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St. Petersburg Launches New Coronavirus Safety Initiative

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman surrounded by masked city officials as he introduced the Race to Safe campaign to prevent coronavirus spread.
City of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, surrounded by masked city officials, introduced the Race to Safe campaign to prevent coronavirus spread on Monday, Dec. 7.

The awareness campaign called Race to Safe aims to get residents to "the finish line of this pandemic."

St. Petersburg officials announced an educational strategy Monday to make the city Florida's most COVID-safe community.

Mayor Rick Kriseman said at a news conference it will be a long time before most people have access to a coronavirus vaccine, so he asked residents to recommit to healthy choices, like wearing masks and social distancing during the holidays.

Kriseman said this will help businesses stay open until a vaccine is available to all.

"To me, this campaign is the right step. It's our last and best chance at having our economy coexist with the virus before having to put more restrictions in place," he said.

Sidewalk signs, billboards and social media will be part of the effort.

In addition, a new website has been published with safety tool kits and information, including how Pinellas County's COVID-19 positivity rate compares to the 10 most populous counties in Florida. Right now, Pinellas has the lowest - or best - rate when looking at a two-week average.

Chart of COVID-19 positivity rates across Florida's 10 most populous counties.
City of St. Petersburg

The mayor said Pinellas County alone has lost nearly 1,000 residents to COVID-19, and said that doing the "right thing" will honor those who died.

"Let's reconsider hosting or attending public or private events, or having friends over to our home. Let's hold our office parties by Zoom. Let's celebrate the holidays wisely this year so we're around for them next year," he said.

Since 2012, I’ve been a voice on public radio stations across Florida - in Miami, Fort Myers, and now Tampa.
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