LISTEN LIVE

News

News

The Senate is scheduled to vote on President Trump's fate on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET after about two weeks of his impeachment trial.

The House of Representatives impeached the president in December, charging him with abusing his power and obstructing Congress for efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals.

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.

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

After bottoming out earlier this month, gas prices in Florida have risen to their highest level since February, when the coronavirus pandemic limited demand.

An influx of visitors to Mexico Beach over the weekend signals tourism is off to a better start ahead of the summer vacation season compared to this time last year.

“It’s packed - people are everywhere,” said Mayor Al Cathey after driving down the town’s main road on Saturday afternoon. “The power of that white sand is remarkable.”

Cathey says he didn’t expect so many people to arrive in town for Memorial Day weekend amid the pandemic. “You can’t barely pull off the road,” he said. “I don't know how much gathering we can do on the beach and not have a problem."

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that state governors should allow churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to reopen immediately.

In brief comments at the White House, Trump said houses of worship are "essential places that provide essential services." Churches have faced restrictions for gatherings and ceremonies as public health officials worked to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some have chafed at the restrictions.

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. 

A yellow beach sign encourages people to stay six feet apart.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

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.

A data breach has occurred at Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity. The Department says it notified individuals that were part of the incident associated with unemployment claims. Exactly how many people are impacted has not been released.

In a letter to the department's head, Dem. Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) asked how many people are affected, what information was released, how the breach occurred, and what is being done to make sure it won't happen again.

Rainbow wrist bands
Daylina Miller/WUSF News

St. Pete Pride has canceled its 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release.

The NCAA is clearing the way for college football, men's basketball and women's basketball to resume on-campus activities on June 1, even as universities map out how they might return to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many schools are also facing a sharp drop in revenue that would be made far worse if the upcoming college football season is canceled.

Hurricane Michael satellite image
NOAA

There’s a better-than-average chance that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will produce an above-average number of storms.

Unemployment claim form
iStock

The number of Floridians who filed new unemployment claims last week remained almost unchanged from the previous week.

Catholic church parishioners wearing masks in service
DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG

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.

Woman wearing mask
U.S. Army photo

A new survey shows one out of four people in the state have had their work hours cut because of the pandemic - and nearly 18 percent have been laid off from work.

The Sunshine State Survey of 600 people was done by Nielsen and the University of South Florida. According to USF assistant professor Joshua Scacco, six out of 10 respondents said they are concerned about the effect the economic shutdown is having on their finances.

With a holiday weekend coming up, some popular South Florida vacation destinations aren’t fully reopening tourist spots until after Memorial Day.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties are the last two in Florida to join the rest of the state in Governor Ron DeSantis’ "Phase One" of reopening. But with Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says reopenings won’t include beaches and other entertainment options until after the holiday. That’s in an effort to avoid an influx of vacationers.

Tropical Storm Arthur track
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

Tropical Storm Arthur moved further out to sea Tuesday and was expected to dissipate into a depression before dumping heavy rain on Bermuda later in the week.

Beachgoers at the ocean
Visit Sarasota

By a 4-1 vote, Sarasota City Commissioners have decided to reopen Lido Beach.  

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
WFSU

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that most remaining unsettled claims in the state’s heavily criticized unemployment system are due to incomplete applications.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warns it could be another year and a half before the U.S. recovers from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. But he says this will not be another Great Depression.

"It's going to be a very sharp downturn," Powell said in an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday. "It should be a much shorter downturn than you would associate with the 1930s."

Tropical Storm Arthur began to strengthen Sunday, and it is forecast to continue doing so as it brushes by the Mid-Atlantic states Monday.

Tropical Storm Arthur was located about 310 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, according to the National Hur

Saturday 11 pm EDT Update: Hurricane hunters have found the tropical depression east of #Florida has strengthened into Tropical Storm #Arthur. Forecast track shifted slightly east, farther off the coast of the Carolinas.

Original story Saturday afternoon:  The first tropical depression of the year has formed just east of Florida, sixteen days prior to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

bulldozer figthing forest fire
Florida Forest Service

The Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park in Pasco County reopened Saturday morning after firefighters spent a day dealing with a 110-acre blaze.

Waiter wearing mask waits on man and woman at restaurant patio.
City of Sarasota

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced expanded capacity for restaurants starting Monday, local communities are figuring out how to enact those orders. 

Under the governor's directive, restaurants will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity. They can also expand outdoor service as long as there is a six foot distance between tables.

Smoke from Pasco brush fire
florida forest service

Starkey Park in Pasco County is closed Friday due to a brush fire.

Flames from Collier County wildfire
Florida Forest Service

Authorities say a section of Interstate 75 known as Alligator Alley has reopened after four brush fires that eventually merged in southwest Florida caused it to close a day earlier.

people sitting by rocks and water with pier
City of Tampa

As 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.

Gov. Ron DeSantis at the podium
WFSU

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will announce Friday additional “phase one” measures to reopen the state’s economy, with the moves expected to include allowing more people to be seated in restaurants and allowing gyms to operate.

Third generation hog farmer Chad Leman, making his daily rounds, points to dozens of 300-pound pigs.

"These pigs should be gone," he said.

He means gone to the meatpacking plant to be processed. But with pork processing plants shut down due to worker safety concerns, he's faced with a grisly task: He needs to kill the pigs to make room for more.

And Leman isn't the only one. With meatpacking plant closures and reduced processing capacity nationwide, America's hog farmers expect an unprecedented crisis: the need to euthanize millions of pigs.

iStock

Another 221,000 Floridians filed for unemployment benefits last week, even as restaurants and retail shops started re-opening with limitations for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced the shuttering of businesses around the state.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

Nearly 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week — bringing the total to 36.5 million in the past eight weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The number of people filing claims has been steadily dropping for weeks, since hitting nearly 7 million during one week in March. Still, claims remain at historically high levels, suggesting that the coronavirus isn't done pummeling the U.S. economy.

Pages