Latest On Coronavirus: Florida Cases Over 51,000, Disney And SeaWorld Announce Plans, 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. Wednesday, May 27, according to the Florida Department of Health:
51,283 – Florida Residents | 1,351 – Non-Florida Residents | 2,319 – Deaths
CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida
Disney, SeaWorld Unveil Plans To Reopen
The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force approved plans Wednesday for both Disney World and SeaWorld parks to reopen.
Disney spokesman Jim McPhee says Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom would reopen July 11, while Hollywood Studios and Epcot would reopen July 15.
Next, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Gov. Ron DeSantis would need to sign off on the plans. SeaWorld hopes to open its three Orlando theme parks to the public on June 11. [Read more]
-- Abe Aboraya, WMFE
Mayors Not In Favor Of Convention Idea
The mayors of Tampa Bay's two largest cities are reacting to state Republican leaders floating the possibility that this summer's Republican National Convention could be coming to Florida.
President Donald Trump tweeted Monday about moving the convention out of Charlotte because North Carolina was not opening fast enough from the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that Florida would welcome the RNC.
But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman was not as enthusiastic during a Facebook Live briefing Tuesday, and the office of Kriseman's fellow Democrat, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, issued a similar statement Tuesday. [Read more]
-- Mark Schreiner
Tax-Free Hurricane Holiday Starts Friday
Starting Friday, shoppers in Florida emerging from coronavirus stay-at-home orders can avoid paying sales taxes while putting together disaster-preparation stockpiles for the 2020 hurricane season.
In addition to helping residents buy everything from coolers to generators, Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Scott Shalley hopes the seven-day tax “holiday” can provide a boost for businesses suffering from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. [Read more]
-- News Service of Florida
Expert On Theme Parks Says Precautions During Reopening Will Be Crucial
When the first of Florida’s theme parks reopen next week, Robert Niles predicts they will be taking a cautious approach towards welcoming visitors back.
“On the attractions themselves, that’s a managed environment. Once they enter the queue for an attraction, it’s relatively simple as a concept to keep people spaced apart,” Niles said. “It’s out there on the streets of the theme park where the challenge [arises].”
Niles was a guest Tuesday on the State We’re In, a Facebook Live show from WUSF and WMFE in Orlando. He runs ThemeParkInsider.com, a website geared towards covering theme parks around the world. Niles worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando while he was in college and graduate school. [Read more]
-- Dinorah Prevost
Florida Revenues Fall By Nearly $900 Million
The state of Florida might have lost nearly $900 million in tax revenues in April, as the coronavirus pandemic siphoned away tourist dollars and other revenues from the state’s coffers.
The outbreak was certain to impact the state revenues, but it became clearer Tuesday by just how much.
The state Legislature has yet to send the $93.2 billion budget it approved in March to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature. Lawmakers approved the budget just days after the governor began shuttering some businesses and putting stay-at-home measures in place.
Florida officials had expected to take in nearly $3 billion last month, but fell short by $878 million.
-- Associated Press
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