they originally visited.
The state did not give details on how the tests were damaged. The state has conducted about 200,000 tests statewide since the start of the pandemic.\
-- Carl Lisciandrello
Catholic Masses Can Resume On Sundays
Two weeks after announcing Catholics across Tampa Bay can take part in public Masses from Monday through Saturday, parishioners now will be able to attend on Sundays.
Bishop Gregory Parkes, with the Diocese of St. Petersburg, issued a statement Wednesday saying churches have been granted permission to open on Sundays as early as the weekend of May 30-31.
The Masses can resume with churches adhering to social distancing guidelines, and Parkes urged caution for those who may be at risk for contract coronavirus. [Read more]
-- Carl Lisciandrello
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